Finding the right Scout Troop is important. What are some things you should look for in a Scout Troop?
Qualified Troop Leadership
First, look at the leaders and their qualifications. How much experience do they have in scouting? What training have they had? The Boy Scouts have several different training courses. Has the leadership gone through them and does it maintain current “Child Abuse Background Checks” with the state of Pennsylvania?
Though there are many involved with the leadership with the Troop, there are four main leaders with above the minimum required training to be scout leaders. They all are recipients of the D.A.M award which is the District Award of Merit. Three of the 4 are Eagle Scouts. The four leaders, respectively, have 29, 42, 33, 14 years of experience, for a total of 118 years. And that is just for the four leaders! When you add our other leaders, we so much more; for instance, Jeff Wong, our Cub Scout Cubmaster, also helps at the Troop level, is an Eagle Scout with over 47 years of experience. Since 2015 it now required by the Boy Scouts and the state that every person associated with the Troop is required to have background checks. Troop 334 has been meeting these requirements since 2000! When it comes to safety, we try to go above and beyond what is required. As a matter of fact, two of our four leaders have more clearances than officially required.
Troop Leadership Stability
Next, look at the stability of the leadership in the Troop. How many Scoutmasters has the Troop had since it was founded? If the Troop has frequent changes, it could affect your son’s Road To Eagle and their scouting experience.
Troop 334 is 73 years old, and the current scoutmaster is only the 6th scoutmaster in our history. There is stability and commitment to our program. If you are looking for a Troop for your son to reach his goal, then this is a significant factor. Troops with unstable leadership are always looking for new things to do, and always trying to figure out how to do things safely. When considering any of the Boy Scout Troops within a 20-mile radius of Troop 334, none of them can match our record for stable leadership.
Examine how their Troop is set up and how it is designed to serve you and your son. What activities do they have and do they match your son’s interests? How do they plan to train your son and include him into the program? How do they accommodate school & sports schedules?
Troop 334 has a policy of working around any other activities your son may participate in. One way we do this is to map out our agenda 3-years in advance, and having a rock-hard schedule 1 year ahead. This helps families plan out things in advance, so family life and other activities can go along with our scouting program.
Ask about their camping program. Do they have an active program and does it provide variety? Does the Troop keep doing the same thing year in year out or do they do different things from year-to-year? What kind of summer camp program do they do, is it the same year after year? Every 3-4 years 334 does a specialty trip which is a different type of summer camp the other years is a traditional summer-camp but not always to the same location.
What is their advancement program like and what is the track record? Troop 334 has a great track record on advancement and can chart it all for you back to 1998. Even when the troop is on a speciality trip there is still advancement. We have had 70 Eagle scouts since the start of the troop (which is 73 yrs old) which averages out to almost 1 a year. We have had an unbroken streak of Eagle scouts of at least 1 a year since 1990.
Look at the composition of the troop and how well they are doing on retention. are activities designed to hold the interest of the boys, as they grow older?
Troop 334 has a mix of boys who go to different schools and have come from different packs (we even average at least one walk in a year). This diversity can not be matched by the local troops this helps the health of the troop as well as straighten it. Also 80% of the boys who join the Troop stay till age 18 matter of fact some of them stay on and help even after age 18.
Honoring Eagle Scouts
What do they do to honor your son when he reaches scouting Eagle Scout, scouting’s highest honor? Troop 334 started what many troops do in the area for our guys who make Eagle. We give them a banquet and court of honor for them. At which time the get letters of congratulations for this achievement as well as other things. Even though we have had many Eagles each is uninque to that young man it will never be a cookie cutter ceremony. We even have had mayors and other elected officials attend our court of honors. The one thing we do different is the troop does it all for the family we arrange everything all the families have to do is invite friends and family and show up.The other troops in the area put this on the families and also make them pay for the whole thing NOT at 334!
Is there any special thing about the troop that would set it apart from other troops? Troop 334 is known far and wide for several “above and beyond” qualities, including:
- Our seasoned, experienced, and award-winning senior leadership
- Our long history of working with special needs boys (one of our most respected leaders is blind)
- Our enthusiam and ambition with regard to camping and specialty trips
- Our highly trained staff and leadership team