Supporting Youth through

Scouting for 109 years 

Boy Scout Troop 31​ 
Rochester, New York

Parent Quick Start-up Guide for Boy Scout Troop 31

Most of the information on this page is available on other pages on the website. It is condensed here, in the hopes that we can answer your questions quickly. If you want more information on a topic, please look through the website.

Parent Participation
A fundamental principle of Scouting is that troops be “Boy Led”. However, this does not mean that parents cannot have fun too. There are many different roles to fill and ways to contribute. If you get involved you will quickly learn that adults in scouting share in the fellowship, participate in activities, have access to some of the best leadership training available anywhere and develop many wonderful new friends. We need your help: supporting an activity, teaching a skill and helping with advancement. Your involvement can be as expansive or as limited as your schedule allows - but we encourage you to get involved. Please take the time to speak with one of our leaders to learn more.

The “Boy Led” Troop
In Boy Scouts, leaders and parents provide support. The Scouts plan the meetings and events. We help with guidance, resources and support. It is very tempting to jump in when your son or another boy is struggling. Our leaders are trained in coaching and in providing enough support so the struggle turns into a learning experience. Our objective is to teach them teamwork and leadership. The Senior Patrol Leader, his assistants and the individual Patrol Leaders lead the troop. The troop operates “The Patrol Method” using the patrol of 3-8 boys as the core operational element. If your son has questions, they are first directed to the Patrol Leader and then the Senior Patrol Leader. If you are patient and just sit back and watch you will see an amazing transformation.

Youth Protection and Safety
The Boy Scouts of America has developed a series of programs and guidelines to help make Scouting as safe an experience as is possible. Each year the adults in the troop and the scouts will be trained in the principles of Youth Protection, to prevent abuse. It outlines guidelines for “Two-deep Leadership”, respect of privacy, and no one-on-one contact, among others. All parents are welcome to participate in the training and if you are involved in Troop activities you will be requested to participate. You will actually find it very helpful for other youth activities with which you are involved. BSA Guide to Safe Scouting, a 60-page guide to safe conduct of a wide variety of scouting activities is now available online
The Scout Handbook
The Scout Handbook is a wonderful source of information for your scout and you. All the rank requirements are described as well as most of the information to achieve those ranks. It also includes information to prepare your scout to participate in hikes and camping trips. Encourage your son to read it. When he has questions about scouting, refer him to the book to see if it provides an answer. It is an exceptional resource and one he should get used to using. It is also a helpful resource for you. By reviewing pertinent sections, you can guide your son when questions arise.

Advancement is essential for giving a scout a sense of accomplishment and feeling like an integrated part of the troop. Unlike Cub Scouts, parents do not sign off on requirements. Scouts take responsibility for working on requirements, seeking out someone at the scout meeting to provide guidance and approve their work when it is completed. Simply participating in meetings, hikes, camping trips and summer camp will ensure that a scout has the opportunity to achieve the first 4 of the 7 ranks of scouting (Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class) as the program plans incorporate specific rank requirements. Parents should become familiar with the requirements and provide support and encouragement for the scout. If you need guidance in how you can help your son, please do not hesitate to contact one of the troop leaders.

Uniforms and Equipment
Scouts will need a “Class A” and “Class B” uniform. Class A is a complete uniform including scout shirt with appropriate badges and insignia (see the Handbook), neckerchief and slide, web belt, pants/shorts and socks. We will supply each scout with a Troop tee shirt, which replaces the scout shirt and neckerchief in the Class B uniform. Scout supplies can be purchased at the Scout Store. The most convenient location for most families is the BSA store at 474 East Avenue or on-line at or by phone at 1-800-323-0732. Your son will need some equipment for hiking and camping: particularly a good, rugged pair of hiking boots, rain gear and a sleeping bag. We will discuss what equipment is necessary during meetings prior to each outing. You need not purchase official Boy Scout equipment. See the section of this website on Equipment for more information on what your scout will need. Renting backpacks, tents, or sleeping bags at camping supply stores such as REI or EMS is also an option.

There are many things to be done and many ways to participate. We expect every family to help out in the troop. It is because of the many volunteers the troop has that we offer so many opportunities for the Scouts. Included in this document is a brief survey of your skills and interests. A few of the ways you can help are listed below:
· Driving for activities and events
· Helping out with food or setup at a Court of Awards
· Running a Merit Badge Class
Please contact our Administration Chair if you would like to volunteer. Please pitch in!

All drivers must be registered with the troop and Boy Scout policy recommends liability limits of at least $50,000/$100,000/$50,000. As scouts register, we will ask for your pertinent information so we will have it on file.
As a boy-led troop, relying on the patrol method, direct communication about events, activities, etc. will be passed on directly to your son. Through e-mail, newsletters, Courts of Awards and our web site, we will do our best to keep everyone informed. E-mail is the most effective and fastest form of communication for most people. Please keep us up to date on your e-mail address. We use the domain name which will allow for broad distribution of information.

Medications on camping trips are dispensed at the appropriate time by the Scoutmaster or his designee. Scouts and parents should provide meds in an original prescription labeled bottle with the scout’s name and directions for administration to the Scoutmaster prior to departing for the trip. Please provide only the amount of medication required for the duration of the trip. At summer camp, medications are controlled and dispensed by the camp nurse. At no time may scouts retain and dispense their own medication, except for inhalers and epipens.

Knives and Matches
Knives and matches are very useful and often essential tools for Scouts participating on camping trips. Carrying a knife or matches is a privilege and scouts must have earned their Totin’ Chip Card (Knives, Axes and Saws) and Firem’n Chit Card (Matches and Fires) in order to take advantage of this privilege. For a minor violation of usage guidelines, a corner is clipped from a Scout’s card. If all four corners are clipped, the card and privilege is revoked and the scout must meet with the Scoutmaster to earn their card privilege once again. Knives and matches may be removed by an adult leader at any time. Major infractions will result in immediate revocation of the privilege and may also lead to disciplinary action under the Scout Law Policy.

For all scouting and camping purposes, one folding pocket knife is adequate as are standard book-type or wooden matches (in a water-proof container). Boy Scouts of America bans all sheath knives greater than 4” in blade length. Troop 31 believes there is no need for a sheath knife of any length. Likewise, butane lighters are not necessary and highly discouraged. Troop leaders or the Quartermaster generally supply trigger-style butane lighters for safe lighting of stoves on camping trips. Cigarette lighters are not appropriate.

Financial Aid
Our Troop Committee feels strongly that financial constraints should not prevent a boy from owning a uniform, from having the opportunity to participate in all scouting events or accessing the necessary equipment. Several events during the year, particularly summer camp, require a financial commitment. Troop 31 is prepared to find ways to assist any scout with a financial need. If you have such a need or are aware of others who do, please refer to the section of this guide describing our Campership Program or contact our Scoutmaster, for a confidential discussion.

If you wish to make a donation to help us purchase equipment, please make the check payable to: Boy Scout Troop 31 and pass it to the Scoutmaster or one of the Committee Members. Your donation is tax deductible. A receipt suitable for filing with the IRS will be returned to you. We appreciate your support.

Christmas Tree Fundraiser
In order for the Troop to purchase, replace and repair tents, stoves and other camping equipment, to subsidize the cost of many events and to provide funds for our Campership Program, the Troop must generate funds beyond those provided by dues. We hold one fundraiser each year. We expect that all scouts will participate in this fundraiser and do their best to support the Troop. We recognize that not all of our scouts celebrate Christmas, but have found that selling Christmas Trees is an effective way to raise funds. If you have any questions regarding the tree sale, please contact the Administration Dept. at ​