New Scouts, Welcome to Troop 2860!

Welcome to Boy Scouts and your Troop family. There are many items to cover but don’t worry, we’ll take it one step at a time. Please take your time and go through this entire message carefully (maybe even several times).

Foremost, thank you for selecting Troop 2860 as your Troop home. We are excited to have you with us. Boy Scouts is unlike any other youth organization. Your Scout’s involvement in Boy Scout Troop 2860 can be the most significant youth activity in your son’s life. The adventures, leadership, values, merit badges, and skills learned and practiced through our program have a positive lifelong impact on our Scouts.

You will meet many adult Troop members with an exciting passion for our scouting program. They, like you, probably didn’t start at this level of commitment in the Troop. A transformation took place over time that escalated their level of involvement. There is no mystery as to why this happened. You will witness the impact that Boy Scouts will have on your son through his leadership, self/confidence, values, and maturation as he works his way towards his scouting goals. Your direct support of his Troop is immensely satisfying and vital not only to your son’s scouting success but also to the Troop’s continuing mission. Many parents adopt the scouting program and our Troop’s operations as the primary method of guiding their son’s development to adulthood.

I know that’s a bold statement. I can only offer you my personal experience as testament to the impact our Scouting program has on the youth involved in it. I’ve watched boys mentored and developed by our scouting program grow into men, and ultimately appear before me as Eagle Scouts. My own son’s growth as a leader and mentor to younger Scouts continues to leave me in awe of this program. I wouldn’t trade the adventures and satisfaction of my involvement in Scouting for anything in the world. It has been, and continues to be, the most important work of my life. I welcome you to share in the Scouting program and all it offers your son, your family, and you personally as we continue the adventure together.

Let’s prepare for the first steps:

Scout run Troop – Troop 2860 is a Scout run Troop. This is fundamentally different than Cub Scouts. The Scouts gravitate to this concept quite easily. Parents, however, have a slightly harder time with it. Our meetings may appear unorganized. Scout leadership will struggle to get things done at times. We will have a new Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) and his officer staff installed in March. This serves to compound the whole matter.

It does work. I and the other Assistant Scout Masters (ASMs) are always watchful of when to step in, and, more importantly, when to not interfere. We are training leaders and teaching leadership along with Scout skills, merit badges, and the many other fundamentals of scouting. Please resist the urge to jump in to “help”; however, safety is every adult’s responsibility. If there are any concerns for the safety of a Scout, it should be addressed immediately.

This by no means implies that you aren’t needed!!! Your support of the Troop and our Scouts is critical.

The Troop only lives within each of us. There is no staff, or funding, or large corporation of support for our Troop beyond what we bring ourselves. Our organization is built by moms and dads for their sons, guided by the BSA organization. Our sponsor supplies space. Our District helps with training. But we, and we alone, build our Troop program for our Scouts.

Statistically, it is rare that a Scout succeeds in scouting without strong parental involvement. A Scouts adoption of all that Scouting has to offer is in direct relation to the involvement of his parents. Telling him it’s important is good. Getting involved is far better and much more successful. I like to explain it as: In Troop 2860, there are no sidelines, only the playing field. Troop 2860 Committee Chairman, Mrs. Mezynski, will discuss opportunities for your Troop involvement at the new parent orientation meetings after crossover.

Now for some details:

Uniform – Troop 2860 is a Class A Troop. That means that Scouts are expected to be in Class A uniform at meetings and other functions unless the Senior Patrol Leaders issues direction otherwise. Class A for our Troop is Scout socks, pants/shorts, and shirt. Neck wear is not part of our Troop’s class A uniform. The Troop cap is for field duty but may be worn as part of their Class A when outdoors. A sash is worn during specific events after a scout has earned three merit badges. That said, a Scout who shows up in a sports uniform, nasty, sweaty, and smelly, is absolutely welcome and shows true Scout spirit and commitment. Dashing to get to a Scout meeting from another venue is common. A change into the uniform can be difficult at times. Please don’t miss a meeting just because your Scout doesn’t have his uniform with him. However, if he’s coming from home, please encourage him to wear his uniform.

The board (Troop 2860 number patch) is awarded by the Troop after a Scout has camped with the Troop as a Troop member.

Scout Book – The Troop does not provide the Boy Scout handbook. Books are available at the Boy Scout shop or on line. Google “scoutstuff”, the official Scout site will come right up.

Communications – E/mail is vital to our communications. Troop 2860 is an extremely active organization with multiple weekly events. We were involved in over 200 events last year alone. Please read my messages carefully. I try to be concise and to not overburden your inbox, but there is a lot going on.

Meetings – Our Tuesday night program is part of our overall operation. We meet in the sanctuary of the Woodlake United Methodist Church from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. WUMC is located in the Hampton Park housing subdivision. Directions: Travel west on Hull Street past the entrance to Woodlake about a mile and turn left onto Hampton Park Drive. The entrance to WUMC is then about a quarter mile on the right.

Summer Camp – This is a very important topic. The relationship between a scout attending Boy Scout summer camp and his long term scouting success has been well studied and proven. Troop 2860 utilizes the Blue Ridge Mountain Council of VA summer camp programs located on the second largest scouting reservation in the nation. This reservation covers 16,000 acres across nine miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our first and second year Scouts attend Ottari base camp. This is a wonderful Boy Scout camp that is everything you ever imagined a Boy Scout camp should be. You will receive a great deal of detailed information from our seasoned adult leaders that will answer all questions in detail about summer camp. Right now, my goal is to highlight the importance of summer camp and its relationship to your scout’s long term scouting success.

Basic Skills – Once your scout obtains his handbook, his next thought will be how to begin so he can successfully advance in rank. Here again is where a boy run Troop is different than Cub Scouts. The SPL and our Leadership Core will structure meetings and camps to assure skill work may be completed by scouts with the mentor-ship of our scout leadership. Adults supply resources and enable this to take place. ASMs may also instruct as needed, but our goal is for ASMs to offer guidance and encouragement to operate the troop in the boy lead and patrol methods.

Merit Badge Program – Starting a couple years ago, Troop 2860 began an ongoing merit badge program on Thursday nights. New Scouts are generally not involved in this aspect of our program (at first). Merit badges, such as the Collections MB noted in your crossover handout packets, may be worked on individually. I’ll offer more information on merit badge work as we get you settled in.

Info specific to crossovers – Our March Troop meetings are reserved for Order of the Arrow elections and Troop officer elections respectively. These meetings are very informative but generally do not have the energy level your young Scout may be expecting. Generally, the third or fourth meeting in March will be the first big meeting where all the crossover Scouts will be on hand and we can recognize them formally before the Troop. Please do not hesitate to participate in your Troop’s activities. Just be aware of and manage expectations accordingly.

Schedule – Troop 2860 sets our yearly event schedule every August. This schedule is published on our web site. I offer about a two month detailed schedule that I’ll provide to you. Things do change. Please watch for e/mail messages that offer information about plan alterations as they occur.

Patrols – Troop 2860 has age based patrols. Scouts organized into your sons patrols will all be of the same general age. Please be patient with this process as the senior Scout leadership work to get the patrols together. We endeavor to keep Scout pals together but there will be Scouts from other Packs within patrols. All parent requests for patrol changes may be made to me and I’ll consult with the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) about changes. Scouts, however, may speak to the SPL or other Scout leadership directly about patrol matters. Each patrol will have Troop 2860 Scout officers of Troop Guide and Instructor assigned by the Senior Leadership Core coordinator. I’ll work out an adult patrol mentor assignment. The Leadership Core will guide your Scouts through the patrol process every step of the way. We won’t get this officially pulled together until mid/April.

Patrol Leaders Conference (PLC) – As a boy led Troop, one of the primary methods for the scouts to manage the Troop is through the PLC. It is at the PLC where our weekly schedule is discussed and decisions are made. Patrol Leaders, Assistant Patrol Leaders, and Troop officers are expected to attend the PLC meetings. New Scouts will not be involved in a PLC until April.

Electronics – Soon, you and your scout will receive explicit direction about electronic rules for his troop. For now, please be aware that electronics, including phones, are not permitted at scout camps. Scouts may have phones at weekly meetings; however, any disruption caused by scout interaction with an electronic device will result in disciplinary action. Scouts may use adult Assistant Scout Master phones to make transportation arrangements or for urgent communications. Scoutmaster advice: leave the phone and any other electronics at home.

Crossovers – YES, your Scout is now a Troop 2860 Scout!! The moment he crossed to his Troop, he is a full member. Please participate in any crossovers following your Packs as a Troop 2860 Scout!

Family Night and Court of Honor – The March Troop 2860 celebration of scouting is where we honor the achievements of our Scouts with recognition by family members. Please attend.

How and When to Contact Me – I encourage adults to contact me outside of the Tuesday meeting environment. You will quickly see the intensity of interaction I have with scouts to complete their scouting business. This dedicated meeting time is for our scouts. It is a very inconvenient time for me to discuss topics with adults that can be addressed outside of this time. However, we have many great ASMs who can answer just about any question. Please don’t hesitate to visit with any of our uniformed ASMs or parents. We’re a very friendly group. We want to help you feel welcome and will assist with any question you may have. We were all new at one time and understand the challenge of fully grasping this wonderful program.

Confused? Overwhelmed? You probably are. It will make sense soon. There is a lot to digest. Even seasoned members have a hard time keeping up. Having a calendar organized for your Scouting family is critical.

Please contact me anytime. I’m here to help you and your son achieve success in scouting.

AJ Mezynski

Scoutmaster

Troop 2860

scoutmaster@troop2860.org