Concept of a Scout-Led Troop
The Boy Scouts of America program offers our young men and women the strongest program for developing core leadership values in our Nation. In our truly Scout Led Troop, our youth are provided a 6+ year program in hands on leadership, communications, ethical decision making and team work learning opportunity which is unmatched by any other youth program today.
This is a basic tenet of our troop philosophy. The Scouts run the troop. Under the direction of the Senior Patrol Leader (the highest scout-held position in the troop), the Scouts plan the year, they schedule activities, they run the meetings, they train the new scouts, they plan their own meals, and they cook their own food. Surely they will make mistakes, but will learn in the process leadership, communications, ethical decision making and team work skills. As adult leaders, we are here to serve our scouts and grow them into better leaders. The best way to do that is to allow them to try things out, experience success and failure and encourage them to constantly challenge themselves or try new approaches and techniques.
For obvious reasons, adult leaders are also there to drive, handle the money and record keeping, intervene for safety reasons, and fill other support and communication roles. But, if you ask an adult leader in our troop a question, chances are they will say, “Ask the Senior Patrol Leader.” For more information, read this excellent article on the topic.
Scout Positions, JLT, and the PLC
Scouts hold leadership positions during their Scouting career. With the exception of the Assistant Patrol Leader, a scouts serving in a Leadership Position fulfills some rank advancement leadership requirements. Elections for Troop 737 are held twice a year. The Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) is elected by the troop. He then appoints his Assistant SPLs and Senior Troop Guide for that term. Patrol Leaders and other troop positions are also either elected or appointed. Scouts volunteer for Den Chief positions, which are filled on an as needed basis.
All leaders are required to attend Junior Leadership Training (JLT). JLT is a half-day course following the election taught by the outgoing leadership for the incoming leadership. JLT provides each new leader with all the information he needs to be successful in his new position. Each scout is required to complete a Leadership Contract in which they commit to executing the position responsibilities and setting personal goals for that position. The contract and notes kept by the scout are reviewed during the Scoutmaster Conference for rank advancement and provide the basis for approving that requirement.
Nearly every month, the Patrol Leader's Council (PLC) holds a meeting, the PLC meeting. The PLC is comprised of the SPL, ASPLs, Senior Troop Guide, Troop Guides and all Patrol Leaders (or Assistant Patrol Leaders), Quartermaster, Historian, Scribe, and Webmaster. During the PLC meeting, details for upcoming meetings and activities are finalized, new activities are planned, issues with the troop are addressed, and information is passed to the Patrol Leaders for distribution.
Bighorn Youth Leadership Training
Big Horn National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) Course is an intense week long youth oriented leadership training experience where highly qualified and extensively trained youth staff use the NYLT Course syllabus to instruct qualified participants. The course uses the patrol method and models a month in the life of a troop, three meetings (one each day for the first three days) leading to an outdoor experience (the overnight outpost camp). Watch a video.
Troop 737 requires all Senior Patrol Leader candidates to have completed this training. Most of the scouts who attend as a trainee like it so much, they return as a trainer.
Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters
The Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters are adult leaders responsible for the image and program of the troop. They work directly with the Scouts. The Scoutmaster reports to the Troop Committee. The importance of their jobs is reflected in the fact that the quality of guidance will affect every youth and adult involved in the troop. Duties include: ensure that all activities are conducted under qualified leadership, safe conditions, and policies of the chartered organization and the Boy Scouts of America.
Head Adult Leader Organizer
The "H.A.L.O." is a volunteer adult who champions an event or initiative for the troop. This good egg helps plan the event, coordinate, promote, and publicize. In short, they are responsible for making the event or initiative happen. The event might be a campout, a special troop meeting (e.g. elections), a day activity, even an adopt-a-troop program. These HALOs keep our troop active - we couldn't do what we do without them. We expect every parent to participate in some way, and this is a great way to help if you cannot commit to being an SM, ASM, or Committee Member.
To understand more about being a HALO for our troop, click here.
Merit Badge Counselor
Merit badge counselors are the key to success in the merit badge plan. They offer their time, experience, and knowledge to help guide Scouts in one or more of the merit badge subjects.
To understand more about being a Merit Badge Counselor for our troop, click here.
The Boy Scout Troop Committee is responsible for conducting the business of the troop, setting policy, and helping the Scoutmaster and Scouts with the outdoor program and other planned activities. The committee also has the responsibility to provide adults for boards of review. This is an important responsibility and is one area were help is always needed and appreciated. The committee consists of parent volunteers who fulfill various roles on the committee.