Information for Families

This page provides info about Scouting in general and Troop 149 specifically.

Troop Overview Document

This document includes a range of information about the Troop and how it operates. Updated yearly prior to new Cub Scouts joining the Troop.

Google Docs version

Downloadable PDF

Parent Volunteer Video

Please watch! This describes what is expected of parents with respect to volunteer roles. The Troop needs every family to volunteer in order to run smoothly!

Glossary of Scout BSA terms

Assistant Scoutmaster. An adult registered with Scouts BSA who serves as an assistant to the Scoutmaster, and who helps the patrol their Scout is a member of. ASMs attend as many campouts as possible, attend Troop meetings, and attend PLCs. There is online and in-person training that an ASM takes in order to be 100% trained. The ASM serves as "two-deep leadership" which is required at every campout and Scout event.
Blue Cards
To earn a merit badge, after identifying that a merit badge counselor is available in Troop or the area (or at Scout camp) you must start the process by receiving a signed "blue card" from the Scoutmaster. In the past this was a physical card; now it can be physical, an emailed PDF, or a virtual card in the Scoutbook app or at summer camp.
Board of Review. It is the last requirement for each rank except Scout rank. The Scout (in full Class A uniform) appears in front of 3 parents (not their own, and not any Scoutmasters or Assistant Scoutmasters) and are asked questions about school, hobbies, and Scouting--how advancement is going, how the Troop is functioning, etc. It is basically a Scoutmaster conference, but with three adults. The Scout MUST bring their Scout book to show requirements have been completed. Parents taking part in a BoR do not need any specialized training or experience!
Class A uniforms These are worn to every meeting, and while traveling to and from a campout. It is the Scout shirt (with Troop 149 numbers on it), and Scout pants or shorts (olive green). For "formal" events like Courts of Honor, merit badge sashes, Troop bolo ties, and hiking boots should be added.
Class B uniforms Class Bs are Scout-appropriate t-shirts and regular pants or shorts. These are worn during a campout. 
Court of Honor. Troop CoH is held twice a year (usually late October and early June) to review Troop activities since the last CoH, and to honor Scouts who have advanced in rank, earned merit badges, and received other Scouting awards. There are also important announcements from the Troop Committee Chair and the Scoutmaster. ALL SCOUTS AND AT LEAST ONE PARENT MUST ATTEND BOTH CoHs. Dates are on the Troop calendar months in advance.
Eagle CoH
A special Court of Honor for Eagle Scouts. This is arranged by the Eagle Scout parents if desired. Everyone in the Troop should attend, both to honor those who have achieved Eagle rank, and for younger Scouts to see what can be achieved.
High Adventure bases Philmont (backpacking in the mountains of New Mexico), Northern Tier (canoeing in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota/Canada), Sea Base (sailing in the Florida Keys or the Bahamas), and the Summit (various activities at the national base in West Virginia). These are not required and can be expensive due to travel costs, but are often mentioned as pivotal experiences in a Scout's journey. ASMs are usually responsible for organizing and leading trips to high adventure bases.
Merit Badges
There are over 130 merit badges in Scouting, covering a wide range of topics. Merit badges do not have to be earned for the ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class--therefore, Scouts who are not yet First Class should concentrate on rank advancement and not merit badges. Some Merit badges are Eagle-required and must be taken to achieve Star, Life, and (of course) Eagle rank. The physical merit badge patches are awarded at a Court of Honor and can be sewed onto a Scouts BSA sash.
Patrol meeting
Patrols are usually organized by grade. There is usually time at meetings for patrols to meet and discuss issues. Patrols always gather during meetings before a campout to determine menus and gear to bring. Patrols are encouraged to do things together outside of Troop meetings and events! Ideally, one parent volunteers to be the Assistant Scoutmaster for a patrol, to make sure Scouts are advancing and to attend campouts.
PLC Patrol Leader's Council. Twice a year (September and March), elections are held and each Patrol selects a Patrol Leader. Those with First Class and higher rank also select leadership roles such as Quartermaster, Outdoor Ethics Guide, or Historian. (All roles are listed on the Scout Leadership page).The PLC is composed of Patrol Leaders and those with leadership positions. They usually meet the Monday after a campout, to discuss what went well, what needed improvement, and what could be done in future campouts. They then plan Troop meetings until the next PLC. Class A uniforms are NOT required for PLC. There is often pizza.
Rank advancement
The ranks of Scouting are: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. Each rank has specific requirements that are listed in the back of each Scout's book. The Scout, on his own or at a meeting or summer camp, learns what is required (all answers are in the Scout book), then shows their knowledge to an older Scout who is First Class rank or higher. That Scout then signs the younger Scout's book. Adults should NOT sign off on rank advancement requirements unless specifically allowed by the Scoutmaster... this will be the exception rather than the rule!
Scoutbook vs Scout Book
Scoutbook is an online app that the Troop uses to track rank advancement and merit badges earned. Each Scout can (via their parents) access Scoutbook, check their advancement, and print advancement reports. Each Scout also has a Scout book: a physical book where rank advancement requirements are listed and signed by older Scouts. Their Scout book is then shown to the Scoutmaster at the Scoutmaster conference and at the Board of Review to show that they have completed the requirements. A Scout should put their name in their Scout book, keep it in a Ziploc bag to protect it from the elements, and periodically take a photo of the rank advancement pages in case it is lost.
Scoutmaster conference
The next-to-last step in rank advancement (the last step is a BoR for every rank but Scout rank). It's a conversation held in a public place (usually Starbucks) between the Scoutmaster and the Scout. Scout should bring their Scout book for confirmation that everything has been signed off properly. It is basically a rehearsal of the BoR--Scoutmaster will ask about school, sports, hobbies, and how their Scouting experience is going. If there are any issues, they should be covered at this time. Note that a Scoutmaster can call for a conference at any time, if there are issues or concerns that need to be addressed.
Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. They are elected by the entire Troop twice a year, in September and March. They are in charge of meetings (both Troop meetings and PLCs) and send out agendas for those meetings. SPL and ASPL need to be First Class or higher rank.
Troop Meeting Troop meetings are held almost every Monday (see below). Scouts are expected to attend as many meetings as possible, in Class A uniforms. We start with announcements, introductions, Scout skills, a main program, often advancement time, and sometimes a game. See the Troop Calendar for specific meeting days.


Q: How often do you camp?
A: We attempt to have monthly campouts in Troop 149, separate from parents other than ones who drive and attend. Camping fees range from free, to $20-30, to more than $100 for activities such as whitewater rafting.

Q: When do you have meetings?
A: Troop meetings during the school year are Mondays, 7:00-8:30 PM, in the Fellowship Hall at Cherrydale United Methodist Church. Troop meetings are NOT held when Arlington Public Schools are closed due to holidays or teacher work days. They are also usually not held the Monday after a campout, as that is reserved for the PLC meeting.

Q: What is the Troop 149 First Class Practical?
A: See this link:  First Class Practical. This should be done after all the other first class requirements are finished, but before the Scoutmaster conference.The practical is given by another First Class or higher Scout in the Troop.

Q: What is the grubmaster and what does he do?
A: Before going on a campout, each patrol chooses a grubmaster. The grubmaster's job is to buy the food for the campout that the patrol has decided on. The grubmaster will receive money from the other Scouts to pay for the food. The same is true for adults attending a campout. The standard fee is $25/person for a campout where all meals (Saturday breakfast, lunch, dinner, cold Sunday breakfast) are made by the patrol. This does NOT include Friday night dinner, which is usually a bag dinner purchased before leaving.