Welcome Letter from the Scoutmaster – September 2008

Dear Parents and Families,

On behalf of all the Adult Leaders, I would like to welcome you and your sons back for another exciting 2008 – 2009 scouting year. We have many exciting and challenging activities planned for troop meetings and outdoor events – some old favorites and some new adventures as well.

This past year was filled with many outdoor adventures, including camping, backpacking, winter camping (featuring the Split Rock “luge” course), rock climbing and cycling. The troop closed out the year with great summer camp weeks at Camp Resolute and Colorado’s Camp Tahosa.

Over the past year there were many awards, merit badges, and badges of rank earned by the scouts. We are very proud of our two new Eagle Scouts from last year, Alex Morte and Brian Zanella. We’re also proud to announce our newest Eagle Scout, Patrick Bedard, who passed his Board of Review over the summer. Pat’s Eagle Scout award will be celebrated at our next Court of Honor.

Our scouts participated and completed many individual and group service projects, including several Troop 4 Eagle Scout projects underway.

The troop website continues to expand with information on activities and calendar dates/times. We have added pictures from each monthly troop outing, and useful information on the merit badge process. We’ve also added features that allow you to be notified of all website updates, if you choose. Be sure to check out the website on a regular basis at: www.troop4milford.org

The Venture scouts will continue to have a “Venture Corner” in each of the troop newsletters with information especially for them. And we will continue to bring in guest speakers to talk to the Ventures on a variety of careers and occupations, and plan to schedule some venture-only trips to challenge these older scouts.

Troop meeting activities will include old favorite activities including: cooking, scoutcraft, pioneering, engineering, advancement, demonstrations, and merit badge classes. The troop meetings will continue to be held 7:00 – 8:30 PM on Thursday nights at St. Mary’s parish center.

The Venture Scout organizational meeting will be held Thursday, September 18. The first meeting for ALL OTHER SCOUTS (scouts in grades six through eight) will be Thursday, September 25. This will be our organizational meeting for the year, for election of Patrol Leaders, Assistant Patrol Leaders, and Senior Patrol Leader. Venture scouts will come to the meeting as well.

Dues for the Year

The troop is collecting both the BSA re-charter fee and annual troop dues in one combined payment. Despite rising expenses, the troop is planning no increase in the fee over last year, in anticipation of a strong fundraising effort at this year’s pancake breakfast. The pancake breakfast is our primary fundraiser for the year, so we are expecting all scouts to fully participate in this year’s effort.

The total due is $80/scout with $60/scout for the second or more scouts per family. If this is a hardship please email/call Phil Bedard (confidential).

The fees are due at the start of the season. Please drop off the your check at the start of the September 25 or October 2 troop meeting. If your son(s) can’t make either meeting but would like to continue in the troop, please mail the dues prior to October 2 to the Troop Treasurer, Mrs. Debra Laviolette at 7 Paulene Drive, Franklin 02038. Please make all checks payable to Troop 4.

For Asst Scoutmasters in high school or college – your annual fee is $15. Please remit a check to Mrs. Laviolette at the above address.

Reminders for the Troop Meetings

  • We realize it’s hard sometimes to make the 7:00 PM meeting start time. Coming late from another activity or school work/job is fine, but when scouts arrive they should come into the meeting room (no detours to Store 24). We will be starting the meetings at 7:00 PM.
  • Uniforms must be worn to all the troop meetings, unless coming directly from a sport practice or other activity.
  • Return of troop camping equipment. Most troop equipment will be cleaned and put away after a trip. If your son does bring home equipment from a trip to clean – probably a tent, please clean it and get it back within 2 weeks of the event. Tents can be dried out in a garage or cellar – they don’t need to be aired out in the open. If you currently have any troop equipment, please return it by the September 25th troop meeting.

Form to Fill Out

The annual medical form is located here on the web site. A hardcopy version of this letter will also be available at the September 25 troop meeting. The troop asks for this information annually – and access is limited to a few adult leaders. The information is then kept by the adult leaders in charge at all meetings and activities. We need the updated information on hand in case of medical emergencies and to be aware of any health restrictions for activities. Please complete the medical form and bring it to one of the first two troop meetings.

Advancement and Badge Work

Troop 4 has a long tradition of many scouts earning many awards and badges. The upcoming year will be another year of great accomplishments.

The troop will continue to help scouts working on Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class badges of rank at troop meetings and troop events. These scouts, as well as the other scouts in the troop, will also have the opportunity to work on merit badges in Communications, Personal Fitness, Citizenship, Camping, Salesmanship, and other badges soon to be determined. Scouts who started the Rifle Merit Badge at Camp Resolute this summer will have an opportunity to finish up at a special event run by Mr. Croteau at the Maspenock Rod and Gun Club on Sunday October 5th (1-3pm). Those who worked on the Photography, Dog Care and Gardening merit badges over the summer should meet with your counselor in October to wrap these badges up before the court of honor in late October.

This year, Life Scouts preparing for, or working on their Eagle Service Project will be assigned an adult advisor from the troop leadership. Advisors will be available for questions and guidance as you work on your project.

Scouts working on Star, Life and Eagle ranks will also have opportunities to complete their scout spirit, participation and leadership requirements at troop meetings and activities this year.

Adequate participation is necessary for scouts working on Star, Life, and Eagle ranks in order that they can demonstrate and meet the scout spirit, active participation, and leadership requirements for advancement. While it is up to the Scoutmaster to determine if the scout meets the requirements, the Troop Committee has established these minimum participation requirements (and there may be more on an individual basis):

  • Scouts must attend and be an active participant in at least half the troop meetings in the scout year.
  • Scouts must attend and be an active participant in at least 4 outdoor troop activities in the scout year.
  • Scouts must demonstrate scout spirit during these meetings and outdoor activities and obey the scout law. Violations of the scout law will delay advancement. Serious or repeated violations will be reviewed by the Scoutmaster and Committee to determine further action.
  • In order to complete leadership requirements, scouts may need to attend more than the number of activities listed above, and may have to work independently to complete some requirements.
  • Scouts wishing to advance in the middle or part of the scout year would be expected to meet the meeting requirements and the appropriate ratio of outdoor activities (2 outdoor activities for half a year for example).
  • The Scoutmaster determines if the scout has met any and all requirements for advancement. Failure to meet these requirements will result in a delay in advancement to the next rank, including Eagle.

Upcoming Events

The complete calendar of events through the end of 2008 is on the website. 2009 dates will be posted shortly. Here are a few dates for some upcoming events with more information to follow:

  • A Troop Eagle Court of Honor on Thursday, October 23 for all the awards and badges earned since the June Court of Honor. Dinner will be served. The dinner will start at 6:30 PM and awards will start about 7:15 PM. The evening will conclude around 8:30 PM.
  • Personal Fitness Merit Badge Session will be held 1100-1230 on Sat Sept 27 at the High School Track. Contact Mr.Croteau for details.
  • Rifle Merit Badge completion session (for only those who started the badge at Resolute this summer) will held Sunday October 5 from 1-3pm. Additional details to be published soon.
  • The troop fall backpacking trip will be held on October 25/26.
  • The Troop’s annual Halloween Party will be Thursday, October 30.
  • Scouting for Food for scouts interested in participating will be the weekend of Nov 1/2

The first Troop Family newsletter will be out shortly with lots more information.

Please call or email if you have any questions. In addition, on behalf of all the Adult Leaders, a sincere thank you for all of the help from families and friends over the past year. Looking forward to an exciting year!

Very truly yours,

Phil Bedard