Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is BSA Scouting about?

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) program includes youth aged 11 to 18. The program develops leadership and values through outdoor adventure outings and weekly meetings.  The true adventure of scouting is experienced during the monthly outdoor activities and summer camp.  To help kids get more comfortable and develop friendships that support their engagement, summer camp is strongly recommended for new Scouts entering the program.

Where does Troop 51 hold meetings?

There is a weekly troop meeting held at Floris United Methodist Church, which is our chartering organization, 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 outside stairs to reach the 2nd floor entrance.  If you need to use an elevator, use the entrance at the 1st floor 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, duration can vary from meeting to meeting.

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.

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 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 through the Boy Scout program, 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 are encouraged to volunteer as a part of the program or Committee.

How can parents help?

Parents can volunteer to be Merit Badge Counselors, assist as drivers and/or participants for monthly or summer outings, pull the troop trailer as able, and join the Troop Committee, assist with fundraising, Courts of Honor organization, etc.  Everyone is asked to participate in at least one Board of Review, which is the panel interview the Scouts need to advance.  Boy Scouts is a volunteer run activity.  We need everyone’s support to help make great experiences for 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 to guide.

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.  Even more importantly, we want parents to enjoy and share in their kid’s adventures and be a part of the memories they are building.  Parents are encouraged to sit in on announcements made at the beginning of weekly meetings and attend parent meetings as scheduled which can provide 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.  It is the chartering or sponsoring organization for Troop 51 that allows the troop to operate.  Their website is

Is there a Cub Scout Pack or other Scouting organizations affiliated with Troop 51?

Floris United Methodist Church is the chartering (sponsoring) organization for numerous scouting organizations.  Cub Scout Pack 158 meets at Floris Elementary School.   In addition, Troop 51 includes many Scouts from Pack 159 (Fox Mill Elementary), Pack 1160 (Crossfield Elementary School), Pack 1313 (Sunrise Valley Elementary School), several youth from Coates and McNair Elementary Schools, and some other public and private schools.  Floris UMC also charters coed Crew 51 and Scouts BSA Troop 7 for female youth.

Can I visit Troop 51?

Yes!  Anyone can visit Troop 51 with their parents.  All we ask is that you contact the Scoutmaster to confirm 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 their kids will learn and mature with their fellow Scouts, but parent presence and support is encouraged.

How can I volunteer?

Scouting is a volunteer run activity.  We are always looking for parents to get involved in the troop’s program and administration.  Contact the Committee Chair to find out ways you can participate.

Are uniforms required?

BSA policy strongly recommends uniforms as it is part of the program framework.  We request that “Class A” uniforms be worn to every troop meeting.  Troop 51 offers “Class B” t-shirts as well.  Troop 51 is a very sports friendly troop though, and 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.  Scouts travel to and from campouts in Class A’s.  Full Class A uniforms are required at Scoutmaster conferences and Board of Reviews.

How much are dues?

Annual Scouts BSA registration fees are $77 per scout, and children brand new to Scouting are charged a one-time fee of $25. Annual Troop dues are $80 per Scout.  Troop dues cover the cost of all award, rank and special achievement badges as well as other Troop operations.  For Webelos crossing over to Troop 51 from a Cub Scout Pack, BSA fees are not normally required, but there is a joining fee of $90.  It includes a Boy Scout Handbook, Troop 51 neckerchief & slide, uniform patches, and a Troop 51 Activity T-shirt.  The cost of monthly 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 roughly $450.

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

Scouts have to pay for food on campouts, special activity fees, (such as special admission costs, some equipment rental, etc.), and personal equipment as needed.

How can Scouts offset the cost of camping and Scouting?

Troop 51 runs a very large annual fundraiser where each Scout has the opportunity to participate by distributing flyers that market the fundraiser and then helping to deliver product about a month later.  A portion of the net proceeds get set aside to fund Scout accounts based on an individual’s participation.  Scouts can use the money in Scout accounts to offset the cost of all camping activities, camping related equipment, high adventure camping, dues, and other ancillary fees.  We encourage all Scouts, alumni, and their families to participate in this memorable activity.

What do I need to buy for my Scout?

We provide new scouts with the Scout Handbook, neckerchief, and other basics paid for by the joining fees.  Scouts will need to get their uniform which can be purchased at the Scout stores in Betheseda (301-564-1091) or Springfield (703-321-4836).  Folks at the Scout Store can answer questions regarding uniforms.  Boy Scouts wear a uniform to meetings, outings, and events.  A full uniform is not initially required so begin with a BSA shirt and build from there.  To help families, the troop sometimes has inventory of previously worn uniform items that can be issued (and returned when they no longer fit).  Please check this prior to purchasing uniforms. You may also shop online at

The Boy Scout philosophy is to do as much with as little as possible, so little camping equipment is needed to join.  As the scout advances, he will want 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 has 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.

Who do I contact with questions?

Scoutmaster:  Mr. Ron Johnson,

Committee Chair:  Mr. Peter Young,

National Capital Area Council:  301-530-9360;

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.