Woodlake United Methodist Church
Welcome to the Troop 2860 Family! We are thrilled that you and your child have joined us, and we can't wait to watch all the fun you are about to have with us. We hold a new parents orientation meeting each March, but in case you have joined at a different time of the year, or if you just need a refresher, this is the place for you. And if we haven't answered all your questions, please email your Scoutmaster (either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) and we will be sure to help you out.
Staying informed is crucial in a Troop as large and as active as ours. We leverage an email distribution list for the entire Troop, which is also subdivided for separate targeted communications to Leaders, Parents, and Scouts. Our Scoutmaster send out a weekly email with Troop Meeting information and announcements, and other leaders will distribute information our monthly outings and other important Scouting events. If you new to the Troop or are not receiving these messages, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, your Scout's name, and your email address. If your Scout has an email account and would like to receive messages as well, include their address too!
Our weekly Troop Meeting is a major part of our Scouting program. We meet year-round on Monday nights in the sanctuary of Woodlake United Methodist Church from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM. WUMC is located in the Hampton Park neighborhood at 15630 Hampton Park Drive, Chesterfield, VA 23832. During the school year, we do observe the same holidays as Chesterfield County Public Schools.
Once a month our youth leadership team conducts a Patrol Leaders Conference (PLC) where they plan the next 4 weeks of meetings and discuss topics for the month's outing. The Senior Patrol Leader, their Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders, and the leader of each Patrol are expected to attend and participate.
Once a quarter our Troop Meeting becomes a Court of Honor, where we recognize the achievements of our Scouts, award earned Merit Badges and Rank Cards, and celebrate the accomplishments of our youth members.
You can keep up with all our our meetings and events on the Troop Calendar displayed on the Current Members page.
Troop 2860 is a Scout-run Troop. This is fundamentally different than Cub Scouts. The Scouts adopt to this concept quite easily. Parents, however, have a slightly harder time with it. Our meetings may appear unorganized. Scout leadership will struggle to get things done at times. We have a new Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) and his officer staff elected every six months, which also happens to fall in March when new crossovers join the Troop. It does work. The Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters are always watchful of when to step in, and more importantly, when not to interfere. We are training leaders and teaching leadership along with Scout skills, Merit Badges, and the many other fundamentals of Scouting. Please resist the urge to jump in and “help” - however, safety is every adults' responsibility. If there are any concerns for the safety of a Scout, please address it immediately.
Scouts are expected to be in Class A uniform at meetings and other functions unless the Senior Patrol Leader issues direction otherwise. Class A for our Troop is BSA green socks, BSA green pants/shorts, BSA green belt, and BSA tan shirt. Neckerchiefs are not part of our Troop’s required Class A uniform. The Troop cap is for field duty but may be worn as part of their Class A when outdoors. A sash is worn during Court of Honor and Boards of Review once a Scout has earned three Merit Badges. That said, a Scout who shows up in a sweaty sports uniform is absolutely welcome and shows true Scout Spirit and commitment. Dashing to get to a Troop Meeting from another venue is common. A change into the uniform can be difficult at times. Please don’t miss a meeting just because your Scout doesn’t have their uniform with them. However, if you are coming from home, please encourage them to wear their uniform.
If you are not crossing over from a Cub Scout Pack and do not already have a tan uniform shirt, you will need to start there. If you already have a Cub Scout tan uniform shirt, you will just need to strip it of most patches to be ready for the Troop. If you used Badge Magic to adhere the patches, they will leave a sticky layer of film behind. No worries! Remove all Badge Magic patches by grabbing an edge and pulling firmly (remove even the ones that will get reused for the Troop). Drop the shirt off at Puritan Cleaners and request they use the Perc Method to clean the shirt. It will remove all the residue and look brand new! Tell them it is for a Youth Scout and receive 50% off (all youth clothing is half off). Then you can reattach the reused patches and the new ones listed below.
To purchase a uniform and/or required patches, you can buy them online or visit the Council's Scout Shop at 8090 Villa Park Drive, Henrico, VA 23228. You can find the Scout Shop hours of operation on the Council's Website. A list of items to purchase is:
Green Pants (recommend the ones with zip off legs so they are shorts and pants, and buy a size up - they shrink)
Green Belt (one size fits all and you cut it to length)
Heart of Virginia Council Shoulder Patch (reusable from Cub Scouts)
If earned, the Cub Scout Arrow of Light Rank Badge (reusable from Cub Scouts)
DO NOT buy the tan 2860 Unit Numbers (they will be awarded by the Troop after their first camping trip with us)
DO NOT buy a Patrol patch (it will be provided by the Troop once assigned)
Green BSA Socks (one pair is enough, ankle or full length, this is a required part of a full uniform for formal occasions)
Merit Badge Sash (worn at formal occasions after earning 3 MBs, but you can save yourself a trip back if you want to buy it now)
Badge Magic Adhesive Kit (optional if you like to sew)
Scouts BSA Handbook (this tracks all progress towards ranks)
BSA Zippered Handbook Cover (optional, but recommended as a must to keep handbook safe)
You can see where all these patches go on page 2 of the Scouts BSA Uniform Inspection Sheet.
Handbook & Scoutbook
Once your scout obtains the printed Handbook, their next thought will be how to begin so they can successfully advance in Rank. Here is where a youth-led Troop is different than Cub Scouts. We ask that you do not sign-off on the completion of requirements in the Handbook unless it is a "complete with your parent/guardian" requirement. New BSA Scouts need to learn to approach older Scouts in the Troop and work with them to demonstrate required knowledge and ask for sign-offs. Even Registered Adult Leaders in the Troop will redirect them to Youth Leaders for this task. It will be challenging for some new Scouts to work through this process, and that is okay. This is the first step in their growth in the Scouting program. Our Troop allows any Scout to sign-off on requirements two Ranks or lower below them (e.g. a Second Class Scout can sign-off on Scout Rank requirements). The Handbook is also used to log nights of camping, hours of community service, and miles of hiking - all of which are requirements for some Ranks or Merit Badges. If the activity is a Troop-led event, allow a Troop Scout or Leader to sign-off in the Handbook. If the activity is completed outside of the Troop it still counts, and you or another responsible adult with knowledge of the event may sign the Handbook.
Scoutbook is the online advancement system that we use to track Scout progress. As a parent, you will have a login to monitor and mange your Scout's profile. As you become familiar with Scoutbook, you may wish to keep it in sync with their Handbook as Scoutbook will display a percent completed towards the next Rank statistic. Some Scouts find this very motivating and rewarding. This is a great use of Scoutbook, but we again ask that you do not mark items complete in Scoutbook that have not already been signed-off by an older Scout in their Handbook or by a Merit Badge Counselor. Any requirement marked as completed in Scoutbook will still require the Scoutmaster's digital approval. If you do not wish to keep up with Scoutbook, that's fine too! Once your Scout has completed their Rank requirements, our Advancement Chair will mark the new Rank as achieved in Scoutbook and complete any unmarked requirements towards that Rank. Scoutbook can also track the logs for nights of camping, hours of community service, and miles of hiking. If the activity is a Troop-led event, please do not enter it on your own into Scoutbook. Troop Leaders will enter a group activity giving all participants credit, and we want to avoid duplication. If the activity is completed outside of the Troop, you may enter the details and it will be approved by a Troop Leader.
Each Scout needs to create a Scout Binder to organize their Rank Cards and Merit Badge Blue Cards, as well as any other memorable documents from their Scouting journey (e.g. thank you letters for service, etc.). The Scout Binder should be a white 1-1/2" three-ring binder, with baseball card pocket pages to hold their Scouting cards. It would be well organized, and brought to each Rank Board of Review for inspection. A guide to creating the Scout Binder can be downloaded and printed from here, and used as the first pages of the binder. A template to use for the spine and cover of the Scout Binder can be downloaded and edited from here.
We have a scheduled outing every month of the calendar year. All of our events are determined by the youth members of the troop and voted on by the youth at our Annual Planning Conference. These include 2-night campouts one weekend each month, with the exception of December, where we usually do a day trip to a local point of interest. In June, after school lets out, we plan a larger 4-day/3-night Extravaganza, usually to a destination further away than our normal weekend area of operations. With the exception of one or two special outings each year, parents are not allowed to attend a Troop Campout. Being an adult at a youth event for the BSA requires the completion of Youth Protection Training, Role-Specific Training, and paid dues to the BSA which includes BSA National insurance coverage. However, we do a great job of documenting all the fun at our outings with pictures, and posting them to the Troop Photo Library. You will be able to see what your child was up to, and download high quality photos directly into your family photo album!
The relationship between a Scout attending BSA Summer Camp and their long term scouting success has been well studied and proven. You will receive a great deal of detailed information from our seasoned adult leaders that will answer all questions in detail about summer camp. Our Troop typically attends a 7-day/6-night week-long camp the week that includes the Fourth of July, as this is usually the least attended week by other Troops, and we always send a large delegation to camp. For many of our first-year Scouts, this will be the longest they have ever been away from home. Our adult leaders are skilled in combating home-sickness. It will be a fun week for them with life-long memories. Please send them! Most Scouts form life-long memories of their time in Scouting from their experiences at summer camp.
Joining Scouts does not require a major investment in equipment for a new Scouting family. Many of the items needed for a successful campout will be provided by the Troop (e.g. camping stoves and cooking equipment). The Troop even has a limited number of tents to loan out for families that have not yet invested in a tent, or for emergencies during a campout (e.g. think broken or leaky tent). When you do purchase a tent, do not spend money on an expensive tent for their first years of camping. It will get abused and probably damaged along the way. Lower-cost tents will be sufficient for most of our outings. You pay for smaller packing size and lower carry weight on more expensive tents, and those are not applicable to most of our campouts for new Scouts. You also don't need a 4- or 6-person tent for new Scouts... that's just more room for them to loose their socks and more air to warm with body heat. A $30 Ozark Dome Tent from Walmart is perfect.
However, the first investment you should make is a good sleeping bag for your child. A child who shivers all night long will not have a fun experience on a campout. Invest in a sleeping bag that is rated to at least 20º F - this will provide good year round usage. Note that a 20º rating means that the bag will help survive that weather, not be comfortable. If temperatures are forecasted to go that low, additional blankets placed above and below the sleeping bag will be needed to provide comfort.
The second item your scout will need right away is a container to pack and transport their equipment in. Depending on budget, personal preference, and upper body strength, this can either be a plastic bin like the Sterilite 16-gallon Footlocker, or an entry-level hiking backpack. If a plastic bin, please consider one with a hinged lid to encourage closing of the lid and to prevent loss of the lid. If a backpack, look at internal frame packs with at least a 55 liter capacity.
The next question is always "What should I make sure my Scout packs for a campout?" First, make sure it is the Scout doing the packing. They will never know they have an extra pair of dry socks or where to find them if you do all the packing for them. Oversight is good, but make them pack the items in the bin or backpack. A checklist is a good method to help them be successful in their effort. We have put together a Campout Packing Checklist to get you started.
There are many places to find discounts or bargains on camping equipment. Listed below are several for you to investigate:
Presenting a BSA Membership Card (printable from my.scouting.org) will earn you a 10% in-store discount at:
Bass Pro Shop
Dick's Sporting Goods
Richmond has a used camping gear store (think Play It Again Sports for camping)
Trail Hut, 114 N 2nd Street, Richmond, VA 23219
Check out the following online clearance stores for deals:
And please, write their last name and 2860 on EVERYTHING!
Statistically, it is rare that a Scout succeeds in scouting without strong parental support. A Scout's adoption of all that Scouting has to offer is in direct relation to the involvement of their parents. Making sure they have consistent transportation to meetings and outings is a good start. In Troop 2860, there are no sidelines, only the playing field. You will meet many adult Troop members with an exciting passion for our Scouting program. They, like you, did not start at this level of commitment in the Troop. A transformation took place over time that escalated their level of participation. There is no mystery as to why this happened. You will witness the impact that Scouting will have on your child through their leadership, self-confidence, values, and maturation as they work their way towards their Scouting goals. Your direct support of this Troop is immensely satisfying and vital not only to your child's Scouting success, but also to the Troop’s continuing mission. Many parents adopt the Scouting program and our Troop’s operations as the primary method of guiding their child's development to adulthood.
Becoming a Merit Badge Counselor is a great way to introduce yourself to the Scouts of the Troop and become involved in our program. Picking a subject that you are knowledgeable and passionate about will make it fun for you and the Scouts. We can always use more than one Counselor for a given Merit Badge, so don't be concerned if there is overlap, but if you want to check out where we may have holes in coverage, you can review our Troop Merit Badge Counselor List. A paper application is required (use position code 42). You must fill out the Adult Application with Background Check and the Merit Badge Counselor Information forms. Please print and sign these, and turn them in to our Committee Chair. There is no fee for a Merit Badge Counselor.
If you have aspirations of wearing the tan uniform shirt and helping to advise our youth, then you will need to apply to be added to our roster. You can do so online at the appropriate link below. Committee Member is the entry-level role (position code MC), with more training being required to become an Assistant Scoutmaster (position code SA). For the 2022 calendar year, there is a $55 annual registration fee to join the BSA as an adult leader, which covers dues and National's insurance. This allows you to attend our campouts.
Now that you are a master at the introductory stuff, be sure to checkout our Current Members section for more info on the ongoing operations of the Troop, including the Merit Badge process, Troop Calendar, Troop Store, and Troop Photo Site.