Portola Valley & Woodside, California


What Counts as Activities and Service Hours for Ranks and Merit Badges with Troop 64

1.       Purpose of this Document

There are often questions about what events count as activities for Second and First Class requirements. The goal of these requirements is to get newer Scouts involved in a variety of Boy Scout activities. There have also been questions about the counting of service hours.

2.       Relevant Requirements from 2010 Boy Scout Requirements

  • Second Class Requirement 3a: Since joining, have participated in five separate troop/patrol activities (other than troop/patrol meetings), two of which included camping overnight.
  • First Class Requirement 3: Since joining, have participated in 10 separate troop/patrol activities (other than troop/patrol meetings), three of which included camping overnight. …
  • Citizenship in the Community merit badge Requirement 7c: ….While working on this merit badge, volunteer at least eight hours of your time for the organization….
  • Camping merit badge Requirement 9c: Perform a conservation project approved by the landowner or land managing agency.

3.       What Counts and What Does Not Count

In general, activities with other Boy Scouts that take at least two hours, and are not regular meeting or Courts of Honor, do count, with limitations for “lighter” activities. Service hours cannot be counted toward two different badges. Service projects done with other Boy Scouts can be counted for both service hours and for activities. Camping can be counted for Second and First Class activities and camping nights, as well as camping nights for Camping merit badge.

3.1       Examples of What Counts for Second Class and First Class Activities

  • Campouts with the troop or patrol
  • Hikes, bike rides, and geocaching with the troop or patrol
  • Service projects with other Boy Scouts and open to the whole patrol or troop
  • Eagle projects (maximum of two activities for one project on two different days)
  • Selling Christmas trees with Kiwanis (maximum of two activities on two different days)
  • Doing an extra, optional Boy Scout activity on a trip, which by itself would be counted as an activity (e.g., adding rappelling and spelunking in Moaning Cavern at the end of a snow-camping trip; going for a five-mile hike from summer camp)
  • Working on a conservation project for Camping MB with other Boy Scouts
  • Eagle Courts of Honor (maximum of two count)
  • Merit Badge Midway, Science Merit Badge Midway, Collections Merit Badge Midway
  • Scout-O-Rama
  • Sea Scout cruises (maximum of two count)
  • Troop or patrol meetings
  • Regular merit badge meetings
  • Regular Courts of Honor
  • Service hours not with other Boy Scouts

3.2       Examples of What Does Not Count for Second Class and First Class Activities

3.3       Service Hours

Service hours for the Second Class (1 hour), Star (6 hours), and Life (6 hours) rank badges, and for Citizenship in the Community (8 hours), Camping, and other merit badges, count for only one of these badges; double-counting of service hours is not permitted. In Troop 64, Scouts normally complete far more service than the one hour required for Second Class. To get broader exposure, some service hours beyond selling Kiwanis Christmas trees should be done for Star and Life.

Introduction to Boy Scout Troop 64 of Portola Valley

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1.       Introduction

Welcome to Troop 64. This document contains information about our troop and the Boy Scout program.

Boys should start work on the Scout badge/joining requirements (Scout Oath, Law, etc., on page 17 of the 12th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook) right away, and can get signed off at upcoming meetings.

2.       Meetings and Outings

2.1       Regular Meetings

We have Boy Scout meetings on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Thursdays of the month during the school year from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Portola Valley Town Center in the Alder Room, which is labeled Room A. (This is a change from past years, when we met at Corte Madera School on Wednesdays.) Occasionally an optional offsite meeting is held the 1st or 5th Thursday to cover Scout skills.

Regular meetings kick off with an outdoor game to burn off some youthful energy. This is also an opportunity for individual Scouts to have Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster meetings, as time permits. We then move indoors and start the more formal part of the meeting with recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and Scout Oath and announcements. The core of each meeting is typically work on Scout skills or planning for upcoming events. The meeting wraps up with recitation of the Scout Law, important reminders, and the Scoutmaster’s minute.

Scouts should bring their Boy Scout Handbooks to all meetings so that completed requirements can be signed off. Each boy’s name should be written on the outside of the front cover for easy identification at a distance.

2.2       Courts of Honor

About twice a year, approximately in December and again in June, the regular meeting is replaced by a Court of Honor in the sanctuary at Valley Presbyterian Church. This is a formal ceremony during which boys are officially awarded rank badges and Merit Badges.

Parents and families attend the Court of Honor. When a boy receives a rank badge (a patch), his mother or other family member joins him and receives the corresponding pin, which goes on a ribbon that the mother is given when the boy is awarded the Scout badge.

2.3       Outings

We have about one activity per month on a weekend, sometimes for part of a day, or sometimes for the whole weekend. Outdoors examples from the past three years are Class 2 whitewater rafting on Cache Creek; the annual Trail to First Class campout at Cutter Scout Reservation near Boulder Creek; backpacking in Montebello Open Space Preserve for one night; skiing and camping in the snow at Bear Valley; rappelling in Moaning Caverns; building and sleeping in snow caves at Carson Pass; camping, boating, and fishing at Spicer Meadow Reservoir and at Lake Sonoma; a 12-mile walk in San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge; a 20-mile hike on the Skyline to the Sea Trail; hikes up Mt. Tamalpais and Mt. Diablo; attending the Northern California Jamboree; and two-night backpacking trip in the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness near Shaver Lake and at Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite National Park. Service examples are selling Christmas trees at the Kiwanis tree lot every November and December, helping at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation walk every October, placing flags on graves on Memorial Day, and providing the color guard and helping at a Kiwanis-sponsored track meet. One Saturday in late January or early February is the Merit Badge Midway, a day of merit badge classes. In June we usually sell lunch at the Portola Valley town picnic to raise money for troop activities.

In the summer, we always have a week of summer camp: 2008 was at Camp Emerald Bay on Santa Catalina Island, and 2009 and 2010 were at Camp Wolfeboro on the Stanislaus River near Bear Valley. 2011 will be at Camp Cherry Valley on Catalina Island. The boys love summer camp and do more to advance in rank here than anywhere else. Many parents attend and have fun as well. Parents and boys should attend several meetings and be familiar with our troop before attending summer camp with us.

Boys 14 and over, or 13 and done with 8th grade, are old enough to go on week-long high-adventure trips to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Florida Sea Base in Florida and the Bahamas, or Northern Tier in Minnesota, Ontario, and Manitoba. In 2011 our high-school-age Scouts will attend Philmont and we are targeting Florida Sea Base in 2012.

We currently do not hold regular meetings during the summer because so many families are out of town. This does not mean, however, that Scouting activities have to stop. In addition to summer camp, we try to have a backpacking trip. Families are free to organize camping, hiking, biking, fishing, or other trips and invite the troop or their son’s patrol. Summer is also a good time for Scouts to read their handbooks and merit badge pamphlets and work on requirements on their own or with their buddies, then call or e-mail the Scoutmaster, an ASM, or merit badge counselor to see if they are available for sign-off.

3.       The Boy Scout Program

3.1       Joining

To join Boy Scouts, a boy must be 11 years old, or done with 5th grade, or be 10 years old and have earned the Cub Scout Arrow of Light. Once boys reach age 18, they can no longer be Boy Scouts (but they can become adult leaders or move on to Venturing).

3.1.1        Forms

To join, (1) a youth application, (2) a health form, and (3) a parental informed consent and release/indemnity/hold-harmless agreement must be filled out and signed. Youth application forms can be found at http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/524-406A.pdf . You only need to print out the first page that you can fill out, fill it out, make copy if you want one, and bring the original to a meeting. The health form is at http://scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34605_Letter.pdf . Print it out, fill it in, have a medical doctor sign it, make a copy (you keep the original), and bring the copy to a meeting. The release/hold-harmless form is at http://www.pvtroop64.org/files/TROOP_64_PARENTAL_INFORMED_CONSENT_AND_RELEASE_FORM_9_09.doc.doc . These forms are turned in to the troop registrar, who obtains needed signatures and forwards them to the councils or files them (don’t send the forms directly to the council).

3.1.2        Dues

Dues are collected at the start of each school year. Please write a check for $100 made out to “BSA Portola Valley Troop 64” and mail or hand it to the treasurer. Boys who join in the spring and were Webelos don’t need to pay dues until the fall; those new to the BSA pay the current registration and Boys’ Life fees.

3.1.3        Uniforms

A boy’s family is responsible for purchasing his uniform (see store locations in the Pacific Skyline Council section). Each boy needs:

  • Scout shirt, either short-sleeve (more practical) or long-sleeve. Khaki color. Shirts come with an American flag already sewn on. Most boys get this on the large side to allow for growth.
  • Scout pants, either zip-off (more practical) or full-length. Olive or Forest green.
  • Boy Scout belt, if the selected pants do not already have one attached
  • Boy Scout socks. Khaki.
  • World Scouting patch. Purple with white stitching.
  • Pacific Skyline Council patch
  • Number 6 and number 4 patches. New version is khaki with green stitching.
  • Boy Scout epaulets (shoulder loops). New version is greenish.
  • Boy Scout neckerchief. Red with yellow embroidering.
  • Boy Scout neckerchief slide.
  • Sash for merit badges (needed after a boy has merit badges to sew on). This comes in short and long. Most boys get the long sash to allow for growth.

Other patches, such as rank, position, and merit badge patches, are supplied by the Troop. When all of the above is worn (without the sash), it is called a “Class A” or “field” uniform. The sash is just worn at formal events, such as Courts of Honor.

In 2008, BSA dramatically redesigned the uniforms to the
“Centennial Uniform,” changing the cut, fabric, and patch colors. There are several shirt fabric choices: the traditional 67% cotton/33% polyester poplin, and the newer Supplex nylon and 80% polyester/20% wool. Pants are available in 67% cotton/33% polyester canvas, 55% polyester/45% wool (dry-clean only), and Supplex with zip-off legs. The Supplex is designed for moisture transport and is thus a good choice for active wear. It will melt if ironed at too high of a temperature. Most of the new pants need to be hemmed to length (no cuff).

Patches are placed as shown in the front and back covers of the Boy Scout Handbook (see also http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34048.pdf ). The shiny backing on most of the patches is supposedly not iron-on, but does melt enough to tack patches in place with an iron on 67/37 shirts (again, be careful not to melt the fabric). This is useful for holding patches in place before sewing around the perimeter. Some people use a stick-on adhesive layer called Badge Magic that is supposed to withstand washing (see http://www.badgemagic.com/ ). Our local Scout stores carry sets of Badge Magic stickers that correspond to the patches on the Boy Scout uniform and to merit badges. These can be removed with an appropriate solvent. There are also iron-on versions that can leave a residue.

3.2       The Ranks

As boys participate, learn, and are tested, they advance through a series of ranks, which are Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. Upon earning Eagle, a young man is considered to be an Eagle for the rest of his Boy Scout career and for rest of his life (much as a college student, upon completion, can stay on for graduate school, but is always a college graduate).

The requirements for each rank are described in the Boy Scout Handbook and Boy Scout Requirements 2010. As boys complete requirements, these are signed off by a uniformed adult leader (the Scoutmaster or an ASM) or a designated senior Boy Scout, typically of First Class or higher rank. Requirements are listed in the 12th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook on page 17 for Scout, and pages 432 to 443 for the other ranks. Requirements are updated annually to keep up with the times (e.g., recent additions cover safe Internet use and geocaching) and usually make it into annual handbook revisions. When a Scout starts work toward a rank, he uses the requirements as of the date that he started work toward that rank. The book entitled Boy Scout Requirements 2010 (or the current year), sold at Scout stores, has the up-to-date requirements. The online version at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards.aspx is also supposed to be kept up-to-date.

Scout through First Class are the lower-level ranks. As boys work on these, they learn and are tested on the basics of the Scout Oath and Law, camping, hiking, knots and lashings, cooking, first aid, personal safety, health and fitness, swimming, local nature, citizenship, and community service. These themes are continued in greater depth in the higher-level ranks, Star through Eagle, with the addition of leadership in the troop and more hours on service projects. For Eagle, the grand finale is a large service project planned and carried out under the direction of the Scout.

The penultimate requirement for each rank is a Scoutmaster (SM) conference, held with the SM or an ASM. Finally, a Board of Review (BoR) is held with three or four adults, ideally not ASMs, or at least not ASMs that have signed off a large number of requirements for the boy. This provides some quality control and allows for feedback from the boy on how things are going. More information about BoRs can be viewed at http://www.macscouter.com/Scoutmaster/BoR_Guide.asp#PURPOSE . The date that the BoR is signed off is the official date of rank completion, rather than the date the Scout is presented with the badge.

Some internal goals within our troop are for boys to reach Tenderfoot by June for those joining in the spring, First Class by the end of their first year; Life by the end of the second year, and Eagle by the time they are 3½ years in. Boys that don’t earn Eagle before starting high school tend to find it difficult to find enough time once they’re in high school, although we have had some Scouts complete their Eagle badges while they were seniors in high school. Being able to put “Eagle Scout” on college or employment applications is a big plus for many boys.

3.3       Merit Badges

To earn Star, Life, and Eagle ranks, boys must, in addition to the service and leadership mention above, earn merit badges (MBs), which require in-depth learning and work on specific topics. Star requires six merit badges, four of which are on the list of MBs required for Eagle (see below). Life requires five more MBs, with three from the Eagle list. Eagle requires ten more MBs, with five from the Eagle list, for a total of twenty-one merit badges. After Eagle, while they are still youth, boys can continue to earn merit badges; with each group of five more MBs, they can add Bronze, Gold, and Silver Palms to their uniforms (but they are still Eagle rank).

Boys do not wait until they are working on Star Scout to earn merit badges, but typically earn two to four (or more in extreme cases) at summer camp each year, and a few more during the school year at Merit Badge Midway, at classes put on by our troop, and by boys independently deciding to earn a MB and finding a counselor to work with. Merit badge classes are taught by adult counselors. Boys should take at least one Eagle-required merit badge each year at summer camp and at Merit Badge Midway (MBM), held in late January or early Februay.

The twelve merit badges listed below are required to earn Eagle Scout. Eagle-required merit badges can usefully be divided into the four topic areas, as follows.

3.3.1        Outdoors Merit Badges for Eagle


Environmental Science

3.3.2        Personal Development Merit Badges for Eagle


Personal Fitness

Personal Management

Swimming or Hiking or Cycling (select one)

3.3.3        Rescue Merit Badges for Eagle

First Aid

Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving (select one)

3.3.4        Citizenship Merit Badges for Eagle

Family Life

Citizenship in the Community

Citizenship in the Nation

Citizenship in the World

3.3.5        Elective Merit Badges

The other nine merit badges required for Eagle are electives. There are about 120 total MBs to choose from, covering a wide variety of topic areas related to the outdoors, animals, hobbies, careers, and more. The list is on pages 190 to 193 of the 11th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, but unfortunately is missing from the 12th edition. The official list with requirements can be found online at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges.aspx . Another list, with and checklists and worksheets for the requirements, can be found online at http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Merit_Badges .

Some merit badges, such as Swimming MB, can be earned in a morning if the boy is already familiar with the material. Others, such as Personal Fitness and Hiking MBs, take several months, with Camping MB taking several years to accrue the requisite 20 nights of camping.

3.3.6        Sample Merit Badge Schedule

Any merit badge can be taken any time a Scout is qualified to take it. If a Scout desires to complete his merit badges and Eagle project before starting high school, one way to do so is to follow the sample schedule below.

5th grade—spring: Swimming, Camping or Hiking (classroom part), offered by troop

5th grade—summer: Environmental Science and one elective at summer camp

6th grade—fall: Camping (classroom part, if not done earlier), offered by troop

6th grade—winter: Citizenship in the Community and one elective at MBM

6th grade—spring: Personal Fitness, offered by troop

6th grade—summer: Communications and two electives at summer camp

7th grade—fall: First Aid, offered by troop

7th grade—winter: Citizenship in the World and one elective at MBM

7th grade—spring: Family Life, offered by troop

7th grade—summer: Lifesaving or Emergency Preparedness and two electives at camp

8th grade—fall: Personal Management, offered by troop

8th grade—winter: Citizenship in the Nation and one elective at MBM

8th grade—spring: Plan Eagle Scout project

8th grade—summer: Carry out Eagle Scout project; three elective MBs at summer camp

3.3.7        Merit Badge Requirement Updates

Merit badge requirements are updated periodically, sometimes with major changes (e.g., Camping MB). When a Scout starts a merit badge, he must use the requirements as of the start date, or if he wishes, switch entirely to the new requirements; mixing requirements is not allowed. It should be noted that merit badge pamphlets may be sold or be in the library with old requirements. Current requirements for merit badges can be found in Boy Scout Requirements 2010 (or the current year), and are supposed to be kept up-to-date at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges.aspx .

3.3.8        Blue Cards

Before meeting with a merit badge counselor, a Scout gets a “blue card” from the Scoutmaster or an ASM, who signs it. This signature indicates that the SM feels that the MB is appropriate for the Scout, and is normally just a formality. In rare cases, such as a small Scout wanting to take Shotgun MB, a non-swimmer wanting to take Lifesaving or Scuba MB, or a Scout that should really be taking Eagle-required badges, the SM will tell the Scout that the badge is not appropriate. At the first MB class, the Scout gives the counselor the blue card.

. There are three parts to a blue card: the application for merit badge, the applicant’s record, and the counselor’s record. All three parts have blanks for the Scout’s name and the merit badge. Some sections have blanks for the troop number, counselor’s name, and more signatures.

When a MB is completed, the counselor signs the application for merit badge and applicant’s record sections, and tears off the counselor’s record section to keep. The Scout tears off and keeps the applicant’s record section. The application section is turned in to the troop’s Advancement Chair (currently Julie Fouquet). Scouts can turn this in themselves, or to prevent loss by boys (not that such a thing would ever happen), the counselor can give the application section directly to the Advancement Chair.

3.3.9        Partials

At merit badge classes with a limited duration, such as at summer camp and Merit Badge Midway, some MBs do not get completed. In such cases, the counselor fills out which requirements were completed on the applicant’s record section of the blue card and gives the whole blue card to the Scout. The Scout can later complete the remaining requirements with another counselor.

3.4       Leadership

In addition to learning skills, boys learn leadership by doing it. Leadership positions within the troop are required starting with earning the Star rank.

Youth leadership is an ideal of Scouting. In our troop, it starts with the Patrol Leaders Council (PLC) meeting held the first Thursday of each month during the school year. The Senior Patrol Leader (SPL), Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL), Scribe, Patrol Leaders (PLs), and a few other youth meet with the Scoutmaster and a small number of ASMs to plan the meetings for the upcoming month. Adults provide guidance as needed. The SPL is then responsible for communicating the meeting plan to the troop, and for running the meeting. If you have been to one of our meetings, you have seen this in action.

At the beginning of the school year, the boys in our troop plan what events they would like to do during the year. For adults observing and helping, this process of calendar planning can be painfully slow, but it is a good learning-by-doing experience for the boys. Each outing has a sponsoring Scout and family, who take responsibility for the further planning needed. Before the outing, a trip plan using a Troop 64 template is completed and e-mailed out to everyone participating.

3.5       Advancement Opportunities

The adult troop leadership will attempt to give Scouts the opportunity to learn and be signed off on requirements leading to the First Class rank several times during the year. Scouts need to take advantage of these opportunities in order to get signed off. Some requirements, such as following an orienteering course, finding directions during day and night, cooking over an open fire, and planning food for a campout are not readily completed at meetings, but must be done on campouts or extra meetings; it is especially important to complete these requirements when given the opportunity.

For the higher-level ranks of Star, Life, and Eagle, merit badges comprise the bulk of the work. Some Eagle-required merit badges, such as Environmental Science, Emergency Preparedness, and Lifesaving, are currently only offered for our troop at summer camp, so they should be taken there the first year that a Scout is qualified to. The adult leadership will attempt to offer classes for the other Eagle-required merit badges at least every two years. Merit Badge Midway every January or February is another chance to take several Eagle-required MBs, but there are typically a number of time-consuming perquisites.

4.       Level of Participation

4.1       Youth Participation

Most of our boys participate in other extracurricular activities like basketball, swimming, and band, so they are not able to attend all of the meetings and events, and that’s OK. Please e-mail the Senior Patrol Leader and Scoutmaster to let them know if a boy will miss a meeting. The more meetings and activities that Scouts attend, the more they learn and the faster they earn new ranks.

Boys are expected to come to meetings and outings prepared and with a good attitude.

Most merit badges require nominal homework such as reading, exercising, or recording chores that might take an hour or so per week. Many of our Scouts will have such merit badge work going on in a background.

4.2       Parent Participation

Unlike Cub Scouts, we don’t require that parents come to everything; in fact, it’s not necessary unless their son needs monitoring.

Because Boy Scouts is a volunteer organization, we require that each family “have an oar in the water.” Ways of participating include becoming an Assistant Scoutmaster, serving on the Troop Committee, being a merit badge counselor, hosting patrol meetings, and driving/chaperoning on outings. Each incoming class of boys should have a few ASMs, with one of them dedicated to monitoring that cohort’s progress. As of December 2010, we had 13 ASMs (including two mothers) for 32 boys, who were spread over five grades in school.

Per BSA policy, we need at least two parents or adult leaders (at least one of which has the requisite training) on every outing, and usually more if there are more boys. Younger boys typically need more adult supervision than older ones. We must file a Tour Permit for all out-of-town trips, documenting who is in charge, who is driving, and that we are appropriately trained.

4.3       Adult Training

We require that at least one parent from each family take the online Youth Protection Training class, which takes less than an hour. This ensures that all families know and understand some of the BSA policies (e.g., no adult-youth meetings or travel with only two unrelated people present). Parents can go to http://www.scouting.org/Applications/MyScoutingFull.aspx , set up an account, and take the class at http://olc.scouting.org/ . Boy Scout Fast Start Training provides an introduction to Boy Scouting.

4.3.1        Assistant Scoutmaster (ASM) Training

Qualified parents can become ASMs upon taking Youth Protection Training and turning in an adult leader application. Adult leader application forms are at http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/28-501F.pdf . You can print out pages 4 and 5, fill them out, make a copy of page 5 (and one for yourself if you want it), and turn them in at a meeting. A background check is performed with each application.

Training is encouraged. To be fully trained an ASM must take Boy Scout Fast Start Training online, This is Scouting (an introductory class that replaces New Leader Essentials), Position-Specific Training (specialized knowledge during seven hours on a Saturday), and Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (two two-hour evenings and a Friday night campout that ends Saturday afternoon).

Uniformed adult leaders supply their own uniforms and ASM patches. For a shopping list, see the list below for Boy Scouts.

4.3.2        Merit Badge Counselor Training

An adult can be a merit badge counselor in any subject for which he or she has some experience or competence. A simple form describing the qualifications from http://old.scouting.org/forms/34405.pdf is filled out, Youth Protection Training is taken online, and a two-hour class on the second Tuesday of one month at 7:30 p.m. is attended.

Merit badges cover a wide range of citizenship, outdoors, personal development, and hobby topics including fishing, canoeing, coin collecting, archery, electronics, mammal study, wood carving, painting, weather, leatherwork, pioneering, and much, much more; see the list online at http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Merit_Badges .

5.       Troop Structure

5.1       Adults

For adults, a troop is headed by a Scoutmaster. A number of Assistant Scoutmasters help. In our troop, each year class of boys has an ASM tracking the boys’ progress.

The adults also have a Troop Committee (TC) which includes the Committee Chairman, Chartered Organization Representative, Treasurer, Advancement Chair, Membership Chair/Registrar, Webmaster, and others. The Scoutmaster reports to the Committee. Our TC currently meets the third Wednesday of each month. The purpose of the TC is to recruit adult leaders and to support the Scout program by handling many of the infrastructure functions such as finance, meeting facilities, serving on Boards of Review, maintaining membership lists and the website, publicity, liaison with the chartering organization etc.

Adult leaders are here to guide Scouts as much as possible without performing tasks that Scouts can do themselves.

What do adults get out of this? We get designated time with our sons, outdoors experiences that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to have, comradery with other local parents, and helping to make the world a better place by raising healthy, ethical, well-informed sons with leadership and planning abilities and greater knowledge of the world around them.

5.2       Youth

The head Boy Scout is the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL). He is assisted by the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL) and Scribe. Other senior positions are Troop Guides, Quartermaster, and Librarian.

All of the boys in the troop are divided into groups of roughly 5-10 boys called patrols (analogous to the dens in the Cub Scout pack). Each patrol has a Patrol Leader (PL) and Assistant Patrol Leader (APL).

The above are all elected positions. To be eligible to run for SPL, ASPL, PL (but not APL), or Troop Guide, a boy must be First Class or higher rank.

Advanced boys of age 16 or 17 can become Junior Assistant Scoutmasters.

In our troop, these senior boys join various patrols for campout cooking purposes.

At present in our troop, incoming boys are placed into an existing patrol. Previously they formed their own patrol and worked together on lower-rank requirements, then were added to existing patrols later in the year.

6.       Abbreviations and Definitions

Like many institutions, we use a lot of abbreviations. They are:

APL = Assistant Patrol Leader

ASM = Assistant Scoutmaster

ASPL = Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

BoR = Board of Review, a review meeting at the conclusion of each rank

BSA = Boy Scouts of America

Firem’n Chit = a card or patch declaring that a Scout may carry matches and build a fire

MB = merit badge, a subject-area badge

PL = Patrol Leader, the Scout in charge of a patrol

PLC = Patrol Leaders Council, which includes the SPL, ASPL, and PLs

Quartermaster = Scout in charge of equipment

Scribe = Scout that takes notes at PLC meetings

SM = Scoutmaster, the head adult

SPL = Senior Patrol Leader, the Scout in charge of the whole troop

TC = Troop Committee, which is the group of adults that supports the troop

Totn’ Chip = a card or patch declaring that a Scout may carry and use a knife and ax

Troop Guide = a senior youth than can teach subjects and sign off requirements

ULC = Uniformed Leaders Committee, which is the SM and ASMs

7.       Troop, Council, BSA, and World Scouting Organization Information

7.1       Troop 64

Troop 64 has been around since the late 1960s. Since then, 49 of our boys have earned Eagle Scout. As of January 2010, our troop had 30 Boy Scouts, comprised of one 10th-grader, nine 9th-graders, eight 7th-graders, ten 6th-graders, and two 5th-graders.

You can see some more about our troop online at our website www.pvtroop64.org. More detailed information can be accessed on the “Members Only” page. Ask the Scoutmaster for the username and password. We keep the website up to date with troop events and information.

Every troop has a sponsor, or chartering organization. Ours is the Kiwanis Club of Menlo Park. We provide volunteers for various Kiwanis events, including annual Christmas tree sales.

7.2       Pacific Skyline Council

The Pacific Skyline Council’s Web site is http://www.pacsky.org . This has a useful calendar of upcoming events and contact information for the local Scout stores. The main phone number is 650-341-5633 and the fax is 341-4527. Pac Sky is BSA Council # 031.

7.2.1        The Region

Troop 64 belongs to the Redwood District, which includes Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, Woodside, and La Honda. Redwood is one of three districts in the Pacific Skyline Council, covering San Mateo and northern Santa Clara Counties. There are 91 Boy Scout troops with 2300 Boy Scouts in our council, in addition to 115 Cub Scout packs with 3900 Cubs.

7.2.2        Scout Stores

Books, uniforms, and more can be purchased at the Palo Alto Trading Post at 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA 94301 (just north of Embarcadero, at the north end of the Lucille Stern Center), 650-327-5900. This is only open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call ahead, as hours are subject to change and the store may be closed for lunch.

Farther away, but with a better selection, is the Peninsula Scout shop at Pacific Skyline headquarters, 1150 Chess Drive, Foster City, CA 94404, 650-358-0588. It is open Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., plus Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Check online or call ahead, as hours are subject to change and the store may be closed for lunch.

7.2.3        Camps

Pacific Skyline Council owns Camp Oljato, a summer camp on Huntington Lake across from Lakeshore in the Sierra Nevada; Cutter Scout Reservation in the redwoods near Big Basin; and Boulder Creek Scout Reservation near Boulder Creek.

We can also camp at other local and summer camps.

7.2.4        Events

The Redwood District hosts an annual comporee, which is a local campout attended by many troops at which various competitions are held. We have not participated for several years.

The council also hosts a Scout-O-Rama every year or so to showcase Boy Scout activities, such as Dutch-oven cooking and pioneering (building structures of wood and rope).

The district or the council has sponsored the Trail to First Class campout for a few years in the mid-spring. This campout at Cutter Scout Reservation is a golden opportunity to work on many of the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class.

7.2.5        Funding

There are hundreds of Boy Scout councils spread across the United States. They each have head offices, Chief Executives, Scout stores, summer camps, local camps, and their own budgets. About half of Pacific Skyline Council’s income is from donations directly to the council (and not through United Way). The Council’s Fair Share program requests an annual donation from families with Scouts.

7.3       Boy Scouts of America National Council

BSA national headquarters are in Irving, Texas. The Web site is http://www.scouting.org. It has the most recent version of many forms at http://www.scouting.org/Media/forms.aspx . If you want to save a trip to a local Scout store, many Scout-related items can be purchased online at http://www.scoutstuff.org/bsasupply/ .

William D. Boyce was introduced to Scouting on a visit to England in 1909. Impressed with what he learned, he founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. Since that time, several other youth organizations have merged with the BSA. There are currently about 2.5 million Cub Scouts, 1.2 million Boy Scouts, and 0.9 million Venturers (and related) in the US, supported by a total of 1.2 million adult leaders.

The National Council hosts a National Jamboree every four years or so, attended by tens of thousands. The last one was the Centennial Jamboree in Virginia in 2010. BSA owns three high adventure bases: the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, the Florida Sea Base, and Northern Tier base in Minnesota; a new high-adventure base is being built in West Virginia. Most of their programs are for age boys 14 and up. We won the lottery to attend Philmont in 2011.

7.4       World Scout Movement

Boy Scouting was founded by Sir Robert Baden-Powell in England in 1907. After returning as a military hero from service in Africa, Baden-Powell discovered that English boys were reading the manual he had written for British soldiers on stalking and survival in the wilderness, Aids to Scouting. Gathering ideas from Americans Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard, and others, he rewrote the manual as Scouting for Boys covering nonmilitary nature skills.

There are currently about 25 million youth (both boys and girls), in all but a handful of countries, worldwide. We all wear on our uniforms a purple patch with a white square knot and fleur-de-lis showing that we are part of this greater organization. The World Scout Bureau is in Geneva, Switzerland and its Web site is http://www.scout.org . A World Scout Jamboree is held every four years, with the next one being in 2011 in Sweden.

Troop 64 Behavior Policy

Download the Troop 64 Behavior Policies_( PDF)

See the Troop 64 Website Terms of Service


1.       Why We Need a Behavior Policy

If everyone were well-behaved, we would not have to put behavior policies into writing. Since this is not the case, this sheet documents policies agreed upon by the Troop 64 uniformed leaders.

Our goal is to enable productive troop meetings and events while helping our Scouts grow into mature, productive, well-disciplined young men.

2.       Personal Entertainment Electronics

Personal entertainment electronics include, but are not limited to, Game Boys, iPods, MP3 players, iPhones, DVD players, computers, and cellular phones. These devices distract Scouts from the world around them, whether they are at a meeting or on a campout. Personal entertainment electronics are not to be used at Boy Scout events, which include, but are not limited to, troop meetings, PLC meetings, merit badge meetings, hikes, and campouts. Cell phones may be needed to call parents at the end of an event, but must stay in pockets or backpacks until the end of the event.

  • If we see a personal entertainment electronics device once, we will ask the Scout once to put it away.
  • If we see it again, we will confiscate it until the end of the meeting or event.
  • If the Scout resists confiscation, his parents will be called and he will be sent home.

3.       Disruptive Behavior

The third, fifth, and seventh points of the Scout Law are: A Scout is helpful, courteous, and obedient. Some of our Scouts have been behaving in ways contrary to the Scout Law, disrupting meetings, disappearing before meetings are over, and helping to create chaos. We want our events to be fun, but at the same time there must be some level of control and self-discipline.

For boys exhibiting disruptive behavior or disappearing during meetings, the following will happen:

  • A single warning will be given to the Scout at that meeting.
  • The Scout will be sent home at the next occurrence.
  • If poor behavior continues for two or three meetings, a leader will talk to the Scout’s parents about what further actions should be taken.

How to be an Organized Scout

by J.E. Fouquet, Revised 10/13/14 DK

Download Organized_Scout_2009_09_09-3


Motivation – Why bother to be organized?

  • You can accomplish much more within a given period of time.
  • It’s hard to reach Eagle rank without efficient effort.
  • Good habit for future success, when your parents and school won’t be helping you.


  1. Without clear objectives, everybody will march in different directions.
    • Take the time to explain the objectives, even if someone complains “We’ve already heard that.”
    • If any participants haven’t heard the objectives, misunderstandings are likely.
  2. Projects need a clear definition, examples:
    • “The bridge over xxx Creek at yyy County Park has become unsafe due to dry rot. My Eagle project is to build and install a replacement bridge.”
    • For a hike, the appointed leader might say “The troop will backpack four miles along trail zzz and camp overnight, take a two-hour hike to the ridge top the next morning without packs, then pick up packs and return to the trailhead.”
  3. Some objectives come directly from the Boy Scouts of America, such as the definition of the work needed for rank advancement. These objectives may come with limitations, such as the hang gliding prohibition.
  4. Objectives associated with far-reaching issues should be set by the appropriate committee, e.g. troop committee (adults), uniformed leaders, patrol leaders, entire troop, etc. Your scoutmaster will explain these if he hasn’t already.
    • Scouts propose activities, Scoutmaster and Troop Committee provide oversight.
    • Patrol leaders generally plan calendars and agendas.
  5. Scouts should not attempt unilaterally to set objectives or policies that affect everyone in the troop and should have been decided by a group.
  6. When possible, try to fulfill merit badge / advancement requirements while carrying out activities.

Preparation and planning

  1. Gather enough materials for the upcoming event. Think of all the details, e.g. nails or screws to build a wood structure
  2. Remember that not everybody is like you; try to accommodate all Scouts.
  3. Prepare written directions if needed. Keep in mind that you can’t efficiently give a ten-minute explanation individually to several people arriving at irregular times.
  4. Plan ahead with others who might be impacted by your activities. If you are planning to build something like a footbridge in your garage and your sister’s garage band is going to meet there at the same time, you will have a problem. You need to make sure your parents are willing to park outside, too.
  5. Remember that almost everything takes longer than you think it will. Usually the more detailed your planning, the more accurate the plans.


  1. Write your email messages yourself, but if they’re especially important (e.g. trip plans) have your parent look them over before you send them out.
  2. Remember to include
    1. Who – All scouts? Families and friends too? Be sure to send the notice to EVERYONE relevant
      • Think how it feels to be left out
      • Be careful – Not all circulating email lists include everyone in the troop
    2. What –
      • Required vs. optional
      • What to bring
      • Safety first – safety glasses, whistle, flashlight
      • Check camping/backpacking lists, “10 essentials” list
      • What to wear
    3. When – Four parts
      • Date
      • Day of week
      • Start time
      • End time
    4.  Where
      • Do not post Scouts’ addresses on the Internet. “My house” is OK because members can look up your address in the roster
      • Outside of Portola Valley, remember to be specific. (Where in Yosemite will you meet? It’s a big place.).
      • Provide directions to places that are new to any Scouts.
    5. Why – objective of the event
    6. How – How will the goal be accomplished
      • e.g. work on building bridge every Saturday, the move bridge with truck to park and on rollers within park
    7. Attractant (if appropriate)
      • e.g. “Refreshments will be served” – be sure to stock up on enough healthy snacks and drinks
    8. Reminder – send out a reminder about two days before the event

Execution – during the event:

  1. Greet people, introduce all people who don’t know each other
  2. Provide objectives / directions as needed
  3. Be a good example – work hard and pleasantly yourself
  4. Provide assistance and encouragement. Be considerate and respectful of others.
  5. Don’t forget cleanup – you can get help with this too if you’re organized!
  6. Thank people for their contributions / help

Wrap up

  1. Thank people again for their help
  2. Inform people of relevant news, e.g. “The ranger said that we did a great job both building and moving the bridge.”

Additional topics

  1. Contact information – If you change your contact information (e.g. email address or phone number), get it updated on the troop roster and send out an email telling the troop of the change. Otherwise, you won’t receive messages.
  2. Library books – Make sure that the librarian knows of any library books in your possession. Be sure to check them out before borrowing them.
  3. Advancement – If you want to be an Eagle Scout, then
    • Strive to earn Eagle-required badges, using Merit Badge Midway and Scout camp to earn those that are more difficult to earn locally (e.g. no counselor in troop)
    • Use worksheets available on the web to help cover all topics for each merit badge
    • Save documentation, e.g. blue cards if you get them
    • Keep a spreadsheet(s) containing dates and counselor information, with tabs for rank advancement and merit badges, and logs for individual badges/ranks (e.g. camping nights, hours of service)
    • Plan to finish well before your 18th birthday so that if something goes wrong, you can still succeed.
  4. Eagle project documentation
    • Get your agency’s representative and your troop’s Scoutmaster/Eagle Coordinator and Troop Committee Chair to sign your project plan before getting the Council/District Advancement Committee signature. Do not start holding events for your project until signoffs are complete.
    • During your project, keep careful track of who has spent how much time on what dates as you go along. Otherwise, it will be very hard to figure out at the end.
    • After completing your project, you will again need signatures from your agency’s representative and your Scoutmaster.
    • You will also need to fill out an Eagle Scout application form. Be sure to use an up-to-date form. The current (9/09) form contains a requirement 5 asking for the project name and grand total of hours.   It can be helpful to ask the Advancement Chair for a listing of your merit badge completion dates from TroopMaster before filling in requirement 3. The form needs to be signed by the Scoutmaster, Troop Committee Chair, Pacific Skyline Council, and later by the Chair and Council/District Representative on your Board of Review.
    • It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it!

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Troop 64 Camping & Activities
all-day Big Basin Backpacking @ Big Basin
Big Basin Backpacking @ Big Basin
May 31 – Jun 2 all-day
Hi Everyone, Reminder to sign up for May 31-June 2 weekend backpacking trip to Big Basin.  Full details below….we still have some space, so please join us for an amazing trek!!  Rich (zamboldi@gmail.com Details: Nicholas[...]
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