Troop 4 Kickoff Letter 2009-2010

Dear Parents and Families,

On behalf of all the Adult Leaders, and the new Scout Leadership Team led by SPL Ben S., I would like to welcome you and your sons back for another exciting 2009 – 2010 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 (featuring a 3 day trek of Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast), winter camping, snow adventures, orienteering and hiking. The troop closed out the year with a great summer camp week at Camp Resolute.

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, Jonathan Lincoln and Gabe Lanciano. We’re also proud to announce our newest Eagle Scout, Mike Tusino, who passed his Board of Review over the summer. Mike’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, including recent summer camp and Mt. Washington trips. Be sure to check out the website on a regular basis at:

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. Mr. Garber has volunteered to work with this crew to develop an exciting venture program.

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.

To cap off the schedule for this coming season, the troop will embark on a 50 mile, week long, self guided, wilderness canoe trip on the east branch of the Penobscot River and surrounding lakes. Troop activities this spring will help to prepare us for this August adventure. Lots more information on this once in a lifetime expedition will be coming soon.

The Venture Scout organizational meeting will be held Tuesday, September 15. The first meeting for ALL OTHER SCOUTS (scouts in grades six through eight) will be Thursday, September 24. This will be our organizational meeting for the year, for election of Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders, and the announcement of other leadership posts assigned by the SPL. 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. To cover the Council’s decision to raise registration rates by $5 this year, the troop had to pass on this small increase to our dues. The total due is $85/scout with $65/scout for the second or more scouts per family. If this is a hardship please email/call Phil Bedard (confidential).

We will once again conduct a pancake breakfast as a supplemental fundraiser for our high adventure programs. We are expecting all scouts to fully participate in this year’s fundraising effort.

The fees are due at the start of the season. Please drop off your check at the start of the September 24 or October 1 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 1 to the Troop Treasurer, Mrs. Debra Laviolette at 7 Paulene Drive, Franklin 02038. Please make all checks payable to Troop 4. As a courtesy to the troop and to assist in our planning, if your son does not plan to continue, please have him call the scoutmaster to convey his decision.

For Assistant 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 the corner convenience store). We will be starting the meetings at 7:00 PM.
  • Uniforms must be worn to all the troop meetings.
  • 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 24th troop meeting.

Annual Medical Form to Fill Out

The annual medical form is available on the troop web site under “FORMS.”  A hardcopy version of this form will also be available at the September 24 troop meeting. The troop asks for this information annually, even if you have recently provided a form for Camp Resolute. 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. Note that a doctor’s signature is NOT required for this Class 1 form. Vaccines, if current, can be simply listed as “current”.

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, Environmental Science, and other badges soon to be determined.

This year, Life Scouts preparing for an 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. Those Life Scouts currently working on an Eagle Project must report status to the group at the September 15th Venture meeting.

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 attend at least 1 troop service activity in the scout year (e.g., cemetery clean-up, scouting for food, Christmas tree pickup).
  • To demonstrate leadership among your peers in the Troop, a minimum of 25% of the total number of Eagle Scout Service project volunteer hours (not the project leader’s hours) should be from Troop 4 Scouts, with a stretch goal of at least 50%.
  • Scouts must demonstrate scout spirit during troop 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 more than 1 rank in a year would be expected to meet the meeting requirements and the appropriate ratio of outdoor activities for each period (e.g., 2 outdoor activities for half a year).
  • 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 for the 2009-10 season is on the website. Here are a few dates for some upcoming events with more information to follow:

  • A Troop Eagle Court of Honor on Thursday, October 22 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
  • The troop fall backpacking trip to the Taconic Mountains of northwest Connecticut will be held on October 24/25. A small advance party will depart on Friday afternoon October 23rd.
  • Scouting for Food will also be on October 24/25.
  • The Troop’s annual Halloween Party will be Thursday, October 29.

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. We’re looking forward to an exciting new season!

Very truly yours,
Phil Bedard