Troop Bylaws

       I.            Overview

The Boy Scouts of America sets guidelines and regulations on how each individual unit conducts its activities and business within the troop. The BSA leaves certain items at the troop’s discretion. The purpose of the Troop bylaws is provide guidance to the Senior Patrol Leader, Scout Leadership, and the Scoutmaster on the proper operation of Troop 137 activities and set the expectation of Scouts and parents. In addition to these Bylaws, The Boy Scout Handbook, the Scoutmaster Handbook, and the Guide to Safe Scouting will guide Troop 137.

Any addition to or modification of the Troop bylaws must be presented to the Troop Committee and a majority vote must be achieved for passage.

   II.            Uniforms

1)       The “Class A” uniform consists of the scout shirt, scout trousers or shorts, scout belt and buckle, and scout socks.

2)       All Scouts are required to wear the official “Class A” uniform at all Troop meetings and activities. The Scoutmaster may designate the wearing of other clothes for Troop activities when it is deemed to be appropriate.

3)       The “Class A” uniform shall be worn when traveling to and from all camping weekends.

4)       The “Class A” uniform shall be worn for all advancement conferences, boards of review, and courts of honor.

5)       The “Class B” uniform is the same as the "Class A" uniform but with the blue Troop 137 t-shirt in place of the "Class A" shirt. The Scoutmaster will indicate when the Class B uniform is approved for regular meetings (usually when the weather gets warm)

6)       Scouts should be prepared to stand a uniform inspection at any Troop meeting or activity without receiving prior notice.

III.            Troop Meetings

1)       Scouts shall not roam off the church property during Troop meetings. Scouts who do will be subject to disciplinary action.

2)       All Scouts are required to bring their Scout Handbook, a pen or pencil to all Troop meetings.

3)       The “Leave no Trace” principle will be followed for all Troop meetings.

 IV.            Scout Conduct & Disciplinary Action

Scouting is a values-based program with its own code of conduct. The Scout Oath and Law help instill the values of good conduct, respect for others, and honesty. Scouts of Troop 137 learn social skills, citizenship skills, leadership skills, and how to get along with others. Our scouts are taught to take the Scout Oath and Law seriously and hold each other accountable to it.

Every member of the troop has the right to his or her dignity and to be respected by other scouts. Each of us needs to be sensitive toward what may be perceived as offensive or unwelcome to others. Everyone in Troop 137 is expected to strive to ensure that our interaction with each other is positive in every respect.

Troop 137 prohibits language or behavior that offends or belittles anyone; Racial slurs, chastisement for religious or other beliefs, or other actions or comments that are derogatory of any people. Each scout has the responsibility to create an environment free of any form of harassment.

While the BSA provides the Scout Oath and Law as the code of conduct for all scouts to follow, they leave it to the discretion of the individual units, with guidance from their local council, to develop a disciplinary action plan for their troop. Troop 137 has developed the below action plan to be followed for any scouts who repeatedly display disruptive or inappropriate behavior.

1)    All scouts are encouraged to report misconduct of fellow scouts and should follow their chain of command: Scout—>Patrol Leader—>Senior Patrol Leader—>Adult Leader. If any scout feels the issue is not being addressed appropriately or the issue is severe/urgent, any scout can go directly to any adult leader at any time.

2)    The youth leadership is encouraged to address and resolve all minor issues/conflicts. Youth leadership can escalate to adult leaders whenever they feel necessary.

3)    The troop adult leadership will address first offenses within the troop but may contact the scout’s parents depending on the severity of the offense. First offenses are usually dealt with by lecture to ensure the scout understands why his behavior is unacceptable and what is expected of them going forward. The Troop adult leadership reserves the right to take appropriate action to address any misconduct. Serious misconduct will result in more serious action.

4)    If the scout continues to display undesirable behavior at future troop activities, meetings, or camping trips, the Scoutmaster will make the scout’s parents/guardian aware of the problem. This may be in the form of an e-mail, phone call, or in-person meeting. The below actions may be discussed with the parent/guardian:

    a) The scout may not be permitted to attend the next camping trip, meeting OR

    b) The Scoutmaster may ask the parent/guardian to attend the next camping trip or meeting with the scout to observe and coach the adult leadership on how to deal with their child in certain situations, and/or take responsibility for the behavior of his/her child.

    c) Assignment of a homework project that will help the scout understand the impact his behavior has on the troop and others.

    d) The scout will be removed from any youth leadership position they hold and must receive permission from the Scoutmaster/Committee prior to running for any youth leadership position.

    e) The Scoutmaster will communicate to the parent/guardian next steps and possible actions if the behavior continues (#5 below)

5)    If the behavior continues for a third instance, the Scoutmaster will make the troop committee aware of the situation and the Scoutmaster & Committee will discuss and agree on next steps which may include:

    a) Suspension for a period of time or from a number of future trips and/or meetings

    b) Requirement of the parent/guardian to accompany the scout on all future troop activities (Trips, Meetings, etc.) until the Scoutmaster deems the  scout fit to attend troop functions without parental/guardian supervision

    c) Removal from the troop. This does not mean the scout is banned from the BSA. The scout may join another troop. The Scoutmaster or Committee Chair will inform the Tohickon District Representative of any decision to remove a scout from the troop

V. Scout Accounts

The troop treasurer maintains a fundraising account for each scout. Funds raised by a Scout through troop fundraisers are added to the Scout’s account which can be used to help pay for scouting activities. A report of all Scouts’ accounts is provided at each committee meeting. Parents may inquirer about the balance of their scout’s account at any time. These requests should be made to the Troop Treasurer.

1)       Scouts can use the funds in their account for just about anything scouting related to include:

-          Camping trips

-          Summer Camp

-          Uniforms & essential camping gear purchased at the scout store or other sporting goods stores

2)       The Scoutmaster must approve the use of the Scout account for any purchases at the Scout store. the following procedure must be followed to be reimbursed for store purchases:

a.       Prior to purchasing any item, the Scout must get approval from the Scoutmaster to use his scout account for the items the Scout would like to purchase.

b.      Parents make a purchase using their own money at the scout store.

c.       To receive reimbursement for the purchase, the receipt must be presented to the Scoutmaster.

d.      The Scoutmaster or Troop Treasurer will reimburse the parents for the amount of the approved items and the Scout’s account will be adjusted.

3)       If a scout's family relocates to another town or state which requires the scout to transfer to another unit, the Scout’s account can be transferred to the new troop. The Scout or parents must provide a contact from the new troop.  Please provide contact info for one of the following at the new troop: Troop Treasurer, Committee Chair, or the Scoutmaster.  A check will be mailed to the new troop in the amount of the scout’s account minus any unpaid dues owed to the troop.

Scouts who transfer to another troop voluntarily for reasons other than a relocation forfeit the full balance of their scout account.

4)       Any funds in a Scout’s account at the time the scout leaves the troop, by either aging out or not renewing their BSA membership, will be transferred to the troop general fund. If the scout has a sibling remaining in the troop, the parents will have the option of transferring the funds to the sibling’s account.

5) If a family falls in arrears to the troop for any reason, the Troop committee has authorization to use the available funds in the scout account(s) to pay the balance of debt owed. The committee may also transfer amounts owed to other scouts' accounts in the event a scout is owed money for patrol food shopping. This often happens when scouts back out of trips at the last minute due to sickness or other reasons. If the scout doing the shopping for his patrol was not notified before completing the food shopping, the total amount should be split evenly between all scouts in the patrol who signed up for the trip and payment for patrol food is due at the next meeting. Parents will be notified when any funds are withdrawn or transferred by the committee to pay outstanding balances.

6) If a scout's account should fall in the negative to the amount of -$20 or more, the Scout may not attend any further trips until the negative balance is paid in full. Parents will be notified when their Scout's account falls in the negative.

    VI.            Scout Participation

Starting with the rank of 2nd Class, a scout is required to participate in a certain number of troop activities (other than troop meetings) in order to advance. Advancement to the ranks of Star and above requires the scout to be active in the troop for a specified period of time. The Scout Handbook specifies how long a Scout must be active in a rank before being eligible to advance to the next rank but leaves it up to the individual units to set their own reasonable expectations for a scout to be considered active in the troop. Troop 137’s requirements are detailed below:

1)       A Scout must be registered in the unit and be in good standing, meaning he hasn’t been dismissed or suspended for disciplinary reasons.

2)       The Scout must have at least a 30% meeting attendance in the past 6 months (4 months for Scouts advancing to the rank of Star Scout)

3)       For scouts wishing to advance to the ranks of Life or Eagle Scout, a 25% minimum attendance in troop activities (other than troop/patrol meetings) over the past year

A Scout who falls short of the above expectations will be given the chance to offer an acceptable explanation. Certainly there are medical, educational, family, and other issues that may prevent higher levels of participation.

 VII.            Personal Gear

1)      Each individual will be responsible for the safety and care of that individual's personal equipment.

2)       The Troop is not responsible for any damage or loss of personal equipment.

3)       The Troop will supply the following equipment for camping trips:

-          Tents

-          Dining rainfly

-          Cooking stoves & propane

-          Cooking utensils, pots, pans…

-          Wood cutting tools

-          Lanterns

4)       Use of any personal camping gear like in the list above must be approved by the Scoutmaster prior to the day of departure for any camping trip or outing. Scouts are discouraged to bring any of this type of camping equipment.

5)       Each Scout is required to provide his own backpack, personal mess gear, canteen/water bottle, bedding, and any other personal camping equipment he requires for camping trips.

6)       Each Scout should possess a Scout knife or its equivalent. A Scout may not use a knife, saw or axe unless he has earned the Totin’ Chip.

7)       Scouts and adult leaders may carry any equipment they deem necessary for their comfort on outdoor activities, as long as it is not excessive, can be suitably packed, and is not otherwise disallowed. Remember that we have limited space for all the gear that needs to be transported to and from camping trips.