Initially, you need to make a time investment of about 30 minutes. The best way to encourage your son in Scouting is to take an interest in it. Sit down with your son and look through his new Boy Scout Handbook. Read the requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class. Don't worry about doing any of the requirements. Just familiarize yourself with what they are. You are not expected to teach any of this to your son, other boys will do that.
When he comes home from his first Boy Scout meeting ask him which patrol he is in and who his Patrol Leader is. Ask him if he knows when the next campout will be. Then ask, if there is anything he needs before then.
After he has attended several meetings and especially after his first campout ask him how things are going. Ask what has been signed off in his book. Encourage him to fill in the chart for five troop events in the Second Class section. Keep in mind that regular troop meetings don't count but everything else like campouts, hikes, fundraising and community service does.
If he asks you to help him with something feel free to help him work through it. You should never do anything for your son he can do himself. There is a lot of things a Boy Scout can do even at 11 years old that parents don't expect; like pack his own gear for campouts. You should not pack his gear, though you may want to read the list off as your son gets the items and he packs them the first couple of times. That way you are involved but he is doing the work. You know what he is packing but you are not doing it for him. In the process, teach him how to check each item off as it is packed. When he starts doing the checking off himself after a couple of campouts and you may notice he forgot to pack a coat or bug spray don't tell him to pack it. Ask him a question like "Wow! The weather forecast looks like it's going to be really chilly. Which coat did you pack?" or "Do you think there will be a lot of mosquitoes?" One of our goals is to stimulate the boys to think and do for themselves.
Don't worry too much about forgotten items we are really good about encouraging sharing amongst fellow scouts. Personal hygiene equipment excluded of course. The troop brings plenty of extra sleeping bags on the cold campouts.
Most of the advancement opportunities happen at the monthly campouts and summer camp. The reason is that most camp outs are 36 hour events, Friday night to Sunday morning. The troop meetings are only 1 hour long and we have between 35 and 40. If your Scout misses a campout, he is not doomed forever. He will miss opportunities to complete advancement requirements. These opportunities will come around again. Regular attendance at the campouts is important to each Scout's advancement especially during the first year. The Scouts plan the outing dates around as many school and sports events as possible.
Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks
These ranks must be earned in order. The requirements for these ranks don't have to done in any particular order. It is not uncommon for a Scout to finish the last requirement for Tenderfoot and already have all the requirements done for Second Class. It should be noted that if a Scout finishes the requirements for Second Class before finishing Tenderfoot the Scout must wait until he is done with Tenderfoot to receive his Second Class rank. The same thing applies for the First Class rank.
Looking at the all the requirements from a distance they break down into the following areas:
Cooking and Fires
Knots and Lashings
A Troop Guide, an older Scout who is designated to work with a new Scout patrol, will work with the new Scouts through most of these activities. You should be aware of what they are doing and which requirements they have done. Beyond that the troop helps the new-Scouts through what needs to happen.
The requirements for these ranks can be signed off by Scouts who have earned the rank of First Class or by Scouters. It is best if family members don't sign off requirements even if they are "allowed" to. It is common knowledge that you don't really know a subject until you teach it to someone else. That is why the older Scouts teach the topics to the new Scouts.
Troop meetings, campouts and other activities
Our troop meets at Saint Pauls Lutherian Church on Tuesdays evenings from 7:00 to 8:00. The meetings start at 7:00 so please try to arrive 5 to 10 minutes early.
We camp once a month except in December. For most campouts, we leave on Friday night but sometimes we leave on Saturday morning. We attend a weeklong summer camp at Camp Manatoc in Peninsula Ohio in June. Summer camp always starts on Father's Day.
Throughout the year we have activities which include things like merit badge classes outside of our Tuesday night meetings and campouts. We also do community service such as parking cars for the open house at the Elementary School and busing tables at the Sharon Community Trust dinner.
More information about working with your scout
Once your Scout has earned the rank of First Class rank take a look at scouting after earning the rank of First Class. Here are a few helpful hints in for parents: Six easy steps to help your son succeed in scouting.
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