Troop 5 is special. Not only are we a full-uniform troop that adheres to the core principles of Lord Baden-Powell, but we take pride in many of our long-standing traditions and our desire to truly do our best, even if that means doing things differently. Much of what we do is guided by tradition. And, like many traditions, a lot of this information has not been written down... until now. Here I will reveal some secrets of Troop 5. The list is not meant to be exhaustive, as I am still learning as I go. But, I will try to list the many "rules" that I have uncovered as I learned by doing. I have organized them by category. I hope these help you.
-Dave Britton, ASM
We meet every Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Montessori Academy of Arlington (in Dalworthington Gardens). As a general unwritten rule, if it is a school holiday, we usually don't meet. An exception is Columbus Day. Our Troop does not recognize the Columbus Day Holiday, so we meet as usual. We also meet throughout the summer even though school is on summer break.
The Monday night before a camp-out is usually reserved for camp planning. During this time the scouts organize by patrols and plan meals and activities.
The Monday night after a camp-out is usually reserved for fun activities like games, or we meet at Putt-Putt or some other fun place.
Patrol Leaders and scouts in official troop positions meet once a month at a Patrol Leader Council (or PLC). This is usually on a Wednesday at an alternative location, often a place that serves food and has plenty of room.
Our Assistant Scoutmasters have a meeting once a month, usually on a Tuesday.
Our Troop Committee has a meeting once a month, usually on a Wednesday, coinciding with the PLC.
Confusion & Chaos
Our scoutmaster assumes that you know everything he does—even if he never told anyone.
If you are confused or feel left out, simply ask. Rest assured, most of us have been or are just as confused as you are.
Remember, the Senior Patrol Leader (a boy) is in charge of the troop. Please respect his authority and try not to circumvent him.
Additionally, about 90% of the work done by our adult leaders is done by 10% of us who juggle many other responsibilities.
If you want to help, you are welcome to participate, but you'll need to officially become a volunteer and accept the fact that our troop is boy-led.
A truly boy-led troop often appears chaotic. It is supposed to.
Don't worry. We are trained volunteers! There is a method to the madness.
"Boy-led" is how they learn independence and leadership by doing it first-hand. It is something that Baden-Powell recognized and encouraged.
Doing things for the boys robs them of the opportunity to succeed on their own.
Although we often "let them fail" in order to learn to succeed, this principle never applies if health and safety is an issue. Health and safety are paramount.
Many have said that you can recognize a troop that is not boy-led by the strict order and disciple followed continuosuly.
Such boys are taught to be followers--not leaders. This is a shame.
We provide a safe environment and opportunities for the boys to succeed--or fail without permanent consequences.
The boys make the decisions and the boys reap the rewards.
When our boys need to, they step up and order themselves without looking to adults for direction. When they do, my pride for them brings tears to my eyes! This is what scouting is all about.
We pride ourselves in being a full uniform troop. This includes a Class A shirt, a Class B shirt underneath, a troop hat, a troop neckerchief (with no slide), scout pants or shorts, scout socks, and closed toed shoes.
We encourage all Troop 5 scouts to wear the uniform, although we will not stop a scout from participating if the uniform is not complete.
We have extra scout uniforms in a box that is first-come-first-served. Just ask.
We do not ever wear jeans to scouting events.
We do not wear basketball shorts, except maybe to sleep in when no one is looking.
We do not wear cammoflauge.
All adult leaders attending Troop outings are expected to wear full uniforms.
The symbol on our hats and other articles of clothing is the number five in a crazy font ("Farside Font"). The original troop hats were 70's style trucker hats with "Troop 5" written in a boring font. Scouts decided to find something more exciting, so the came up with the "Farside Five." When asked about this symbol, we like to give creative answers rather than tell the truth. Some of my favorites are that the symbol is…
the Wiccan symbol of peace and friendship,
the trail to Kyle Mountain (at Worth Ranch),
a nasty snake, or
none of your business!
We camp every month rain or shine, unless it is unsafe to travel (e.g. icy roads)
We camp in snow too as long as the roads are safe for travel. We are prepared.
Camp-outs are regularly scheduled for the second full weekend of each month.
We have a small Troop Bus that will hold up to 15 passengers.
We generally take this bus plus a truck to pull our camping trailer to each camp-out.
If adult volunteers are attending the camp-out with their son, we discourage them from riding in the same vehicle with their son. This is important to encourage independence.
We all travel in full Class A uniforms. This includes adult volunteers.
Once at camp, we doff our Class As and wear our Class Bs for most activities.
Class As are also worn at ceremonies and interfaith services that occur during a camp-out.
Each scout needs a sleeping bag, a change of clothes, two 32 ounce water bottles (large-mouth Nalgene® bottles are preferred), and rain gear if appropriate.
Scouts may bring personal gear, but are expected to keep it to a minimum.
Electronics may be used in transit, but not during the camp-out.
The troop provides all other camping gear. We have all kinds of camping equipment that we keep in the Troop Trailer.
We meet to depart from Key Elementary School (on Roosevelt in Dalworthington Gardens) at 5:55 pm Friday afternoon.
Our actual departure time is dependent on many factors. Health and saftey are first.
We do not generally stop for dinner, but scouts may bring food with them for the ride.
They may also bring electronics, games, or smart phones for the ride, but these items are prohibited during the actual camping event. They must remain on the bus or stored away out of site. Scoutmasters may confiscate the electronic device if this rule is violated. The device will be returned to the scout for the ride home.
Food & Cooking
During camp-outs the scouts organize by patrols.
Meals are prepared by the scouts. They decide when they will eat and who will cook and clean up.
Adult volunteers generally eat separately and cook as an additional patrol.
Each patrol has its own chuck box with all of the necessary equipment.
The senior patrol leader is usually invited to eat with the adults, but it is up to him to decide whether or not he will do so.
Camp meals are generally simple. We eat meals like spaghetti, fajitas, hamburgers, or anything else that is not complicated to cook outside.
Scouts are not allowed to drink carbonated soft drinks on camp-outs.
One scout from each patrol is chosen during the planning meeting to purchase the food for that patrol.
We do not use paper plates or disposable cups. We try to practice the "Leave No Trace" philosophy. Therefore, we try to minimize trash.
Scout is expected to sleep in tents with other scouts--not with their parent. Usually there are two scouts to a tent.
Adult volunteers set up their tents in a different area from where the scouts decide to set up theirs.
Remember, the adults are there primarily for health and safety, to ensure the scouts have opportunities to do what they choose, provide transportation, and to take care of financial transactions. If all goes well and as intended, the scouts will handle all other details.
We almost always stop at Whataburger on the way home from a camp-out, unless we are in one of those poor states that do not yet have Whataburger.
We generally try to arrive back at Key Elementary by 1:05 pm on Sunday. Sometimes we are earlier, sometimes later. We usually send out a notice to the Troop email list on the day of return, providing an estimated time of arrival.
It is appreciated if adults are there waiting to pick up their scout.
Because of two-deep leadership requirements, two adults must remain until all of the scouts have departed. (We are usually eager to go home and take a shower.)
We try to get in two high adventure trips a year.
These are outings that require greater outdoor skills.
This is not "car camping."
Scouts and scouters that successfully complete a high-adventure trip are recognized by being awarded a blaze-orange troop hat. These must be earned.
There are special requirements that a Scout must fulfil before he is allowed to go on a high-adventure trip. If a scout is interested, he should talk with the Scoutmaster.
Alpha Phi Omega - A coeducational service fraternity organized in many of the colleges and universities of America. It was founded on the principles of the BSA and Scout Oath and Law. This fraternity runs the Merit Badge College at the University of Texas at Austin, usually in February.
Arrowman - A youth or adult member of the Order of the Arrow, the BSA National Honor Society.
Calling-out Ceremony - A ceremony that begins the membership induction process for a newly elected Order of the Arrow candidate. To be called-out is a huge honor.
Camporee - A portmanteau of the words "camp" and "jamboree." A camporee is a district or council troop activity that demonstrates the techniques of living in camp. Involves a one- or two-night camping experience and may include outdoor skills competition.
Cathole - Think about why a cat might dig a hole. Sometimes scouts have to do this too when hiking in the woods. Covering up the cathole is part of our Leave No Trace practices.
Class A - This is our formal scout uniform, also called a "field uniform" but not by us. This includes a tan shirt with all required patches (troop number, council patch, international scouting emblem, American flag, patrol patch, and, rank insignia, green shoulder loops, a troop hat, neckerchief (without a slide), scout pants or shorts (dark green), belt, and scout socks (dark green). Scout socks with a red band at the top are coveted but hard to find. We wear the full uniform.
Class B - This is our informal uniform. It is the same as our Class A uniform except without the neckerchief and tan shirt. We wear a Troop 5 t-shirt instead. We have a regular Class B t-shirt, but also have various other specialty Class B t-shirts, including ones made especially for summer camp. If a particular Class B is required, the senior patrol leader will announce it. Otherwise, any Class B will usually suffice. Class-B t-shirts may be purchased from our Troop Committee. They boys design these.
Court of Honor - A recognition ceremony for those who have met the requirements of any one of the Boy Scout ranks, merit badges, or other awards.
DWG - Dalworthington Gardens, Texas is a small town in Tarrant County that, together with Pantego, is completely surrounded by the City of Arlington. The name of the community is a portmanteau of parts of names of the three anchor cities of the Metroplex: Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington.
Firem'n Chit - A recognition given to Boy Scouts who know and understand fire safety rules and that handling matches and building fires require responsibility.
Jamboree - A term chosen by Baden-Powell to describe the first international gathering of Scouts camping together in London in 1920. The term is restricted to indicate a national or world jamboree.
Key - Key Elementary School is located at 3621 Roosevelt Drive in Dalworthington Gardens, Texas 76016. You may see this address listed as "Arlington, Texas" but don't believe the hype!
Leave No Trace - The BSA is committed to this nationally recognized outdoor skills and ethics awareness program to reduce impacts on the environment and other people. The seven principles should be followed at all times in the outdoors: Plan ahead and prepare; camp and travel on durable surfaces; pack it in, pack it out; leave what you find; minimize campfire use; respect wildlife; and respect others.
PLC - Patrol Leader Council, a special meeting once a month when the troop patrol leaders meet to discuss plans for the upcoming month. It is open to all scouts in the troop.
Scouter - A registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America who serves in a volunteer or professional capacity.
Shugart - This is what most of us call our scoutmaster. His real name is James Gregory Shugart. No one calls him James. Some call him Greg. Most of us simply call him Shugart.
SPL - Senior Patrol Leader, elected by the scouts every six months, this boy is in charge of the troop. All other scouts answer directly or indirectly to the SPL.
YPT - Youth Protection Training is required of all adult volunteers.