Quick Start Guide to Troop 266

Quick Start Guide to Troop 266

    Let me start by welcoming you to Troop 266 at West University United Methodist Church.  The purpose of this document is to help you and your son get assimilated into the troop life as quickly as possible.

      You are joining a troop with a proud history that goes back over 75 years.  Over that 75+ year period the troop has witnessed 248 Eagles take flight with the eagle badge proudly worn on their uniform.  Troop 266 has a very active outdoor program that your son will become a part of.  Your son may be setting up a tent for the first time in a few weeks, but it will not be long before you are hearing your son tell stories about camping in the Pacific Northwest, canoeing in northern Minnesota or even SCUBA diving in the Florida Keys creating life-long memories along the way.

This document has three sections that are important in the onboarding process – A) Forms for registration, B) Mustang program for new scouts, C) Role of adults in the troop, D) What to expect in the outdoor program, E) What do I have to purchase to get on board?

A) Forms: A new scout application, 2.  An adult application.  Please fill out the scout application and the adult application (if you plan on serving as a volunteer at this time) as soon as possible (along with payment to the troop) and give to John Cheek, the Troop Committee Chair.  Troop Fees are $150 per scout and $25 per registered adult.  Payment can be made via Check made out to Troop 266 or via online payment on the troop website (Troop266.com).  Adults who intend on registering will need to complete their Youth Protection Training to complete the registration process.  Youth Protection training can be accessed via the Troop website or by going to the my.scouting.org website.  Scouts and Registered Adults will need to fill out BSA medical forms Part A & B, these can be easily filled out by parents.  Once these forms are filled out, please get a scanned copy to David Ridgeway our troop Health and Safety coordinator.  For Scouts and registered adults attending summer camps, Form C is also required.  Form C is filled out by a physician after an annual physical.


B) Mustangs:  Boy Scout troops are organized by patrols and Troop 266 has between 5-6 patrols at any given time.   Our new scouts are brought into their own patrol called the Mustang Patrol.  The Mustang Patrol provides a way for the group of new scouts to get started in the scouting experience at a quick pace and see recognition of effort as they complete rank requirements for their first few ranks along their scouting journey.  The first rank is Scout, then Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, then Eagle.  Active scouts typically achieve First Class within 18 months of joining Troop 266.  We typically have new scouts stay in the Mustang patrol for 8-9 months then they will be placed in the other established patrols.  These patrols camp and cook together on campouts, have separate patrol meetings, and may have separate social events. 


C) Role of adults in the troop: Scouting is all about kids, but all scout troops require dedicated adults to run the troop.  Our expectation is that parents be open to volunteering with the troop in some capacity during your son’s tenue with the troop.  Some parents will be more involved than others depending on their own interest level.  We pride ourselves in being a “Scout Led Troop,” but any successful troop requires dedicated adults to make it all come together.  Adult roles are divided into two branches, Troop Committee and Scoutmaster / Assistant Scoutmasters.  The Scoutmaster / Assistant Scoutmasters work directly with the scouts and the Troop Committee provides the infrastructure around the troop to make it all come together.  Troop Committee positions include a Committee Chair, an Outdoor Coordinator, A Troop Treasurer, A Troop Webmaster, A Hospitality Chair, A Troop Secretary, among others as needed.  For those parents who intend to join the troop on campouts you will need to attend a three part training program to be considered “Trained.”  This training has three parts – Youth Protection Training already referenced, IOLS, and Assistant Scoutmaster (ASM) Training.  Please visit with John Cheek or Orval Marlow when you are ready to get going on IOLS and ASM training.


D) Outdoor program:  Troop 266 camps one weekend every month during the school year and has a week-long summer camp each summer.  The older scouts may participate in a high-adventure camp in the summer as well (Phillmont, Tetons, Florida Sea Base, etc.). Typical monthly campouts will be to state parks between 1-4 hour’s drive from Houston.  The troop typically departs around 5:30pm on Friday and returns between 1:00 and 3:00pm on Sunday afternoon.  Weekend camp fees cover the cost of the event and run $25-$90 depending on the activity – Water-skiing on Lake McQueeny is always the most expensive campout. 

  Summer camp is a great opportunity for your son to get really plugged into the troop and get Tenderfoot and Second Class rank requirements done.  The troop in the past has attended summer camp all over the US – North Carolina, Upstate New York, Washington State, Colorado and Texas.  Typically the troop camps in July and 2019 looks like it will be a Texas year so a bit closer to home.


E) What do I need to Purchase for my son to be able to participate:  If you do not come from an active outdoor family, a trip to a store like REI might be overwhelming!  Don’t worry, getting started does not require a full set of expedition gear…  To start with your son will need a uniform and the BSA scout shop can direct you on what all is needed, the BSA hand book also provides a uniform guide.  As far as minimum camping equipment goes a few basic things are needed:


1)     Small Flashlight (head lamps are handy)

2)     Sleeping Bag

3)     Lightweight Sleeping pad

4)     Camping Mess kit – plate, bowl, cup, knife, fork, spoon, water bottle

5)     Small personal first aid kit (troop will have at least one well stocked first aid kit at each camp site)

6)     Outdoor clothing depending on weather – rain coat, warm clothes etc.

7)     A duffel bag to carry camping gear.  Many scouts have backpacks, but are only really needed for the one or two trips a year where the troop camps away from the troop trailer.

8)     A tent is not required as the troop provides scouts tents and we require that all scouts use the troop tents until they reach the rank of Star and then they may use their own tent.

The troop will provide a BSA hand book and neckerchief.  

Be an active participant - those that put much into scouting will get much out of it!