Parent Orientation: “It’s a Boy-Run Troop”

One of the hardest things for adult leaders to do is watch the boys conduct an activity while knowing it could be done better. Remember, if boys already knew how to do everything perfectly, they wouldn’t need scouting. Our boys have elected their leaders at all levels. They have been or are being trained to lead. These leaders are expected to lead. There is no greater peer pressure than when scouts feel their leaders are letting them down.

There may be times when you might see the adults in the troop standing by and observing. At such times, perhaps you think they should be involved. Herein, however, lies our method… the BSA method: the boys run this troop, with our guidance, and they need to have the freedom to conduct its business their way. You will see great successes and will witness great failures. This is scouting. Avoid the temptation to correct the boys and take over an activity. Stand back, let it fail, and it will become a learning experience. The boys will respect your patience and your confidence in their abilities.

The only instances when adult leaders should and do step into a situation is those that involve the health/safety of the boys or morally inappropriate behavior is occurring. Every adult in our troop is responsible for the safety of the boys.

PLC Training: Patrol Meeting Agenda

A written patrol meeting agenda can help you plan the meeting and can guide you during the meeting.  Be sure to distribute the agenda to your patrol members in advance so they can arrive prepared to share in the responsibilities.  The agenda you prepare will include these key items:


This can be a call to order or a simple ceremony.  A patrol member can be assigned to research a ceremony to lead that the patrol can later use for a troop meeting ceremony.

  • Scribe takes roll
  • Scribe reads the log of the last meeting.
  • Patrol Leader announces the purpose of the current meeting and discusses the weekly plan and program.
  • Assistant Patrol Leader reviews advancement by patrol members


Items of business may include one or more of the following:

    • Plan for upcoming activities and make assignments
    • Plan menu and duty roster
    • Address new business
    • Discuss the Patrol Leader’s report to be given at Patrol Leader’s Council Meeting (once a month).  This should include advancement or skills needs and opportunities that should be passed along at the PLC Meeting.
    • Check and repair patrol camping equipment
    • Vote on issues that need to be decided
    • Build patrol spirit (yell, flag, song, logo)
    • Ask for ideas on what the patrol members want to do at the next meeting or for a special patrol activity

Skill Activity

Practice a Scouting skill that will be needed in the future or continue to work on skills learned earlier in the troop meeting during the time of skills instructions.


Play a Scouting game related to the skills learned.


Use a brief closing thought by the Patrol Leader or other member of the patrol to end the meeting and remind scouts of the importance of what they are doing.

PLC Training: Program Feature Ideas #1

A good place to start with planning your weekly program features is the Troop Programming Planning Guide.  Once  comfortable in using these, you may have the  option of adding flexibility to the program. But be careful. (Too much departure from the suggested troop meeting activities could result in less exciting meetings and/or poor advancement.)


Volume I

Each program feature provides detailed information on four weekly meetings, a monthly highlight activity, advancement requirements that can be satisfied, and some good skills suggestions.

Activities incorporating all basic and intermediate skills your Scouts need for the monthly program are woven into each weekly meeting. Detailed use of program features will ensure regular advancement of your Scouts and provide troop meetings that are fun and
exciting, not dull and boring.

PLC Training: Opening Ceremony Ideas #1

While the Troop meeting opening ceremony might be usually be as simple as a recitation of the Scout Law and the Pledge of Allegiance, the scouts might enjoy incorporating some variation into the opening ceremony.  Here are some ideas that can be combined or mixed and matched:


Scout Law Openings

1. The Scout Law can be used as 12 separate ceremonies. One ceremony could be devoted to the first point, with a reading of the explanation, as in the following example:

Troop: A Scout is trustworthy.

Senior Patrol Leader: A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. . . .

Eleven meetings later, the subject of the ceremony would be “A Scout is reverent.”

2. The Scout Law is recited by all new Scouts.

3. The newest Scout and the oldest Scout lead the troop in reciting the Scout Law.

4. One point of the Scout Law is assigned to each of 12 boys. Each boy, in turn, takes a step forward, salutes, recites his point of the Law, and steps back in line.


Scout Oath Openings

1. Call the troop to attention. All Scouts give the Scout sign and recite together the Scout Oath and Law.

2. After saying the Scout Oath, read the points of the Scout Law with the Scouts repeating each point, as below:

Scoutmaster/Senior Patrol Leader: A Scout is trustworthy.

Scouts: A Scout is trustworthy.

Continue through all 12 points of the Scout Law.


Troop Flag Openings

1. Salute the troop flag. Give the troop yell or sing the special troop song.

2. The Scouts salute the troop flag and repeat after the senior patrol leader the troop’s special pledge, such as: “As a member of Troop (No.) , I pledge that I shall always strive to be a good member of my patrol. I will take part in all troop activities, advance in Scoutcraft, and act as a Scout at all times.”

3. Form the patrols as spokes of a wheel, with the troop flag in the center. The patrol leaders hold onto the flagpole with the left hand. Behind them, their Scouts place their hands on the shoulder of the boy in front of them. The troop sings an appropriate Scout song, such as “Hail, Hail Scouting Spirit” or “Trail the Eagle.”

PLC Training: Pre-opening Ideas #1

The following pre-opening activities should be set up well in advance of the meeting time so that early arrivals will have some constructive, challenging and fun activities to do while the remainder of the Scouts arrive prior to the start of the meeting. These types of activities can be done no matter what time the Scouts arrive. The activities should cease as soon the meeting is ready to be started.

  1. Guess That Merit Badge
  • Fill a table with various merit badges and have the scouts try to guess their names. This could be done by obtaining a copy of the poster which has all the merit badges and by cutting out each one, leaving off the name, or covering up the names with masking tape. Have the Scouts number their page from 1 to 120 and see how many merit badges they can name. (Give a prize at the end of the meeting to the Scout who named the most merit badges)
  1. Disaster First Aid
  • Have some adults or older Scouts arrive early to the meeting and with makeup, create injuries on each person showing various first aid needs. As the Scouts arrive, let them react to the injuries as best they can with the materials that are at hand. Provide bandages, splints, and other first aid items for the Scouts to use. (Give points to the Scouts who make the correct diagnosis and points for the correct treatment. Give an award at the conclusion of the meeting for the Scout with the most points. Include such things as hypothermia, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, frostbite, dehydration, sunburn, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, and hyperventilation, various kinds of Fractures) (Backpacking merit badge requirement, # 1; First Aid requirement, # 3 e & f: & 4 & 5; Camping merit badge requirement # 1; Canoeing merit badge requirement # 1; Cycling requirement # 1; Hiking merit badge requirement # 1; Rowing merit badge requirement # 1; Sports merit badge requirement # 1: Swimming merit badge # 1; Water-sports merit badge # 1; Whitewater merit badge # 1; Wilderness Survival merit badge # 1)
  1. Bowline Races
  • Have rope available and have the boys see who can tie the bowline the fastest. Make sure they learn how to tie the bowline from around their waist as though they were being rescued. At the end of the meeting, give an award to the Scout who can tie the bowline the fastest.  To add a degree of difficulty, have the Scouts tie the Bowline one-handed as if they were holding on to a floating log or a cliff face.
  1. Expert Demonstration
  • Arrange to have an “expert” demonstrate an important scouting skill or tradition to the scouts as they arrive. Try to have some “hands on” involvement during the demonstration.
  1. Is it Edible or Not?
  • Have a table filled with various edible plants. Let the Scouts taste them if they want to. Make sure each plant has a name plate with it. Show pictures of poisonous plants with names.
  1. Tie that Knot
  • Give each Scout a piece of rope when he arrives and have up to twenty different knots for him to tie. The Scout who can tie the most knots without referencing a book will win a prize at the end of the meeting. (Requirement 3 of the Pioneering merit badge)
  1. Find the Article
  • Fill a table with newspaper clippings of auto accidents, crimes, and other accidents. Let the Scouts take the ones they like to be included in their notebooks. (Safety merit badge requirement # 1a and b: Crime Prevention requirement # 2)
  1. Draw that Map
  • Have available several copies of the map of your community. Have the Scouts draw a map of your community marking the points of historical interest. (This fulfills requirement # 1a of the American Heritage merit badge)
  1. Tell a Story with a Picture
  • Have the Scouts tell a story by drawing a picture or pictures. Or have the Scouts draw a picture that promotes a product or an idea. (This fulfills requirements #1 and/or #2 of the Art merit badge)
  1. Sketch the Moon
  • Have available a large picture of the full moon. Have the Scouts draw the face of the moon indicating on it the locations of at least five seas and five craters. (This fulfills requirement #6a of the Astronomy merit badge)

PLC Training: Planning A Troop Meeting

Recent BSA Research found that “inadequately planned and executed troop meetings were the number one cause for boys leaving Scouting.”

Planning a Troop Meeting

Responsibility for the conduct and content of a troop meeting falls to the scouts themselves. Troop meetings are planned well in advance by the senior patrol leader and the patrol leaders’ council (PLC).

Each troop meeting should have been planned the previous month at the meeting of the patrol leaders’ council and should assign specifics to the yearly plan created during the annual planning conference (usually conducted in early August). The senior patrol leader will have assigned patrols and individuals to take care of portions of a meeting, giving as many Scouts as possible the chance to contribute. The seven-part troop meeting plan provides the framework for efficient, well-run meetings.

The Seven Parts of a Troop meeting

The seven-part plan for troop meetings is an important guide, but use flexibly. The times noted in the plan are suggestions only and can vary to fit various situations. For example, the troop may be getting ready for a camp-out. The usual amount of time set aside for patrol meetings might be expanded to allow Scouts time to complete  their patrol camping preparations. A troop nearing the date of a district camporee may devote extra time to skills instructions so that everyone will be ready for activities involving the theme of the camporee, and the interpatrol activity can include an extended competition that also focuses on the key skills.

When the minutes allotted to one part of the troop meeting plan increase, consider shortening other portions of the plan. Every troop meting should be interesting and useful, and it should begin and end on time.

The Preopening

As Scouts begin to arrive for a troop meeting, a patrol leader or an older Scout assigned by the senior patrol leader should get them involved in a preopening game or project designed so that additional Scouts can join as they show up. The preopeing is often well-suited for the outdoors. Those in charge of the preopening activity should be ready to start about 15 minutes before the scheduled beginning of the meeting. Varying the activities from week to week will keep the preopening fresh.

Scouts whose patrol has been assigned to serve that week as the service patrol should use the preopening time to prepare for the troop meeting. The meeting room may need to be rearranged, chairs set up, flags displayed, and other preparations completed before the meeting can begin.

The Opening (5 minutes)

Call the meeting to order on time, instructing Scouts to line up in formation by patrol. The patrol responsible for the opening ceremony may conduct a flag ceremony and then lead the troop members in the Scout Oath and Law and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Skills Instruction (15 to 20 minutes)

This portion of the meeting is devoted to the mastery of knowledge that Scouts need to participate fully in an upcoming activity, or upon skills they must learn to complete advancement requirements.

The skills to be taught at each meeting will have been determined in advance by the patrol leader’s council. Often the skills will relate directly to the month’s program plan for troop activities. Instruction should be hands-on learning rather than lecturing. All skill instruction should follow a simple process called the Teaching EDGE. First the skill is explained, then demonstrated. Then the learner is guided as he tries the skill. Enabling, the last E in EDGE, means creating an environment for the trainee to continue to be successful (like providing an opportunity to practice and use the skill).

Those who may be effective in teaching skills are the troop guide, instructors, junior assistant Scoutmasters, assistant Scoutmasters, and members of the troop committee. Older Scouts and members of the Venture patrol also can be effective instructors, though at most meetings they will be involved in their own activities.  Be sure to ask those leaders who you which to conduct the skills training as soon as possible after the PLC meeting.

Whenever possible, troop skills instructions should be divided into three levels:

  • Basic Scouting skills instruction for the new Scouts
  • Advanced instruction for the experienced Scouts
  • Expert instruction for the Venture patrol

Each instructional area should be separated from the others so there are no distractions.

Patrol Meetings (5 to 20 minutes)

End skills instruction on time and ask patrols to go their patrol areas for their patrol meeting. Patrol leaders will take charge of the patrols.

Matters to be dealt with during a patrol meeting include taking attendance, collecting dues, planning the patrol’s involvement in upcoming troop activities, selecting menus for hikes and camp-outs, assigning patrol members to specific tasks, and working out any other details for the smooth operation of the patrol.

Circulate among the patrol meetings and be ready to serve as a resource if a patrol leader asks for your assistance. If you notice that patrols have completed their work, call the patrols back together and move on to the next part of the troop meeting.

Interpatrol Activity (15 to 20 minutes)

You or someone appointed by you can lead this opportunity for the patrols to interact with one another in a competitive or cooperative effort. The activity might be a game that will test the skills the Scouts are learning for an upcoming activity like pitching tents or tying knots, for example. Troop Program Resources has a wealth of games that foster friendly teamwork and competition,. The BSA manual Project COPE, No. 34371, also contains many appropriate games and challenges.

Closing – Scoutmaster’s Minute (5 minutes)

The closing of a meeting is the Scoutmaster’s opportunity to step forward. Ask everyone to sit quietly, then turn the meeting over to the Scoutmaster for reminders and announcements about upcoming events, and support of the patrols for their achievements and progress.

The highlight of the closing will be the Scoutmaster’s Minute, a brief message built on one of Scouting’s values. As the concluding thought of a troop meeting, the Scoutmaster Minute is a message each person can carry home.

The “After the Meeting” Meeting (5 minutes)

Ask members of the patrol leaders’ council to stay a few moments after the closing to discuss with you and the Scoutmaster the quality of the just-concluded meeting. Offer praise for portions of the meeting that went well, and talk about ways that future troop meetings can be improved. Make a few written notes so that suggestions can be explored more fully at the next patrol leader’s council meeting.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What should we start doing that would make the meeting better?
  • What should we stop doing that didn’t work for us or got in the way?
  • What should we continue doing that worked well for us? This is an important question because it helps us identify our strengths.

Finally, review the troop meeting plan for the next meeting and make sure that everyone who will have a role is aware of the assignment and is prepared to do a good job.


To more smoothly integrate the Troop Schedule with other parts of BSA, here are some resources for coordinating plans.


Troop Meeting – 6/25/2012

Hey, Troop 142….
Troop Meeting Today
Monday -June 25th

WHEN: Monday, June 25th…..Troop Meeting 7:00 PM; brief White River Canoe Race Crew meeting follows at 8:30.

WEAR: Class ‘B’ shirts.

Tonight, WE WILL:

  • Discussion / Review of Camp Orr
  • Work on post-requisite requirements for Merit Badges that have follow up after camp.
  • Requirements completed or partials from Camp will be received from Camp, but will not be available yet in Troop master to view.
  • Any new Scouts who have not yet completed the Joining Requirement #10… Initial Scoutmaster Conference, please be there and plan on finishing that requirement.
  • Continue Discussion / Work on various First Aid requirements as planned at the last PLC meeting.
  • Advancement work. If you have something to turn in or review with a leader, or will be ready to do a Scoutmaster Conference when you have completed remaining requirements…. get it and yourself prepared to do so. NO Board of Review Scheduled for tonight. See also NOTE below about Boards of Review.
  • There will be a brief meeting for the White River Canoe Race crew following the regular Scout meeting tonight at 8:30. Watch for a separate email and attachments about this.


  • We are trying to plan a Troop camp-out or outing event for 1st or 2nd weekend in July.
  • Venture Crew White River Canoe Race, July 25-28. Not in the Venture Crew???? You can be if you are at least 14 years old. Get more information from one of the Troop adults.


  1. If you/your son has recently joined Troop 142 and has not completed and turned in a BSA Health & Medical Form &/or a Troop 142 Code of Conduct Form (Part 1) and (Part2).. Please download, print and bring to the next meeting. If you have a problem opening, downloading or printing any of these forms, please let us know. A limited number of these forms will be available at meetings. Health & Medical Form: Parts ‘A’ & ‘B’ can be completed by a parent. Part ‘C’ requires a Health Care Provider to complete. If you have an exam scheduled for a team or school sports activity, be sure to combine Part ‘C’ with that. ALL MEDICAL FORMS MUST BE UPDATED ANNUALLY. IF YOURS IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE FROM LAST YEAR….UPDATE NOW.Code of Conduct: Parent & Scout should read & discuss, then complete and return Part 2 for Troop Records. Parent & Scout signatures required.
  2. Boards of Review: Will be conducted by schedule only. All requirements and Scoutmaster Conference must have been completed at least 1 week prior to a Board of Review. Boards of Review will be scheduled and Scouts will be notified individually when eligible.

Check the calendar on our Troop website for other events coming up & updates: Click here.