New Parents - Frequently Asked Questions

Many parents have a number of questions that immediately arise when they join the Troop, so we have gatherred some FAQ here. If you don't see your question answered here, please ask! Attend one of the Monday Regular Troop Meeting, the monthly Troop (parent) committee meeting, drop your Scout off at the weekend outings, use the Troop roster, or find one of the more experienced parents and ask. We want to help and make your Scouting experience better.

What do I need to buy for my Scout?

You will need to purchase some items as soon as your son joins the Troop. These purchases fall into several categories:

Books (available from Scout stores) Approximate Cost
The Boy Scout Handbook
(may be received as a part of Cub Scout Graduation)
Merit Badge Requirements Book
(lists the requirements of all merit badges- not required but useful)
Merit Badge Books (as needed)
(for each merit badge - may be borrowed from the Troop - contact Troop Librarian)
Uniforms (available from Scout stores)
Class C - Troop green T-shirt
(additional shirts available from Uniform Chairman at $10.00 each)
provided by Troop
Scout short sleeve shirt (buy large with room to grow) $24.25
Scout short pants $34.55
Knee length Scout socks (recommend 2 pair) $5.45 pair
Scout belt $8.65
Merit badge sash $5.75
Neckerchief provided by Troop
Neckerchief slide $2.30
Patches (see front and back covers of BSA Handbook for placement of patches)
Los Angeles Area Council $1.90
Troop numbers (red & white – 693 @$.90 each) $2.70
Red shoulder loops $1.70
World crest patch $1.50
Patrol patches
(1 of there: Cobra, Moose, Dragon, Pine Tree, Fox, Scorpion, Lightning Bolts, Viking

Your son will need to acquire a Boy Scout Handbook. If he did not receive one as a part of graduation from Cub Scouts, you will need to purchase one. We also recommend that you purchase a copy of "Boy Scout Requirements." This soft cover book lists the requirements for each merit badge and for each rank advancement. They are available at the four area Scout stores. Addresses for the Scout stores can be found at Scout Resources

The hiking and camping equipment will be needed before you son goes on the overnight outings or summer camp. The details of these required purchases are listed at various checkilsit e.g. Backpacking Checklist. We suggest that you attend the Adult Orientation meeting usually held each summer where equipment purchases will be discussed.

A listing of the required Uniform can be found at Uniform. We request that the Scout have the full Class A uniform within three months of joining the Troop.

The 14 essentials and first aid kit are smaller items that the Scout is required to carry with him on overnight outings. The items are listed at Camping Checklist.

We understand that the purchase of all this equipment may represent a substantial up front expense. We would mention that after your initial costs, the regular outings are usually inexpensive. You may also be able to borrow or purchase used equipment from older Scouts or Scouts that have graduated from the program. Ask around. Additionally, REI and Sports Chalet have rental programs where you can rent various items to test what equipment suits your Scout best. Finally, the Troop may have some equipment available for loan. Nearby strores can be found at Scout Resources

Where should I buy the required items?

Class A uniform items are available at the Scout stores. Class C (Troop tee shirts) are available from the Troop. Contact the Troop uniform chairperson. The first T-shirt is provided free for the Scout by the Troop. Additional shirts may be purchased for the Scout (and the parents too!).

Camping and hiking equipment can be purchased at any larger sporting good store (for example, REI, Sport Chalet, etc). See Scout Resources. However, we recommend that you purchase three camping items, 1) the external (or internal) frame backpack, 2) hiking boots, and 3) the sleeping bag at a higher quality store where the store staff will take the time to understand your requirements, answer your questions and sell you the proper equipment. Detailed explanation on what to buy can be found at Backpacking Hints And Tips. Books (merit badge books, Boy Scout Handbook) are available at the Scout stores. The Troop also has a library of merit badge books that may be borrowed from the Troop Librarian. The Ten Essentials and first aid kit may be purchased where convenient.

Where and when are the meetings?

Troop meetings are every Monday night from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at Carmenita Middle School in Cerritos. Meetings are not held on some holiday Mondays. Check the Calendar] for specific exceptions to meeting nights. Please make sure that your son has a way to get home. We will not allow the Scouts to leave the meeting without a ride home. Troop (parent) committee meetings are every second Tuesday of the month also at Carmenita Middle School at 7:00 to 8:30 PM. There are also other meetings including an annual planning meeting in September, Court of Honor dinner meetings (Green & Gold - usually in February), and occasional Eagle Court of Honor ceremonies. Watch the monthly Troop minutes for announcement of dates. We expect that the Scouts will be on time and prepared for the meetings and will bring whatever supplies and necessary and required for that particular meeting. We welcome parent attendance and participation at all of the Troop meetings.

What are my responsibilities to the Troop?

Your basic responsibility to the Troop is to support your Scout. This may mean driving him to the weekly meetings, driving him to the assembly points for the outings, or helping him to buy the food (for which you will be reimbursed) for his patrol on the outings and supporting him on the many other activities. However, all of the adult leadership in the Troop are filled by adult volunteers. Continued participation by the adult members is critical to the continued success of the Troop. We do require that every family contribute a minimum number of hours to our annual fundraiser in July. The success of our fundraiser enables the Troop to avoid requiring monthly dues and to subsidize certain activities. We also request that at least one adult member of the Scout's family register as an adult with the Boy Scouts of America. See the Registration Chair for forms.

Permission slips

We require a Troop 693 Permission Slip signed by a parent before the Scout is allowed to participate in any activity other than the weekly meetings. Outings and projects always require a permission slip. The permission slips are sometimes given to the Scout at the Monday meeting prior to the outing or are available at the assembly point for the outing or can be downloaded from the outings page from the website. If a permission slip is required for the event, the Scout will not be allowed to participate without the signed slip. We are required to obtain permission slips by our liability insurance policy.

What uniform does my son need to wear and when?

There are two uniforms, Class A and Class C. Class C consists of the Troop T-shirt (green) with the Troop number on it. Class A consists of at least the official Boy Scout shirt. Formal Class A consists of the full Scout uniform including the merit badge sash, neckerchief, and neckerchief slide. Generally, the Class C uniform is required on all Scout outings (including the overnight outings) unless the Class A is specified. There is also a Class B uniform that includes a polo type shirt with the BSA logo and the Troop number that the Troop is currently not using.

How can I help the Troop to run? What can I do?

We welcome and need your help. There are a variety of ways that you can help. Parents are always welcome to come on the overnight outings and we need to have a steady stream of new parents participating on the overnight and long term outings. There are also a variety of administrative tasks that are essential for the Troop to run. If you are not an outdoor person, there are many other ways for you to help the Troop function. The list can be found at adult volunteers. An offer of help is always welcome. Additionally, there are many small "one-time" tasks throughout the year for parents who are unable to commit to a formal position with the Troop. Please let someone know that you would like to help and we will find a way for you to help.

Some of the parents are wearing Scout shirts. What does that mean and how do I get one?

Any parent who registers with the Boy Scouts of America is entitled to wear the uniform. There are also numerous courses in safety and leadership that we recommend you attend. Additionally, we request that any adult who volunteers to attend the summer camp with the boys purchase a Class A uniform. Usually all fees and costs are paid by the Troop for any adult who attends the summer camp.

What is the annual planning meeting?

This meeting occurs every September (and may be combined with a picnic/pot luck) to establish the overall theme for the upcoming year and arrive at the Calendar for the year. The Scouts establish a theme (for example biking, hiking, or water) for the next year and propose outings (with adult guidance). This meeting is also used to discuss guidelines and inform new parents of standards for Scout behavior and conduct.

What are the outings and when do they occur?

An overnight outing is usually planned for one weekend per month. The Scouts are told about the outings in the Monday meetings. The dates are also listed in the minutes. The cost of these outings is usually around $15-$45 to cover the cost of food and transportation. The Scouts are responsible, in rotation, to purchase the food for their patrol on a pre-planned menu. Your Scout will be told a few weeks before the outing if he is responsible for providing the food for the next outing. If your Scout is responsible for purchasing the food for the outing, save the receipts for presentation to the Treasurer for reimbursement.

There are also usually two longer outings in the summer - summer camp and long term. Summer camp is a one-week program at a Boy Scout camp. The camp is operated by a Boy Scout District Council. Long term is a one-week outing sponsored by the Troop. Examples of the long term outings are a week canoeing on the Colorado river or a one week back pack trip in the western Sierra Nevada mountains. The cost of these outings varies but may be in the $200 to $400 range.

How does my son get the most out of Scouting?

We believe that you and your son will get as much out of Scouting as you and he put into the program. The Scout program is designed to teach your son leadership, develop responsibility, as well as build specific skills. The program provides a fun way for your son to gain these skills and provides recognition for each of the tasks completed through rank advancement, merit badges and other awards. To gain the full benefits of the Scout program, we encourage your son to participate in as many parts of the program as possible.

There is no requirement that your son achieve any rank, or earn any merit badges, but we believe that the more your son does in the program, the more he will get back from the Scout program.

What are rank advancements and how does my son earn them?

Rank advancement is a program within Scouting designed to set goals for your son to achieve and to recognize those achievements. The ultimate goal of all Scouts is to achieve the Eagle Scout rank that must be completed before your son reaches his 18th birthday and is required to leave the Boy Scout Program. There are various Scouting programs for young men after age 18 as described in the Boy Scout Handbook. Please see the Boy Scout manual for a further description of the specific requirements for the various ranks. Rank advancement is earned through acquiring and demonstrating specific skills and knowledge generally while participating in the various meetings, outings, and projects.

What are merit badges and how does my son earn them?

Merit badges are awards given for the completion of specific requirements in a given field. The badges range from Archery to Wood Working. The requirements for each badge are contained in a pamphlet that is on sale at the Scout stores or may be available for loan from the Troop librarian. To achieve Eagle Scout rank, the Scout must earn 21 merit badges, of which 12 are required.

Basically, the badge may be earned by completing the designated tasks and having an approved counselor sign off on these requirements. A listing of the District merit badge counselors is available - just ask one of the more active parents to borrow one. While your son can work directly with a local or district counselor (and may need to on some of the more unusual badges), there are several other easier ways to earn merit badges:

  1. Attend summer camp. The summer camp program is designed to help new Scouts earn rank advancement and merit badges (particularly required badges).
  2. District merit badge days are scheduled approximately 3 to 4 times per year, usually on a Saturday. These are two half-day sessions (morning and afternoon) which many counselors attend to enable the Scouts to earn various merit badges. Check the minutes for upcoming merit badge days.
  3. Troop merit badge days are held by the Troop on an irregular basis.
  4. District camporees offer opportunities to earn badges.
  5. The Troop may offer all the Scouts an opportunity to work on specific merit badges as the occasion arises.
  6. The Troop has counselors certified for specific merit badges.

The merit badges are an important part of Scouting and should reflect the efforts of the Scout himself so that the achievement will have fuller meaning to him.

What are "blue cards"?

Blue cards are a record of your Scout's completion of a particular merit badge and are signed off by the appropriate counselor. The blue card is then returned to your Scout at the Court of Honor. You should retain all of the blue cards in a safe place as the cards will serve as proof of achievement when your Scout applies for Eagle rank (the merit badge patches are not sufficient). Your Scout receives similar cards for rank advancement that should also be saved. We also recommend that your Scout keeps a record all of his activities in Scouting including the number of days he camps out, the number of miles that he hikes and his service hours. This record will be useful later to document his service hours for rank advancement, certain merit badges (for example, Camping) and other awards.

What about the required medical exam?

Part of the Scouting application form contains a medical disclosure form that you are required to complete. The Troop also requires that all Scouts planning to go on the longer outings must have a "Class 3" medical exam on file with the Troop. A copy of the approved medical exam, signed by a doctor, updated annually, must be on file before the Scout is allowed to participate in the outings. Adults participating in high adventure activities must also have a “Class 3” medical exam. We recommend that you plan on having the physical updated at the beginning of summer each year. Medical and other forms can be downloaded from Forms.

Do you ever have discipline problems with the Scouts? What happens?

The boys’ behavior is constantly monitored by the adult advisors. We expect that the boys will obey the adult advisors. The Troop by-laws detail the Troop disciplinary process up to and including suspension from the Troop. The adults "on scene" are the best judges of the Scout's behavior and we expect that the parents will support the judgment of the adult advisor. We believe that this process is essential for the safety of the Scouts. These are our children too. This topic is covered at the September planning meeting.

I have other questions that were not covered here.

Please ask someone. The best places to start are the Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters, or Senior Patrol Leader listed in the Troop roster. Call them or ask them at one of the Troop functions.

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