Newsletter 2011-12-31

TROOP 4 Family News Letter

December 31, 2011 


Hi Adventure Presentation: All parents are strongly encouraged to attend a portion of the Jan 5th troop meeting (745pm – 830pm) for a special 2012 High Adventure presentation.  We will provide an overview of our destination (Camp Tahosa Colorado, July 21-28).  We have 5 scout veterans from our 2008 Tahosa adventure that will speak to you.  We’ll also have detailed information to handout, to include a photo presentation, and info on the cost, schedule, deadlines and fundraising.  This trip is truly the experience of a lifetime, and the troop offers great opportunities to bring the cost down to an affordable level. Even if you think you are not interested, please attend to learn more.  The presentation will be followed up one week later with a collection of $100 deposits for those scouts interested.  Early deposits are needed to secure good rates on air fare.

For new scouts, please note that the High Adventure trip is scheduled in addition to a local week of troop summer camp.  New scouts who joined in the fall are welcome to attend one or both camps.  Details on the local summer camp (July 8-13, Camp Resolute – Bolton MA) will be provided in late winter.

January Winter Camping Trip will be Saturday January 21, 2011 through Sunday January 22.  We will be camping in the town of Upton’s Peppercorn Forest, site of past Troop 4 Eagle Service Projects, campouts and Troop hikes.  Peppercorn Forest is a large town forest with lots of trails.  A troop scouting team recently discovered a secluded camping spot that is perfect for winter camping. The main campout spot is a large site, perfect for the Pedro Patrol (adults) and younger patrols.  Older patrols may fan out to claim one of three small hilltop campsites overlooking the main site.  The cluster of sites is near good sledding, a scenic cascade, and a small shallow pond, perfect for a troop boot hockey game.

Planned activities include sledding, hiking, animal tracking, hockey, snowshoeing, and perhaps some night-time model rocket launches.  At this winter camping trip we will be doing some aluminum foil cooking (no pots and pans to clean) and Dutch oven cooking.  The winter is a great time to do this type of cooking because you need good warm fires to cook – and to stay warm with, too!

We will be using the regular troop tents to sleep in Saturday night.  However, depending on the snow cover, some scouts may choose to build and sleep in snow caves.  Several scouts made these shelters last year and actually slept much warmer than the rest of us in our tents (see the photos on the troop website from last January).  The Troop 4 Website has a list of gear needed for a one night winter campout.  Most scouts already have most of the gear and anything else is usually around in the scouts homes.

We will be patrol cooking for Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast.  Scouts should bring a bag lunch for Saturday (no soda).  A plastic sled comes in very handy on this trip, for both sledding and for hauling in your gear.  If you have one, please bring it.  Please take the time to securely tie your gear to your sled and/or backpack before arriving at the parish center.  The hike in to the campsite is approximately 1 mile.

We will meet at St. Mary’s parish center at 9:00 AM on Saturday January 21.  Patrols will have an opportunity to assemble their ingredients into tin-foil cooking packets using the parish center kitchen before we depart.  We will need a few parents to drive to/from the site.  We will return for pick up on Sunday, January 22 by 11:30AM.

We will be planning the trip at the January 12 troop meeting.  If your son is planning to attend, please return the attached permission slip by the January 12 troop meeting.  If your son can’t make the January 12 troop meeting but wants to attend, please call or email Phil Bedard before that date so we can include him in planning for the event.

Winter camping is fun and a great outdoor experience – and not that difficult.  The adult leaders and troop have many years of winter camping experience and all of our trips have been a great time.  Hope for lots of snow cover!  There is no fee for this campout.

Town Christmas Tree Pick Up:  is Sunday, January 8.    This is a fun combination fund raiser and service project that we participate in with other scout units in town.  We are looking for one or two more parents with pick up trucks or trailers to drive around our assigned territory in Milford to pick up the trees and transport them to the town disposal area.  Our trucks leave the parish center at 8:30 AM sharp, and we will not return to the parish center until the end of the event, so please be on time.  The event ends at noon.  Please sign up at the Jan 5th troop meeting if you can participate.

Order of the Arrow Election: is scheduled for Thursday, Jan 12th at the regular troop meeting.  A separate mailing will be sent shortly directly to those scouts who meet the eligibility requirements for this BSA honor society.   Questions can be directed to the Scoutmaster, or the Troops OA Rep, Dev Sgammato.

Koosh Deficit: Our inventory of prized Koosh balls has been slowly dwindling over the years.  The original set purchased soon after the birth of the troop is down to six balls, which has slowed down the pace of this exciting troop game.  An internet search turned up zilch.  If anyone knows where to obtain koosh balls, please inform the SM or SPL.  Thanks!


Advancement:  Due to the upcoming Court of Honor, and our need to schedule Scoutmaster Conferences and Board of Reviews in advance, all scouts who want to receive rank advancement or merit badges at the next Court of Honor should plan on wrapping up all outstanding requirements no later than the January 19th troop meeting.  For merit badges, that means a councilor-signed blue card must be turned in to the Scoutmaster by that date.  Candidates for advancement will receive notice of their scheduled Board of Review date shortly.

Upper Ranks Participation and Leadership Requirements:  Scouts advancing to Star, Life & Eagle must keep in mind that their rank includes an active participation requirement.  As published in our kickoff newsletter each year, the Scoutmaster & Troop Committee have provided guidance that this requirement requires scout participation in at least 50% of troop meeting and campout activities.  Please see the kickoff newsletter (in the website archives), or contact the Scoutmaster, for additional guidance on active troop participation.  In addition, scouts advancing to upper ranks must satisfy the rank’s leadership requirement.  Scouts should be prepared at their Board of Review to answer how they have effectively, and on their own initiative, led their fellow scouts while serving on their leadership assignments.  If unclear, scouts should seek advice from the Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmasters on how to successfully meet this leadership requirement.  Also note that there is a new JASM schedule for leading the cleanup at the parish center after each troop meeting.  All JASMs need to inspect the new schedule and take charge on their turn.  If you cannot attend your assigned night, you must make arrangements with another JASM to lead the cleanup.

Troop Eagle Court of Honor: will be Thursday, February 2nd from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at St. Mary’s parish center.

This Court of Honor will feature rank advancement and many merit badges from summer camp and summer adventures.  We will be doing the Troop’s famous pot-luck style dinner.  Families with last name starting with letters M-Z are asked to bring a main dish.  Last names A-L please bring a desert item.  All families should bring 1-two liter bottle of chilled soft drink.  The troop supplies all paper goods and silverware.  You will receive a call or email from a committee member before hand to work out the details, in order to avoid duplicate dishes.   New scouts, family members and siblings are all encouraged to attend this family event. 

Troop Four Website: Please frequent the Troop 4 website at:

Please call the Phil Bedard at 508-561-7058 or email at if you have any questions.


Troop Four Permission Slip

 For the Troop Four Camping Trip on January 21-22 at the Peppercorn Forest in Upton, MA

_____________________________________ has my permission to attend the event as noted above and below.  If I can not be reached in a medical emergency, I authorize the Adult Leaders to obtain the appropriate medical care, at my expense, if necessary.

During the event I can be reached at the following telephone # ______________

If I can not be reached, please contact __________________________

at this telephone #______________________ Relationship to scout __________

Signed _____________________________________  Date ____________

Parents, please check 1 box

____ I would like to camp, too, and can drive ____ scouts both ways

____ I’m not available to participate, but can drive there & take ___ scouts

____ I’m not available to participate, but can drive back & take ___ scouts

Permission Slip is due at the Jan 12th troop meeting.    Call Phil Bedard at 508-561-7058 if your scout would like to attend the camping trip, but can’t attend the Jan 12th meeting to sign up.

 There is no fee for this trip