Getting Started

Welcome, Families!

We hope your Scout and you will enjoy many years as a part of our Troop 144 family!

Boy Scout Troop 144 was chartered in 1989 by the United Methodist Men of Blair Road United Methodist Church in Mint Hill, North Carolina, and we have a proud tradition of delivering the scouting program to the youth in our area. Our troop has produced well in excess of 95 Eagle Scouts, many trained Scouters, and hundreds of fine young men. Our troop has the equipment and local facilities to deliver a first-rate quality program.

If you're considering Scouting for your son, we invite you to visit a Troop meeting on Tuesday night. Our Scoutmaster, Tom Howard, will be glad to schedule a time for you to visit, and meet with you to answer any questions you have.

Membership

Membership in Troop 144 is renewed yearly every March. Currently, our dues are $135 per year.

Youth-Led

Troop 144 is a youth-led Troop…which can be very frustrating for the adult leaders and parents, but ultimately very rewarding for the young men. It means that mistakes will be made, and chaos will sometimes ensue – but that’s how they learn. Scouting should be a “safe place to fail.”

Adults (Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters, Committee Members) hold support positions and provide the framework (and safety) in which the youth can plan, lead and execute the activities they choose for themselves while providing opportunities for them to seek adult leader review, signoff, and boards of review for advancement.

Patrol Method

The Troop uses the patrol method in everything they do. The first-years will form their own patrol, and they will work together as a unit during meetings, activities, and camping trips. As soon as possible they will elect a patrol leader, and then the patrol leader will choose an assistant patrol leader. They will keep those leadership positions through August. The first years will have two senior Scouts, known as "Troop Guides," who will help them through their first year in the Troop.

Within the patrol method, there is a hierarchy or “organizational structure” the youth and adults follow:

When there is a concern or question, the Scout will let his patrol leader know. If the patrol leader cannot answer the question or solve the problem, he will reach out to an assistant senior patrol leader, or the senior patrol leader. If the youth leaders of the Troop cannot answer the question or solve the problem, the youth leaders will reach out to an adult (Assistant Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster, or Troop Committee member).

Generally, keep this guideline in mind:

If your Scout asks you about some aspect of his Scouting

life/requirements/advancement/activities/schedule, your response should be, “Ask your patrol leader.”

If he feels like his patrol leader has not helped him, answered the question, or resolved the issue, your response should be, “Ask your senior patrol leader.”

Youth Leadership

Troop elections are held twice a year, in February and August, to elect the Senior Patrol Leader (elected by the whole Troop) and the Patrol Leaders (elected by each Patrol).

Once elected, the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) works with the Scoutmaster to select the other Troop leadership positions. Scouts may communicate their interest to the SPL for any of these non-elected positions:

• Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL)
• Troop Guide(s)

• Instructors

• Quartermaster(s)

• Scribe

• Chaplain Aide

• Order of the Arrow Representative
• Den Chief(s)

Once the Patrol Leader is elected, he will appoint an Assistant Patrol Leader. Other positions within the patrol may rotate on a monthly basis: Grubmaster, Scribe.


Patrol Leaders Council

The first Tuesday of every month is the Patrol Leaders Council (PLC) meeting. The Troop does not meet on this night, only Scouts holding the following leadership positions are part of the PLC:

• Senior Patrol Leader

• Assistant Senior Patrol Leader(s)

• Patrol Leaders (if a Patrol Leader cannot be present, he is responsible for arranging for his Assistant Patrol Leader to attend)

• Troop Guide(s)

• Troop Scribe (not a voting member; only present to guide first years)

Other leadership positions are welcome to attend but are not voting members:
• Quartermaster(s), Instructor(s), Chaplain Aid, Den Chief(s)

During the PLC, the council plans the meetings and finalizes details for the activity for the current month. Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders are responsible for informing and preparing the Instructors for the content they’ll be delivering during the month’s meetings and campout.


Advancement

There are seven progressively challenging ranks in the Boy Scout program:
• Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle.

Advancement at the Boy Scout level is individual to each Scout, and according to his personal goals. Youth and adult leaders do not facilitate “group advancement” as in the Cub Scout program, and each Scout will advance at his own pace. All rank requirements are listed in the back of the handbook, and each requirement includes a page number to the reference material found in the handbook.

Advancement steps and process are outlined in full on the Advancement page.


Merit Badges

There are 135 merit badges available for Scouts to explore interests, hobbies, and future careers. At the Star, Life, and Eagle ranks there are requirements for earning the 14 “Eagle-required” and 7 other (Scout’s choice) merit badges.


Merit Badge steps and process are outlined in full on the Advancement page.

Courts of Honor

The Court of Honor is the opportunity for the Troop to come together, three times per year, to recognize and celebrate the achievements of their fellow Scouts. The Court of Honor is led by the Senior Patrol Leader and other youth leaders he invites to participate. Rank advancements and merit badges are officially awarded, along with any other types of achievement. Troop 144 holds its Courts of Honor in the church sanctuary, typically in late January, late May, and late September.


Troop Meeting and Activity Schedule

Troop 144 meets every Tuesday from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM throughout the year, at Blair Road United Methodist Church, 9135 Blair Road in Mint Hill, NC 28227.

We have a monthly activity (camping, skiing, rock climbing, tubing, or other adventure), usually the third weekend of every month.

So, a typical month looks like this:

Camping

Troop 144 emphasizes and exemplifies the importance of the outdoor program within the Scouting program. We work on teambuilding, advancement, and skills during each campout or activity. We typically plan a camping trip or activity every month, usually the third weekend (second weekend of holiday months like November). On most trips, the Scout bus is the mode of transportation.

Information on upcoming weekend trips can be found here.


Summer Camp

Summer camp is a week-long experience in July (usually the week after July 4). We typically leave early on Sunday morning and return the following Saturday in the mid-late afternoon. More information on summer camp can be found here.

Adult Leadership

The Troop Committee is made up of a chairperson and other committee members who help the youth leaders by providing oversight of communication, advancement, outdoor programming, and fundraising.

The committee typically meets the first Sunday of every month, from 7:00-8:00 PM. All parents are welcome to attend, and we encourage you to participate in making Troop 144 a success. The Troop expects that all parents will be involved, either as registered leaders or as volunteers for various activities and fundraising.

We take the protection of our youth very seriously, therefore we require all registered leaders and all parents who want to go on camping or other trips to complete Youth Protection Training every two years.

Finances and Fundraising

Troop 144 does not turn away an enthusiastic youth from membership or an outing due to family financial circumstances. In cases of family hardship, we ask only that you allow us to work with you. The expectation that Troop 144 will place on you, as a parent, is to help with fundraising and help the Troop run as efficiently as possible; this can take many forms including helping with outings and/or serving on the Troop Committee. In short, we will ask that you donate some of your talent and time for the good of the Scouts and the Troop.

Our yearly fundraiser is making and selling barbecue, typically the first weekend of February. Money raised from this fundraiser goes into the Troop account to pay for all Troop costs, including subsidizing monthly trips, bus fuel and maintenance, camping equipment, and other ongoing costs.

Scouts have the opportunity to sell “Camp Cards” (local discount cards) every year, and half of the money raised on each card goes directly into their own Scout account, for use as you/they see fit.

Uniforms

Scouting is a uniformed organization and Scouts should take pride in their uniform and appearance. The Official Scout Field Uniform (sometimes called Class A) should be worn to all Troop meetings during the school year, to all Courts of Honor, and while traveling to and from outings unless informed otherwise. During the summer, Scouts can wear their Activity Uniform (sometimes called Class B) which consists of their uniform shorts and a Troop 144 tee-shirt (available for a minimal charge).

Youth will be given a handbook and a neckerchief with a slide when they join Troop 144. If you need help with purchasing a uniform, patch placement, or questions about uniforms, please see the Scoutmaster or Committee Chair confidentially.

Uniforms are available for purchase at the Mecklenburg County Council Scout Shop at 1410 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28204, and the Scout Shop associates will gladly assist you in purchasing the correct/appropriate elements for your Scout's uniform:
Uniform shirt
Uniform pants
Uniform belt
Uniform socks
Council shoulder patch
Troop numbers (brown)
• Merit badge sash (tip: purchase the full length size)

The Troop provides:
Scout handbook
Troop neckerchief and slide
Patrol patch
Leadership position patch (if applicable)

You may also find the online
Uniform Builder helpful to see what you need or purchase directly.

Equipment

Troop 144 provides all tents, stoves, lanterns, and cookware. Each Scout needs to provide his own personal gear for outings (see the packing lists found here). A Scout need not have all personal equipment when he starts; the Scoutmaster can help you acquire or borrow equipment as needed.

Scouts will share a tent until they reach First Class rank; after that they may choose to tent alone, or sleep in a hammock.


Scoutbook

Troop 144 uses Scoutbook to record advancement, schedule meetings, and events, and communicate with Scouts and parents. Your Scoutbook account will be active as soon as your son’s membership application is entered into the National system. Troop 144 provides training for how to use this application.


Facebook

We use our Facebook page to share our new, activities, events and photos with families and the community.

Communication

With boys at this age and stage of development, communication is sometimes limited. The typical response when you ask your Scout, “What did you do at school today?” --- “Oh, Nothing.” --- is the same response he’ll likely give when asked about what happened at the Troop meeting. Please note that general announcements and news are communicated by the youth leaders to the Troop at Tuesday night meetings at the end of the program. Parents are welcome to listen in. To learn by doing, your Scout should be encouraged to talk to the other youth members of his patrol, his patrol leader, and the senior patrol leader for the exchange of information. Between the communication provided by Scouts, weekly emails from the Senior Patrol Leader, and details available through Scoutbook, parents should be able to get the information they need without reaching out to adult leaders.


Outside Activities

Most of the Scouts in Troop 144 are active in sports and other school activities such as band. Sometimes the activities have conflicting times with Troop meetings and outings. While “active participation” in order to earn the higher ranks in Troop 144 requires a minimum of 65% participation in meetings and activities/trips, most scheduling conflicts can be worked out with the Scoutmaster. Please let us know of conflicts so that we can plan appropriately. Absence by a Scout may place the burden on the other youth members of his patrol, so it is only right and fair that the patrol leader, senior patrol leader, and Scoutmaster know about key absences.

Electronics Policy

Troop 144 has a “no electronics” policy during meetings and on campouts. Scouts may bring their electronics on bus trips while riding, but the senior patrol leader will gather and keep all electronics when Scouts arrive at their destination. The Troop will do all it can to protect these items but please be aware it takes no responsibility or liability for lost, stolen, or damaged electronics, even if the loss/theft/damage occurs while the Troop is holding the item. The best way to avoid a potentially bad outcome is to keep electronics at home.

Behavior Policy

Troop 144’s basic behavior policy is very well represented by the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

As young men sometimes need clearer and more specific direction on what is not acceptable and the ramifications of poor behavior, Troop 144 requires your and your Scout's signature on the Troop 144 Behavior Policy, which is a document you will receive from and return to the Scoutmaster.