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FAQ

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions by parents along with answers.  Don't hesitate to ask questions!
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Should parents accompany first year scouts on camping trips? We recommend that Scouts go on the first 1-2 camping trips without their parents in order to better prepare them for summer camp. This gives the best chance for learning to be independent and building self confidence while minimizing the chance of homesickness. Of course, parents are welcome to attend any camping trip. 
Do all first year Scouts attend summer camp? Not all Scouts attend summer camp but we have found that Scouts who attend summer camp get hooked and are more likely to stay in Scouting than those who do not. Scouts will be offered opportunities to catch up on advancement in the fall. 
Should parents stay at the Troop Meetings? Parents are welcome to watch at the meetings but are asked to stand quietly in the back and let the Scouts and Uniformed Leaders work with the boys. 
Should we get a spiral bound or book bound Boy Scout Handbook? Tough question... Book bound. The pages lay flat with the spiral bound handbook but they tend to rip out too easily. 
What constitutes a Class A uniform? Is the hat optional? Scout shirt (with all the proper patches), scout pants or shorts, scout belt, and scout socks. A scout hat is recommended for all first year scouts but not required. 
How are patrols formed? First year patrols are based on friends, schools, and previous Cub Scout pack associations. After the first year program scouts will stay together through August and then integrate into main troop patrols. Scouts will stay with buddies and join with scouts of other ages, ranks, and schools. This allows them to meet other scouts and learn from older, more experienced scouts. 
How many merit badges does a Scout need before getting a sash? There is no minimum. We recommend getting one after summer camp where Scouts typically earn 1-2 merit badges. Get a sash that they can grow into so you don't have to re-sew on all those patches when they get older. 
Can first year scouts participate in main troop activities? Depends on the activity. First year scouts have a lot to learn on the Trail to First Class so their priority is on the training and testing needed for the first three "learning ranks". There are, however, some combined activities during meetings. Activites that are day-trips or campouts are almost always open to first year scouts. If there are age, size, or training restrictions they will be specifically mentioned. 
If a parent sees un-scout-like behavior, what should be done? If safety is involved the parent should step in immediately. If the issue is not safety-related they should mention it to one of the uniformed leaders. 
Where is the closest scout store? 1305 Middlefield Road Palo Alto, CA 94301, 970 West Julian Street San Jose, CA 95126, 1150 Chess Drive Foster City, CA 94404 
How old does a scout need to be to go to a National Jamboree? A scout must be at least 12 years of age by the first day of the jamboree or an 11 year old that has graduated the 6th grade, but has not reached their 18th birthday by the last day of the jamboree. A scout must be at least First Class. 
Are there merit badge courses that first years can take part in? How does one go about finding out about them? Absolutely. Our troop has an annual merit badge "rally" that is open to all scouts. Scouts can choose one badge from a wide range of merit badges offered over a three week period. Our council offers an annual merit badge midway in February where there is an even broader set of choices. The council also offers a "STEM" midway for science, technology, engineering, and math in the fall. Periodically there will be special merit badge classes offered such as aviation, water sports, etc. All of these are announced by email. 
If my son wants to work on a merit badge, how does he go about finding a counselor, buddy, and get a blue card? We are fortunate to have counselors for almost all of the merit badges in our district. He should contact our Merit Badge Coordinator and get the names of several counselors to contact. He can get a blue card from any one of the Scoutmasters. 
How old does a scout need to be to go on a "high adventure" trip like Philmont? Philmont/SeaBase: A scout must be 14 years of age OR 13 years of age AND have completed 8th grade. Northern Tier: A scout must have attained the age of 13 by the end of the year that they attend. 
How many troop activities and camping overnights does my scout need to participate in during his first year as a Scout? The more active your son is the more opportunities he will have to advance and have fun. To reach Second Class he will need to participate in a total of 5 separate activities (not troop meetings), two of which have to be overnight campouts. To reach First Class he will have to participate in a total of 10 separate activities, three of which must be overnight campouts. NOTE: Summer camp counts as ONE activity. A weekend campout counts as ONE activity. 
Are electronics allowed on activities? No. Scouting is three-fourths "outing" and we want the boys to enjoy nature. Please leave all smart phones, tablets, and game players at home. The one exception is on driving trips longer than 2-hours each way. Electronics may be used during the long drive but only in the car. They must be powered off for the activity or they will be confiscated and returned when we return. 
When should my son wear Class A vs. Class B vs. street clothes? Class A uniform should be worn at all Troop meetings, Courts of Honor, and travel to/from activities. Class A uniform is required at all Summer Camp assemblies and then Class B during daytime activities. Class B (scout shorts/pants and a scout-related shirt) is preferred for most activities but not required. 
What is a Class B uniform? A scout-related shirt and/or jacket such the the Troop 33 anniversary gear. Scout shorts/pants are optional but recommended. 
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