Is the troop youth-led or adult-led?
We believe in the youth-run patrol method of Scouting, which makes up the core of the Scouting experience. The ability of the youth to run the program varies depending on the seniority and experience of the Senior Patrol Leader. The adult leadership, including the Scoutmaster, guides the youth in decision-making, but doesn’t dictate. Troop Committee members work to fulfill the desires and expectations of the Scouts, through making camping arrangements, organizing fundraisers, managing the treasury, etc.
How are new Scouts handled? Are they mixed in with existing patrols or put into a new patrol?
We give new Scouts an opportunity to spend time in each patrol, seeing how each one functions. After a few months, they choose which patrol they’d like to join. We use Troop Guides and Assistant Scoutmasters to help the Scouts ease into the troop, learn the basics, and advance through the early ranks.
How will new Scouts learn what to do (camping skills, patrol activities, advancement, etc.)? Will they have an experienced adult leader working with them?
We work prior to each meeting at 6:30pm on advancement. Assistant Scoutmasters work with the new Scouts, helping them complete requirements from Scout through First Class. Campouts and First Class Adventure at Many Point are the best way for Scouts to learn the necessary skills and advance. At campouts, the leaders in attendance can work with the Scouts one-on-one, and the Senior Patrol Leader organizes advancement activities such identifying 10 signs of nature on a hike.
Are youth able to balance Scouts with other activities such as sports, band, church, etc.?
Many youth participate in sports, band, church activities, and other extracurricular activities, and we recognize that. We believe in letting Scouts advance at their own pace, and understanding they will attend meetings, campouts, and other events when they are able. Many Scouts are busy with an activity for a particular season and are unable to make many Scouting events, but when the activity is over and they are able to resume Scouting, they are welcomed back.
What is the troop’s philosophy on uniforms?
The official tan Scout shirt and troop neckerchief with slide are all that Troop 141 expects. We have no requirements for the full BSA uniform including pants, belt, and socks. The troop provides the green shoulder loops (epaulets), neckerchief, neckerchief slide, unit number patch, and handbook upon receipt of the youth application and initial dues.
What is the troop’s philosophy on the pace of advancement?
Each Scout is encouraged to advance through Scouting ranks. However, how far and how quickly a Scout advances is up to the individual. Some Scouts love to camp with advancement as a secondary pursuit, and that is fine. Some Scouts earn First Class in six months, and some take three years. The Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters and Advancement Committee work with the Scouts to offer inspiration and support. Many Scouts participate in sports, religious programs, and other activities outside of Scouting, and schoolwork is always a greater priority. While we’d love to have Scouts at every meeting, every campout, and work their way to Eagle, we understand there are many demands on Scouts’ and their families’ lives, so we promote participation as time allows.
Costs and Fundraising
What does Scouting cost?
For Scouts crossing over from a Cub Scout pack, dues are $60, paid when joining in February/March. Annual dues are $150 per Scout paid before December 31 each year. Scouts who participate in fundraisers often can pay all of their dues.
The only cost for weekend campouts is for meals. Each Scout brings $15 cash and gives it to the patrol’s Grubmaster, who purchases food.
Many Point Scout Camp currently costs $350 per Scout. This pays for all transportation, awards, troop activities, and leadership costs. Money for extra individual activities, as well as spending money for the Trading Post, is up to the individual Scout.
Depending on the destination and activities involved, we try to keep High Adventure trips in the $325–$450 range. Some extra-special trips, such as Philmont or Sea Base, would cost considerably more.
Do you cover part or all of the costs of youth leadership training (Junior Leader Training, Den Chief Training, National Youth Leadership Training, etc.)?
Troop 141 pays all training costs for youth, including National Youth Leadership Training (Grey Wolf). In addition, if the parent or guardian of a youth would like to take Scout Leader Training, the troop will reimburse for registration and/or participation costs.
What fundraising does the troop do?
We have two fundraisers, popcorn and wreath sales (we are currently working to add an aluminum can drive as well). Troop 141 is different from most troops in that 100% of the profits are earned by the Scout. Each Scout establishes a Scout Account that they can use their earnings to pay for dues, long term or high adventure camps and even camping equipment.
How many registered leaders are there? How many typically attend meetings?
We have approximately 15 registered leaders. Most Assistant Scoutmasters and many Troop Committee members attend every troop meeting.
What is the Scout-to-adult leader ratio at meetings and on outings?
The Troop always fulfills the required two-deep leadership, typically exceeding national BSA policy. We always have at least two adults on every outing, including one registered leader. Often multiple leaders and parents are join the outings. Many campouts have five or more adult leaders and parents.
Campouts, Activities, and Events
Do you have an active outdoor program? How many days each year are spent camping, and where do you camp? What are the plans for summer camp?
Troop 141 camps each month of the school year with an annual troop activity in December and a week-long summer camp at Many Point Scout Camp. Troop 141 camps at most Northern Star Council camps, including Rum River, Stearns, Many Point, Fred C. Anderson, Phillippo, and Kiwanis, along with several state and county parks.
What is a typical troop meeting like? Do you work on merit badges? Do you play a lot of games?
The Patrol Leaders Council (PLC) meets monthly and plans the meetings. Meetings include demonstrations, hands-on learning or campout planning. The troop typically does not work on merit badges as a group. Since we meet in a gym, a game is played at the end of each meeting for fun, fellowship, and exercise.
What kind of programs do you have for older Scouts? Are there any High Adventure activities?
Every other year, the Troop puts together a High Adventure trip in addition to Many Point. These trips give older Scouts an opportunity to improve their leadership skills, broaden their horizons, and challenge themselves. Past trips have included taking Amtrak’s Empire Builder train to Glacier National Park, staying in a hostel, and hiking some of Glacier’s finest day hikes. The troop has sailed two 34’ vessels in the Apostle Islands, where Scouts learned to sail as part of the crew. Other groups have backpacked across Isle Royale National Park and along the Superior Hiking Trail.
How active is your troop at district and council events?
The troop attends some fall and spring camporees, and this is up to the Patrol Leaders Council when they do their annual planning. The troop also sends participants to most council events such as Order of the Arrow conclaves and National Youth Leadership Training (Grey Wolf).
Who plans troop meetings and activities, and how far in advance are events planned?
The Patrol Leaders Council (PLC), with the support of the Scoutmaster, seeks input from the troop members, then plans all meetings and the calendar for the year. Each June, the PLC submits the next year’s calendar (September–August) to the Troop Committee for approval. This calendar is published and mailed to each Scout. In addition, the calendar is maintained on Scoutbook and our troop website. Any changes are updated and e-mail notifications are sent.
Do you have written policies?
The troop has a behavior policy, as well as a Scout Account agreement that explains acceptable use of personal Scouting funds.
What kind of equipment do you have? Is it in good shape?
The troop has 4-person Eureka Timberline and Alps Mountaineering Lynx tents for weekend campouts. We have a trailer to haul equipment, including stoves, dining flies, patrol boxes, and personal Scout gear. The equipment is maintained and replaced as needed A special equipment reserve is maintained in the troop treasury. The troop also owns larger 8-person cabin tents for use at Many Point. Only three or four Scouts use each tent, giving them plenty of space for gear and room to hang out.