Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who do I contact with questions?

Scoutmaster:  Mr. Stephen Nicoud, troop51bsa.scoutmaster@gmail.com

Committee Chair:  Mrs. Alesia Suh, troop51.chair@gmail.com

National Capital Area Council:  301-530-9360; www.ncacbsa.org

Scout Stores (Bethesda):  301-564-1091; (Springfield): 703-321-4836

How can I learn more about Troop 51?

Please use these links to review Troop 51’s Scout Handbook and Parent Handbook.  They contain general BSA information and guidance as well as Troop 51 specific information.

Where do the scouts hold meetings?

There is a weekly troop meeting held at the chartering organization which is Floris United Methodist Church located at 13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon, VA 20171.  The troop meeting starts promptly at 7:15 pm on Wednesdays, but Scouts are asked to arrive by 7:00 pm so that the room can be setup and everyone is ready for the start of the meeting.  Please park in the lower parking lot and use the stairs to reach the 2nd floor entrance.  If you need to use an elevator, use the 1st floor entrance for access to one.  The troop meets in the Wesley rooms (223/224).

How long do the meetings last?

Troop meetings generally last an hour and fifteen minutes from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m.  Based on the content covered during the meeting, durations may vary from meeting to meeting.

How does the troop decide where to go on camping trips, and how does the troop decide on the subjects for the weekly meetings?

The Scouts through the Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC) plan the program of trips and meetings.

What is the PLC?

The PLC (Patrol Leaders’ Council) consists of the Senior Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leaders, Assistant Patrol Leaders, Troop Guides, and SPL-designated troop positions.  The PLC meets monthly (generally the fourth or last Wednesday of the month).

What does “Scout-led” mean?

Scouting is based on the idea that the Scouts plan the events and follow through on their execution and follow-up.  This teaches organizational and communication skills.

What is a patrol and how does it work?

A patrol is a group of scouts, generally 8 to 12 scouts, which work together as a unit.  You can think of this unit sort of like a cub scout den.  These scouts work together during scout meetings and during campouts to plan meals, cook, and participate in general troop activities.

Why does Troop 51 have “mixed age” patrols?

We believe the best way for a new scout to learn skills is by working with older, more seasoned scouts.  By having mixed age patrols, we guarantee that each patrol will have senior scouts to help mentor our younger scouts along the advancement path

What are merit badges?

There are over 100 different merit badges covering topics in Science, Sports, and Life Skills. A merit badge is earned after all the requirements for the badge have been completed. Besides the 13 Eagle-required merit badges, Scouts will have the option to choose which merit badges to take for rank advancement.

How can Scouts earn merit badges to become Eagle Scouts when there are so many other activities going on?

Scouts have the opportunity at summer camp to earn a number of badges as well as at Merit Badge College which is offered by the local Scout council.  In addition, the troop has occasionally offered the opportunity at meetings to work on badges as a troop.  Lastly, the troop maintains a list of merit badge counselors who could help Scouts with badges when called by individual Scouts.

How are Scouts and parents kept informed?

Troop 51 relies heavily on email communication.  We have a troop sponsored email group through Google that serves as our primary mode of communication.  In addition to email, Troop 51 maintains a web site and sends a monthly newsletter.  Just as importantly to teach good communication skills for the Scouts, the Patrol Leaders call the Scouts in their patrol to keep the Scouts informed about PLC and troop activities.  Individual Scouts can offer suggestions to their patrol leaders of ideas to bring up at PLC meetings.

Can individual Scouts offer ideas about the troop?

Definitely!  Scouts should pass ideas along to their Patrol Leaders to bring up at PLC meetings, or during discussions at regular troop meetings.  Also, at Boards of Review for rank advancements, Scouts are asked their opinions of what they like about the troop and what they would like to change.

How are the Scouts and the troop guided?

The Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster(s) guide the PLC, who, in turn guide the rest of the troop.  Also, the troop is guided by a board of directors known as the Troop Committee which meets monthly on the 1st Wednesday of the month.  Parents may volunteer for the Committee.

How can parents help the troop?

Parents can volunteer to be Merit Badge Counselors, prepare newsletter and web site articles, assist as drivers for monthly trips, and join the Troop Committee, assist with fundraising, Courts of Honor organization, Boards of Review, etc.  By everyone volunteering a little, it makes it easier on everyone, and really benefits the Scouts.

How is the Troop organized?

Troop 51 is a Scout-led troop that operates within broad general parameters under guidance from the Boy Scouts of America and the adult leaders.  The Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC) determines the monthly activities and sets the weekly meeting activities.  Adult leaders provide assistance if required.

How much parental participation is required?

Parents are strongly encouraged to participate in some monthly activities, fundraisers, etc.  It’s the belief that if all parents share in the participation that it will make it easier for all, and allow them to enjoy their in the son’s adventures.  Parents are encouraged to attend a bi-annual parents meeting that provides information on Troop activities, guidelines, and allows the parents to ask questions

Who is Troop 51’s chartering organization?

Floris United Methodist Church located at 13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon, VA 20171, is the chartering (sponsoring) organization for Troop 51. This is the “home base” for the scout troop activities. Their website is www.florisumc.org.

Is there a Cub Scout Pack affiliated with Troop 51?

While there is not just one Cub Scout Pack that is affiliated with Troop 51, Floris United Methodist Church is the chartering (sponsoring) organization for three Cub Scout Packs.  Pack 158 meets at Floris Elementary School.  Pack 159 meets at Fox Mill Elementary School.  Pack 160 meets at Oak Hill Elementary School.  In addition Troop 51 includes many Scouts from Pack 1160 (Crossfield Elementary School) and Pack 1313 (Sunrise Valley Elementary School).  Troop 51 also includes several youth from Coates and McNair Elementary Schools and some other public and private schools.

Can I visit Troop 51?

Yes!  Any Cub Scout, Boy Scout or parent can visit Troop 51.  All we ask is that you contact the Scoutmaster to learn the troop schedule as the troop sometimes meets at alternative locations.

Can parents attend monthly activities and Summer camp?

Parents are encouraged to attend all activities.  In fact, two deep adult leadership is critical to the safety of the Scouts on all trips and outings.  Parents are reminded that the growth of their son is by learning with his fellow Scouts.

How can I volunteer?

We are always looking for parents to get involved in the troop’s administration.  Contact the Committee Chair to find out ways you can participate.

Are uniforms required?

BSA policy strongly recommends uniforms, and Troop 51 follows that direction.  Full “Class A” uniforms are required and Scoutmaster conferences and Boards of Review.  We request that Class A’s be worn to every troop meeting as well.  Troop 51 is a very sports friendly troop, so we would rather have you there than your uniform, so if athletics or other commitments do not allow you to change prior to the meeting, please come as you are and join the meeting

How much are dues:

Annual fees are $39 per Scout and covers the annual cost of registration and a subscription to Boys’ Life magazine.  Quarterly dues are $15 per Scout and are paid at the beginning of each quarter.  Quarterly dues covers the cost of all award, rank and special achievement badges.  A joining fee of $90 is charged for Webelos Scouts that crossover to Troop 51 from a Cub Scout Pack.  It includes a Boy Scout Handbook, Troop 51 neckerchief & slide, uniform patches, and a Troop 51 Activity T-shirt.  The cost of outings varies depending on the particular destination, distance from home and other factors.  The cost of weekend campouts is on average, $30 and summer camp (7 days; 6 nights) is, as of 2018, $414.

What does the Scout have to pay for that is not covered by dues?

Scouts have to pay for food on campouts, and special activity fees, (such as special admission costs, some equipment rental, etc.).  Troop 51 participates in one large fundraiser per year where each scout has the opportunity to earn credit for his scout account.  This credit can be used to offset the cost of dues or other ancillary fees.

How can Scouts earn credit for summer camp and monthly camping trips?

The troop offers the opportunity for Scouts to participate in a fundraising project where a portion of the proceeds are credited to Scout accounts for the Scouts to use for summer camp and monthly trips.  Some Scouts have earned all summer camp costs this way.

What do I need to buy for my son?

Very little is needed to join a scout troop.  The philosophy is to do as much with as little as possible.  A new scout will start with the scout handbook which is provided by the troop.  The Scout Store phone number is 301-564-1091 (Bethesda) or 703-321-4836 (Springfield). The Scout Store can answer any questions regarding uniforms.  Boy Scouts wear a uniform to meetings, outings, and events.  A full uniform is not initially required but begin with a Boy Scout shirt and build from there is a good idea.  To help with this, the troop has an inventory of previously worn uniform items that can be issued (and returned when they no longer fit).  Please check this prior to purchasing any uniforms.

As the scout advances, he will need things like backpacks, tents, hiking poles, etc.  These make great birthday/holiday gifts, so we recommend that you start slow and build your inventory as your scout progresses

How often does the troop go on camping trips?

Troop 51 goes on monthly activities that include camping, hiking, biking, rafting, plus much, much, more!  Troop 51 is an active participant in numerous Council and District events.

Where does Troop 51 go to summer camp?

Troop 51 rotates summer camp attendance but generally tries to stay in the VA/MD/DE/PA corridor.  Our primary focus around selecting a summer camp is to ensure that there are a wide variety of merit badges offered and that the camp have a strong, first year scout program.

What is Boy Scouting about?

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) program includes boys of ages 11 to 18.  The program develops leadership and values through outdoor adventure and weekly meetings.  The true adventure of scouting is experienced during the outdoor activities (monthly campouts and summer camp).

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