LET'S JUMP RIGHT IN! 

Welcome Parents, Guardians, and Scouts,

 

We are excited you are joining Troop 6! 

 

It is one of the oldest Boy Scout Troops in Berkeley, founded in 1929 - in fact my dad was the troop's 11th Eagle Scout!  We are sponsored by St. John’s Presbyterian Church on College Avenue in South Berkeley.  The church provides a safe place to hold meetings and store equipment, and liability insurance. .  We are part of the Golden Gate Area Council which provides a center for registration, awards, training courses for leaders, campsites, and council-wide events.

 

Troop 6 enjoys learning, camping, working, and having fun together in the outdoors.  One of our main goals is to help scouts become leaders of their communities.  We hope this welcome page gives you a solid introduction to our Troop and scouting in general. 

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us. 

 

Yours in Scouting,

Tom Fairchild, Scoutmaster

scoutmaster@troop6berkeley.org

ACTIVITIES

We have a variety of activities we enjoy throughout the year.  The Senior Patrol meets with the Scoutmaster and other staff to plan these activities which typically include:

  • Monthly weekend camps: beach, hiking, skiing/boarding/snowshoeing, camporees, and backpacking.

  • Utica: Utica is our summer camp.  It is unique to Troop 6 and bonds us together each year.  The summer camp, started in 1957, is entirely run by Troop 6 staff and scouts.  Seniors set up camp during week 1 while the remainder of the troop attends for week 2 and 3.  Activities are geared towards advancement and merit badges.

  • High-Adventure Camp: A BSA camp for scouts that are 14 years old and above.  It includes activities like backpacking, hiking, and canoeing while teaching lessons in teamwork and leadership.  We attend the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico every other summer.

  • Big Trip:  Every 6 years the troop takes a larger trip in lieu of Utica summer camp.  Past trips have been to Hawaii, Grand Tetons, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska.

Sitting by Campfire

MEETINGS

Meetings are held Tuesdays during the school year from 7:30pm – 9:00pm at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705.  Meetings prepare scouts in skills such as first aid, safety, hiking, camping, cooking, conservation, citizenship, communication, fitness, swimming, leadership, etc.  Scouts wear their Class A uniforms and bring their Scout Handbook with them to every meeting.  This is so they can work on activities for Advancement. 

Meetings typically run from September through June.  Due to the Covid pandemic we have moved our meetings to outside the church or on Zoom.  Every 4-6 weeks there is a Troop Leader Meeting in lieu of an all-scout meeting.  The Troop Leader Meeting is attended by Staff and Seniors to plan troop events

COMMUNICATION

We use Teamsnap for most communication within the troop.  Both scouts and parents/guardians can register for Teamsnap, and it is accessible from your computer or phone.  The calendar of meetings and events is kept on Teamsnap and reminders are sent out.  Also, everyone’s contact information is available so we can all stay in touch with one another.  

Campfire

PARENT/GUARDIAN INVOLVEMENT

Troop 6 is entirely volunteer run.  Therefore, it is expected that parents/guardians will help with various roles within the troop.  Help is needed for items such as:

  • Drive to and from activities (see below)

  • Assist with wreath sales.

  • Register as a merit badge counselor in areas related to your occupation or hobbies.

  • Serve on the Troop Committee.

  • Attend various camps as a staff member.

  • Buy food for Utica.

  • Organize carpools for monthly events and Utica.

  • And many more volunteer opportunities

For monthly activities a Utica a Transport Coordinator organizes carpools so scouts and gear can arrive at the campsite as efficiently as possible. It is expected each family participate in the carpools so the same families are not always volunteering.  Many families also carpool to the weekly meetings at St. John’s.

Outdoor Amusement

DUES + COSTS

Costs throughout the year are outlined below and approximate.  The troop has scholarships available for families in need.

  • Dues - $200 per year and cover registration, medial insurance, Boy’s Life Magazine, and some awards.

  • Scout Handbook – $20

  • Scout shirt – $40

  • Insignia patches - $10

  • Belt - $15

  • Neckerchief – provided by troop at the investiture ceremony

  • Camps - approximately $15 for food and various minimal expenses

  • Ski trip - $200

  • Utica Summer Camp (2-3 weeks) - $350

  • Big Trip (2 weeks) - $1000

Camping

 CAMPING EQUIPMENT

Various items are needed to attend camping trips.  Throughout the year older scouts often outgrow their gear and will offer gently used items to younger scouts. 

 

Some essentials are:

  • Scout Uniform

  • Hiking backpack

  • 1-2 person tent and stakes

  • Tarp for tent

  • Sleeping pad

  • Sleeping bag

  • Hiking boots

  • Water bottle

  • Mess kit

  • Rain gear

  • Flashlight

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UNIFORMS

Troop Sixers have 2 uniforms: Class A uniforms are worn to meetings and formal events while Class B uniforms are worn to campouts and casual events.  The Scoutmaster will typically tell the troop which uniform to wear.

  • Class A – Scout shirt, neckerchief, khaki, green or tan pants or shorts, scout belt.  

  • Class B – Troop 6 T-shirt, khaki, green or tan pants or shorts.  T6 shirts can be purchased through website here.

PURCHASING A UNIFORM 

 

​If you have a new T-Sixer, you'll need to purchase a uniform for your scout before they are invested into the troop. Uniforms can be purchased online at scoutshop.org,  at McCaulou's in Montclair, and at one of the local BSA Scout Shops.  Here's what you'll need to purchase:

  1. Official Scout Shirt

  2. Green shoulder loops

  3. BSA neckerchief slide (or make one)

  4. Golden Gate Area Council shoulder patch

  5. World Crest Scout Emblem

  6. Unit # 6 patch

  7. BSA belt

  8. Optional: BSA pants. Any olive green or khaki pants/shorts are ok.

NEW SCOUTS

The first step for any Scout, is to come and visit Troop 6 a few times to meet us and see what Scouting with T6 is all about. Then the next steps are:

 

1. Complete the following forms:

 

2. Pay annual dues.

 

3. Regularly attend meetings and campouts to learn the Scout Oath, various knots, and other requirements for joining the troop.

 

4. Purchase a uniform (but not a neckerchief - this will be awarded later).

 

5. Once all of the above is complete, the child will be invited to attend an "investiture" ceremony where they will be formally invited into the troop and awarded a neckerchief. This is a special ceremony that parents are encouraged to attend. 

 

At this point, the child will be a Scout and will begin working their way through the ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class. During the first few years of Scouting, they will focus on learning all the basics of Scouting. Once they have reached First Class, they can’t be any more of a Scout, only a better Scout. There’s little emphasis on Merit Badges during this period. For most of them, they’ll earn their first Merit Badges at summer camp. Don’t let all the information about Merit Badges overwhelm you. Scouts will start diving into that as they approach First Class rank.  More on Merit Badges later.

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FUNDRAISING

Our main fundraiser is a wreath sale in the winter.  Scouts sell wreaths and garlands to friends, family, Troop 6 alumni, and people who have purchased from previous scouts.  We often have stands at holiday street fairs throughout Berkeley. 

 

We expect 100% participation and each Scout must sell at least 15 wreaths.

SOCIAL MEDIA

On our Facebook page, we post information about events and photos of activities.  We invite you to join the page and post items that celebrate the troop. 

 

For the safety of our Scouts, we do not post photos of Scouts nor use names without parent/gurdian approval.  We also do not post locations of campouts until they are over. 

ELECTRONICS

Electronic devices may be brought to weekly meetings, but we ask that they are silenced and kept in pockets or backpacks.  During our monthly campouts electronic devices are also allowed, but are encouraged to be put away.  Meetings and camps are a time for scouts to connect and bond as a troop.  Having scouts look at a screen does not help achieve this goal. We do not allow any electronic devices at  our summer camp at Utica

TROOP LEADERSHIP & THE TROOP COMMITTEE

We are a "Scout led" troop, which means that all Troop activities are run by the Scouts. Guidance and supervision are given by the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters (ASMs) to the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) and the Patrol Leaders (PLs), and the direction to the Scouts is by the SPL and the PLs.

 

Scoutmaster is the adult leader responsible for the  program and well-being of the troop. The Scoutmaster and his assistant Scoutmasters work directly with the Scouts.

 

2021-2022 Adult Troop Staff members are:

  • Scoutmaster - Tom Fairchild

  • Assistant Scoutmaster - Alison Wellsfry

  • Assistant Scoutmaster - Doug Thesingh

  • Assistant Scoutmaster - Sandy Golden

  • Scoutmaster Emeritus - "Bosky" Frederick

The Troop Committee (parent/guardian volunteers) supports the troop and its leaders .  The troop committee is a cross between a board of directors and a parent support group. It sets troop policies and handles administrative functions, allowing the Scoutmaster and assistant Scoutmasters to focus on working directly with the Scouts.  The Troop Committee is responsible for representing the wishes of the parents, setting the bar for expectations/performance, and coordinating parent involvement/contributions. 

 

The 2021-2022 Troop Committee positions are:

  • Troop Committee Chair - Kristen Policy

  • Assistant Committee Chair - Brian Weinberger

  • Chartered Organization Representative - Carl Williams

  • Treasurer - August Fern

  • Secretary - Tiffany Cotter

  • Chaplain - Alex Bergtraun

  • Outings Coordinator - David Shiver

  • Membership Coordinator - Cymbre Ruiz

  • Communications Coordinator - {actively recruiting}

  • Fundraising Coordinator -  {actively recruiting}

  • Alumni Coordinator - Maurice Levitch

  • Advancement Coordinator - Alison Wellsfry 

TROOP COMMITTEE

The Scoutmaster, Committee Chair, and the other adult leader members are required to be registered as BSA leaders, pass a criminal background check, take Youth Protection Training (YPT), take Boy Scout Basic Training and any other advanced leader training courses required of their position.adult

 

In addition, all volunteers (including parents/guardians) within our troop complete Youth Protection Training (YPT) every 2 years.  

We require YPT for all adults because we want all parents/guardians to know what to be watching for, we can be sure that all adults driving scouts or participating in campouts are certified, and because everyone involved in our troop is  making a commitment to make sure our scouts are safe.

TROOP LEADERSHIP

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PATROL METHOD

A Patrol is a small team of six to eight scouts that learn skills together, share responsibilities, and take on leadership roles.  A Patrol carries out a wide range of tasks that require pooling resources and working together to function successfully in all kinds of circumstances. 

Our troop often has around 35 scouts divided into 4 Patrols; Wolf,  Eagle , Moose and Seniors.  Each patrol has a leader (about 14 years old) that changes throughout the year to allow each scout to learn leadership skills.

The Senior Patrol (15-17 year olds) is lead by the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL).  The SPL will run the troop activities and oversee the entire troop, under the guidance of the Scoutmaster.  The role of the SPL is rotated between everyone in the Senior Patrol so each scout strengthens their leadership skills.

A good example of how a patrol functions would be preparing dinner for themselves on a campout. To accomplish this effectively, under the direction of their patrol leader, all members of the patrol plan the menu. Then roles to complete the dinner are divided among the Patrol  One or two go shopping before the campout, one or more get the water for cooking and cleaning, another sets up the stove, while others will do the actual cooking. It’s a patrol enterprise, requiring cooperation, the sharing of responsibilities and leadership, working for the collective good, and putting skills into action. The patrol method models good citizenship and develops servant leadership.

ADVANCEMENT

Advancement is the process by which scouts progress from rank to rank.  Advancement is one method used by scout leaders to help youth fulfill the aims of the BSA: character development, citizenship training, leadership, and mental and physical fitness.  Scouts are recognized for their efforts as they accomplish the activities to achieve each rank, in the following order: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle.  Various leadership positions within the troop are based upon a Scout’s rank.

Activities required for each rank are typically signed off by the Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, Patrol Leader, or Senior Patrol Leader.  Parents/guardians should not sign off activities.  Once all rank activities are completed the scout attends a Scoutmaster Conference.  This is a time for scouts to discuss their scouting experience with the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster.  

The final step in each rank advancement is the Board of Review.  The scout meets with 3 adults from the Troop Committee or parents/guardians.  Similar to the Scoutmaster Conference it is an opportunity for the scout to discuss his scouting experience and the challenges and successes in completing the activities required for the rank.

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ALL ABOUT MERIT BADGES

There are more than 135 merit badges where scouts learn about sports, trades, science, or future careers.  First Class rank and up have Merit Badge requirements to help them reach the 21 Merit Badges they need to have for Eagle. Of the 21, 13 are Eagle-required. They can choose eight elective Merit Badges to work on.

Once scouts reach First Class, merit badges are a significant requirement to advance to the next rank and some are required for the next rank.  Scouts can work on merit badges on their own or with a group.  It is important for the scout to contact the merit badge counselor before getting started so they can outline a plan and discuss the requirements together.

Merit Badge Counselors are parents, guardians, past scouts, or community members. They do not need to be directly associated with Troop 6.  This link .

 

BSA  has a description of all the merit badges.  If there is one that you know a lot about or perhaps is your profession, you can register as a merit badge counselor.  

We often have merit badge counselors within the troop that offer a merit badge over a series of sessions.  The sessions will cover most of the badge requirements so scouts only need to do a few items on their own.  Merit badges are also offered during Utica with swimming, canoeing, and fishing being some of the most popular.  If a merit badge interests a scout and we don’t have a counselor, we will help find one through the Golden Gate Area Council.

​COURT OF HONOR

 

The Court of Honor is a ceremony where the accomplishments of each scout are recognized.  This could be advancement in rank as well as completing merit badges.

 

Typically Merit Badge Counselors will present merit badges while the Scoutmaster will acknowledge advancements. 

 

Families attend Court of Honor ceremonies and will be acknowledged during the ceremony when their scout advances in rank.

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PATH TO EAGLE

 

Eagle Scout is a rewarding goal and Troop 6 has over 150 Eagle Scouts.  All achievements and advancements on the road to Eagle Scout are carefully recorded as they will be presented in the final District Board of Review.  

Each scout must perform a service project to achieve Eagle Scout.  Some examples of past service projects have been planting trees, building an arbor, creating a mural, and building a parklet.  The possibilities are endless and should be something the scout is passionate about.  The entire troop rallies behind aspiring eagle scouts to assist with the service project.

Tree Planting

SERVICE PROJECTS

Each year we perform various service projects in the community.  Some past activities are listed below.  We also welcome new service projects if scouts have a personal interest in something.  It is a great opportunity to learn about new organizations and ways to connect with our community.

  • St. John’s Presbyterian Church - Various maintenance type projects as a thank you for the support they provide us throughout the year.  

  • Friends of Scouting – collect food around Thanksgiving that is donated to the Alameda County Food Bank.  

  • Beach or shore clean ups

  • Eagle Scout Projects - Scouts pursuing their Eagle Scout rank often organize an Eagle Scout Project that serves the community.  The rest of the troop is encouraged to help with these projects.