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About Troop 236

We are Troop 236, based in Danville, California in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. We offer an excellent, "boy led" program with trained adult leadership and guidance. Our goal is to deliver the hands-on experience of leadership training through a world-class venue that combines high adventure opportunities (such as 50 Milers, Sea Base sailing expeditions, Philmont treks, and Northern Tier High Adventure Base canoe trips) with a deep respect for community, country, and the environment. We all share great pride in our strong 65 year history of teaching leadership skills to boys. Our 170+ Eagle Scout alumni share this pride with us!

If you are interested in exposing your son to one of the finest leadership programs for youth in America please read on:

Diversity

Our Troop welcomes people of all faiths, nationalities, and cultures. In fact, we would like to reflect the world community of which we are a part. Since Scouting is about developing strength of character as well as learning how to work with others, our diversity offers members the opportunity to become comfortable with and appreciate people who may in some way be different.

Skills

Boy Scouts is a game, the object of which is to have hands-on learning experiences that will offer a lifetime of benefit. The boys look at it as a way to do a lot of "neat stuff" like camping. When the Scouts plan the year they treat themselves like tourists and arrange outings for maximum entertainment.

The monthly outings include:

Weekend canoe trips, water skiing, snow camping, rock climbing, and submarine sleep-overs. These are for everyone.

The older Scouts (14 and older) do High Adventure trips such as Sea Base Sailing Expeditions, Philmont 50-Mile Hikes, Boundary Waters Canoe Trips and the like.

All activities teach an appreciation for our environment, and create some great memories! But it is NOT just another way to keep kids busy... Scouting is about learning leadership.

Each Scout will  learn how to:

  • Lead himself (become independent)
  • Cooperate with others and contribute to the team (become interdependent)
  • Use vision and initiative to set worthwhile goals (vision-casting, goal setting)
  • Learn to lead others (positive, servant leadership)
There is a list of eleven leadership skills of which each Eagle Candidate must demonstrate a command. At our meetings and outings we teach and apply these skills. When we talk about leadership we focus on getting the right results in the right way. This is where the game of Scouting becomes a challenge and a learning experience. The bottom line is that leadership involves some work. One of our Scouts' first learning experiences is that leadership is not about being the boss and not about issuing commands. The Scouts who are in leadership positions realize that they cannot depend upon authority - the parent model - but have instead to elicit the voluntary cooperation of their peers. As the Scouts progress, they become skilled at getting the results, both through their own efforts and through the cooperation of others. Do you know why Eagle Scouts have such a reputation for having their act together? It is because after four or five years of Scouting they do! They are recognized for their ability to get things done in a very positive manner, using the Scout Oath and Scout Law to become strong positive servant leaders!

Parents

The job of the parents is to create the opportunity, the environment, and to guide the kids through the learning process. Sometimes the most difficult job of new parents is to keep their own teeth together and keep their hands in their pockets rather than trying to prevent natural consequences and the learning that comes along with them. That's right, allowing mistakes to be made and using them as a learning opportunity, not a criticism opportunity, is how our boys will learn best. You leave your parent role behind when you join a Scout meeting or outing and you either become an "Adult Leader" or a silent observer. If we Adult Outing Leaders rescue a patrol that showed up to a campout unprepared to cook we are simply reinforcing the idea that Scouts do not have to think, or plan ahead, and that the Law of Natural Consequences is not in effect. As yet, we have not had a single case of fatal starvation due to missed or burnt meals on a weekend outing in our Troop. We know of no Scout who has ever drowned because his tent was crooked or fell down. Adult Outing Leaders and guests are not in the business of cooking for or feeding Scouts! We are not in the business of pitching tents for Scouts or standing around and telling them how to do it. (You can do that with your "kids", but not with your "Scouts").  Most all of those questions and requests for assistance are referred back to the patrol. Whining is frowned upon if not ignored or even chastised, and it is up to the Scout and the Patrol to solve "maintenance" issues. The problem that a Scout "has nothing to do"translation: "entertain me", is not a concern for our Adult Outing Leaders. On the other hand, if the Adult Leaders observe that a Scout is asking his fellow Scouts for help and is being ignored, then it is entirely appropriate for the Adult Leader (not the adult guest) to "remind" the Troop or Patrol leadership to support the individual members of the team. Scouts who hang around the adult area on camp-outs are encouraged to go somewhere else! and adults who succumb to the bleats and supplications of bored, hungry, or lonely, children will find themselves brow-beaten by the other Adult Leaders. Similarly, adults who revert too often to the instruct-and-command mode that most of us use at home to get the garbage taken out will be peer counseled. The Scouting Trail is not always easy on the Scouts nor the Adult Leaders who choose to take it. It was never intended to be.

We depend upon our adult members to support and provide logistics for our organization. A number of job slots have to be filled by adult volunteers in order to produce the Scouting program. Each and every adult member is expected to make him and herself available to help and to provide leadership. Please don't feel put-upon if you are asked to help, and please do not expect sympathy for the fact that you are too busy.

Boy-Led

Every Boy Scout Troop is supposed to be "Boy-led." Just what does that mean? The boys call the shots? The kids tell the parents what to do, what not to do, and how much to spend when? Not really! The term "Boy-Led" has many interpretations depending who you are talking to, but for our Troop it means that the Scouts shoulder as much responsibility for the program as they can. Younger Scouts have more to learn about how to do things, and older Scouts have more to learn about helping the younger Scouts, learning servant leadership in the process, and being "educated out of the groove of selfish", as Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the scouting movement put it. The adults role is to support, advise, counsel, and importantly to remain vigilant with respect to safety issues at all times. The goal, remember, is to offer the hands-on experience of leadership. Sometimes leaders fail. Most leaders get used to that fact early on and learn:

  • Take responsibility for a mistake.
  • Leaders do not fear failure.
  • Look at Scouting as a practical leadership laboratory that we can all learn from.

Scoutmasters

Each Troop will have a Scoutmaster and a few Assistant Scoutmasters. Troops also solicit parents to become Merit Badge Counselors. You need to be familiar with these job opportunities! These volunteers work with the Scouts on a regular basis to encourage progress on the Scouting Trail, and to interact with the boys as teachers of leadership skills. The Scoutmaster is not the leader, not the department head, not the boss. His job description is not to be a leader of boys but to "Train Boy Leaders." The job of the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster is most demanding and difficult. These selfless people have a direct impact on the future of each boy who participates in Scouting, and they commit time and energy far beyond the normal call of parent duty. Even though they know that you appreciate what they are doing for the kids in our community it never hurts to say "Thank You"

Troop Meetings

What you see at the Troop Meeting or Outing is not chaos. It is more like nuclear fusion! Kids who are "calm" are either sick or asleep! If you visit a Troop that seems to be"under control" then that is exactly what is happening - plenty of adult control. The sense of chaos and high energy takes a bit of getting used to for most of us, but the exuberance and the noise are the result of kids having a good time with each other. That's what we want. We have to be a little tolerant in our watchfullness and not be tempted to suppress or over-manage the guys as long as they respect each other and their surroundings, if not our ears! The bottom line is the group energy has a predictable curve and eventually they run out of steam. They even sleep sometimes. You read the part about tolerance and chaos, but there is a stern limit to what we will tolerate with regard to foul language, hazing, rough horseplay, dangerous or unsafe activities or any form or disrespect. Part of the Adult Leader's job is to manage discipline. In our Troop we do not delegate discipline to boys, and we do not punish other peoples' boys. Our discipline job is limited to:

  • Stopping bad behavior
  • Coaching and counseling
  • Referring the problem to the boys' parents.

Every adult Leader or guest present at any Scout meeting or Outing is expected to observe and stop inappropriate behavior at the moment that it occurs. Do not look the other way! Intervene and stop it first, talk about it later. Error to the side of safety and respect. If there is a difficulty that exceeds our Adult Leaders' ability to effect the necessary change, or if behavior is serious in some way then we get the parents involved. That is the ultimate fall-back position. If we are on an outing and a problem arises that needs to be referred to a boy's parent then it is the responsiblility of the Outing Leader to decide what will happen. The Outing Leader may require that the boy have a telephone conversation with his parents, or the Outing Leader may require that the parent come pick up the boy. It is The Outing Leader's decision. That is our policy. The Troop or individual Outing Leader may also require the presence of any boy's parent as a precondition of participation. This same holds true for Troop meetings. We can't ask our Adult Leaders to put themselves between a boy and his parent(s) where behavior is concerned, and it is no fun to have to deal with a serious behavior situation. So that is our pressure valve, and hopefully our Adult Outing Leaders have such a good time they will be willing to lead again. By the way, it is not the end of the world to have to come pick up your kid and most kids are able to learn from their mistakes.

Democracy

The Troop has a Committee composed of any adult members who wish to contribute and participate. The adults decide who will assume the various positions and the Committee Chairman runs the meetings. The Committee sets the policy of the Troop and the members of the Troop including the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters must follow those policies. The Committee also makes all financial decisions. The ultimate authority in our Troop is vested in our Commitee. Every parent of a Troop 236 Scout is encouraged to attend Committee meetings.