Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost?

In order to officially join us, parents must fill out an application form and the medical authorization sheet, and submit a check payable to Troop 451, as follows:

Required Annual Dues and Fees $84

Boy’ s Life Magazine One Year Subscription (Optional) $12

Dues, fees, and Boy’s Life subscriptions are based on an annual figure, prorated if you are joining during the charter year. We collect annual dues at Registration night on the first Tuesday in January. Troop dues are used to defray such troop operating expenses as camping equipment, advancement awards, leadership training, etc.

You should be prepared for other expenses during the year, such as food and transportation costs for regular camping trips, or costs for special troop outings outside the “norm” of the regular camping trips.

What are the rules?

What do I need?

You need two things right away to get into troop activities – a full Scout uniform and a Scout Handbook. You can buy the uniform, Handbook and other Scout supplies at the Council Scout Office in Raleigh, or by BSA Catalog Sales at 1-800-323-0732. The Uniform page has detailed information about what you need to buy and how to wear the Scout Uniform. Be sure to get the current Scout Handbook, which is the Twelfth Edition with the Eagle, waving flag and rafters on the front. Also, be sure to write your name in the handbook as soon as you get it!

When and where do we meet?

We meet at Westminster Presbyterian Church which is located at 3639 Old Chapel Hill Road in Durham, North Carolina. Directions.

Troop meetings are held on Tuesday nights (except the first Tuesday night of every month) at 7:30 PM sharp, and last until 9:00 PM sharp, when someone must be there to pick you up, at Westminster Presbyterian Church’s Scout Hut (aka the Calhoon Cabin).

The Patrol Leader Council (youth leaders such as the Senior Patrol Leader and Patrol Leaders) meets on the first Tuesday night of every month at 7:00 PM in the Scout Hut.  The Troop Committee (adult leaders and parents) in the Scout Hut on the first Tuesday of the month.  That meeting is at 7:30 PM.

During the summer months the troop may go on an irregular Tuesday night meeting schedule. Check the troop’s website and Troop Calendar regularly for up-to-the-minute information.

How do I fit in?

When you come to your first troop meeting after joining, you will become a member of one of our “patrols.” A patrol is a group of scouts that is led by the Scouts themselves. Rising and new sixth graders joining in the spring are usually assigned to New Scout “training patrols” to help them learn basic skills quickly. We have a very special program for you that lasts for about 9 months.

Each patrol is part of the troop, but it works together as a separate team. The patrol has its own flag and identity, and it camps, eats, learns, and works together. The leader of the patrol is a Scout and is called, you guessed it, the Patrol Leader. His job is to lead the patrol and help YOU with anything you need to learn and advance as a Scout. The Troop Guide is the patrol leader for a training patrol. The Senior Patrol Leader (the leader of the Scouts) is elected by the entire troop every six months. The Patrol Leader is elected by the members of his patrol every six months. Elections for Senior Patrol Leader and Patrol Leader occur several times during the year, to give everyone a chance at learning how to lead. You will find that these youth leaders, not the adults, run the troop and plan the program. Be a cheerful and helpful follower, and take this time to learn your Scout skills well – because sooner than you think, it will be your turn to be one of the leaders of the troop.

The troop program is determined by the Patrol Leaders and Senior Patrol Leader, assisted by other leadership Scouts, a few times each year in a meeting called the TLC (Troop Leaders Council). If you have something you’d like to see the troop do, be sure to tell your Troop Guide or Patrol Leader so he can bring it to the TLC.

Remember, the Scouts should run the troop.  The adults are there to assist and help make it happen.

When do I go camping?

The troop camps at least once a month, following a published schedule planned in advance by Scouts and approved by the Troop Committee (parents and adult leaders). Class A uniforms are always worn when travelling to and from any scout trip.

The troop will attend thse summer camps.

Check the troop calendar for exact dates.

You should definitely plan to go to summer camp, because it gives you a chance to earn many of the merit badges and learn many of the skills you will need for the next year in Scouting, and because it is FUN. Swimming, canoeing, archery, rifle shooting and many other activities are available, and make summer camp one of the highlights of the year. Photos of Summer Camp from the past few years at Raven Knob, along with other camping photos, are posted in the PHOTOS section of this website.

What camping equipment will I need?

At Scout meetings, you will learn what to bring on camping trips and how to stay comfortable outdoors. For many of our trips, you can bring your personal gear in a duffel bag or even a small suitcase. Later, you will want a backpack and other special camping equipment.

Don’t buy any of that stuff yet – wait until you’ve been in the troop a while and learn from the older Scouts what is the most useful equipment. Backpacks, for example, can be borrowed while you find what is right for you.

You will, however, want to get a good sleeping bag that is rated for cold weather before you go camping in the fall, and you should talk over this purchase with the Scoutmaster, your parents, and especially your patrol leader, Troop Guide or senior leadership Scouts.

Many of our outings take place during moderate weather, which means that only light sleeping gear is required. However, we camp year-round. A good zero-degree or -10 rated sleeping bag is a reasonable gift request.

The troop owns a number of good tents that can be checked out at no cost by your Patrol Leader from the Troop Quartermaster. The Troop Quartermaster is an older Scout, with the help from an adult Quartermaster, who is in charge of all the troop equipment including cooking, camping, and other outdoor gear.

Eventually, you may want to buy your own tent and camping gear, but don’t rush into it – the stuff is expensive and you can run up a big bill in a hurry. For the moment, we would really prefer that you use troop tents. We know they will deep you dry.

Some special rules about troop equipment: The troop’s equipment has been purchased over the years from annual dues paid by Scouts. Much of it is expensive to replace. Scouts who check out and borrow equipment from the Troop Quartermaster are responsible for its safekeeping. We understand that Scouts may accidentally damage equipment, and that equipment does over time wear out. However, we ask that every Scout treat the Troop’s equipment with respect, just like it was his. If you break or lose a part of a tent, please let us know so we can get it replaced before the next Scout needs it.

How do I advance in rank?

There are seven ranks in Scouting: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. You start out at Scout, and work your way up to Eagle, the highest rank. New Scouts in the training patrols will work hard on completing the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class Scout within their first year. The Advancement page has detailed information about the ranks and the requirements for advancement.

How do I earn merit badges?

There are several ways that you can earn merit badges. Adult leaders and parents from the troop volunteer to teach merit badge classes to Scouts in the troop, and you get opportunities to sign up for those classes several times each year. Also, you can earn three, four or five merit badges at any of our week long summer camps. There are also special events where you can earn merit badges, like Council Camporees and the railroading show in Raleigh each year. Adult leaders will let you know what badges you can earn and when they’re going to be offered. You need to listen, sign up, and do the work to earn the badges!

The Merit Badges page has more detailed information.

How do I get to be a leader?

The most important jobs in the troop, Patrol Leaders and Senior Patrol Leader, are elected twice a year. Elections take place during the troop meetings on the last Tuesdays in March and September.

Other leadership positions, such as Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Quartermaster, Librarian, Historian, and Scribe, are appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader with the consultation of the Scoutmaster. The Instructor and Troop Guide leadership positions are appointed by the Scoutmaster. Many Scouts get their first leadership experience either as a Den Chief, or in one of the appointed positions. Den Chiefs are basically patrol leaders to a den of Cub Scouts. The Den Chief is a very important leadership position, since they set the example for young Cub Scouts thinking about one day joining the Scouts. A Scout can be a Den Chief for as long as the adult den leader wants and needs him.

Elected leadership positions are for a six-month term running from election to election. The troop generally elects its new leaders during the last Tuesdays in February and August. Appointed leadership positions are for the length of term of the Senior Patrol Leader.

In order to advance beyond First Class Rank, a Scout must hold a leadership position. Since we have a large number of Scouts who aggressively Climb the Trail to Eagle, sometimes Scouts find it hard to obtain an elected leadership position. When this happens, the Scoutmaster and the Scout can work on getting a special leadership service project together as a substitute. Den Chiefs for Cub Scout Day Camp in June is often a favorite leadership role for young leaders.

What about community service?

In order for a Scout to advance beyond First Class Rank, he must also put in service hours. There is also a one-hour service requirement for Second Class rank. This can be satisfied by community service through the Eagle service project of a fellow Scout, to Westminster Church or the Scout’s home church, or to a community organization such as the library or soup kitchen. Troop 451 occasionally has troop-wide service projects, but they are rare. These projects do not count as service hours, but do count as activities for the lower ranks. Troop service projects are part of the Scout’s commitment under the Scout slogan, “Do a good turn daily.” Scouts should always be on the lookout to be of service to others.

Who are these guys?

The youth in charge of organizing the scouts is called the Senior Patrol Leader. His job is to run the troop meetings, and work with the Patrol Leaders to make sure things get done. You’ll learn his name soon enough. You won’t know the name of your Patrol Leader or Troop Guide until you join the troop, but he will become the most important Scout in the troop for you in the beginning. Make sure you get his telephone number and put it in a safe place where you can find it.

Jim Salamon is your Scoutmaster. The Scoutmaster’s main job is to guide and advise the Senior Patrol Leader.  The Scoutmaster is assisted by other uniformed adults known as Assistant Scoutmasters, whose duties are set by the Scoutmaster.

The Troop Committee Chair organizes the adult volunteers so that the troop functions smoothly.

These leaders, along with many others, volunteer to work with the troop because they like to have fun too, and they also want to make sure you have a good time in Scouts.

What about the parents of Scouts?

Parents, without your support and participation, Troop 451 could not exist and could not put on the quality program of which it is so proud. It is also in large part due to your support and encouragement that your son will advance in Scouting and realize his full potential. The stated primary goal of Scouting is to help youth grow into honorable and responsible young adults, and therefore each parent must face the question: “What quality of experience do I want my own Scout to have?”. We need you to do your part to make this experience the best possible for your son and for all the Scouts in the troop. Our basic rule is that if your Scout joins the troop, so do you. BSA does NOT mean Baby Sitters of America!

We ask that you try to camp with the troop at least one night a year. Check out the posted Troop 451 Calendar page for the many choices you have. Good choices would be district camporees, either or both of our summer camps, our annual summer and winter trips to Kerr Lake and Raven Knob, and our annual rafting trip on the French Broad River. We will take good care of you. Let us know if you require any special accommodations.

How can parents help?

Camp. You should try to camp with the troop at least one night each year. Spending a night with us is one of the best ways for you to become familiar with the troop’s adult leaders and other parents. Troop 451 and national BSA policy require that at least two registered adults accompany the Scouts on any camping trip. However, the troop functions best when it is accompanied by a large number of adults. All parents are more than welcome on any trip and you will most likely find it as much fun as the Scouts do. Many adults already involved with the troop have extra gear you can borrow. Come on along, it’s a good way to spend time with your son. We will take good care of you.

Drive. The outdoor program is one of the cornerstones of the Scouting program. It is fun and, at the same time, teaches self-reliance, cooperation and responsibility. It is the one thing that all youth like best about Scouts. Our troop tries to go camping monthly and we attempt to provide one of the highest quality outdoor programs available in this area. However, most campgrounds are at least an hour’s drive away. We currently use a combination of the Scoutmaster’s 15-passenger bus and a “patrol driving system” in which the parents of the Scouts within each patrol are responsible for the transportation of patrol members. Parents in the patrol sometimes get together and rotate driving duties, since the dates of camping trips and their locations are usually known well in advance.

Encourage. In order to help your son move forward in Scouting, it is necessary that he receive positive encouragement from you. Please take the time to become familiar with your son’s Scout Handbook and Troop 451’s advancement procedures, troop organization, etc., which, if fully understood now by both you and your son, will save considerable misunderstanding and wasted time later. We also find that many new SCouts cannot “get it together” for that first Tenderfoot Rank, and parental involvement in getting your son “over the hump” of Tenderfoot is invaluable. If you have unanswered questions, do not hesitate to call the troop leaders.

Teach. Troop 451 is involved in an ongoing effort to interest the Scouts in earning more and different merit badges. The Scout program boasts more than 120 different merit badges in fields from American Business to Woodwork. Except for merit badges offered at summer camp, merit badges earned within the Troop 451 program can only be earned by a Scout working closely with an adult counselor. Most of our merit badges are taught by an interested Scout parent in a group class format. Merit badge counselors are recruited by the Merit Badge Coordinators. Look over the merit badges listed in the Troop Resource Survey or in your son’s handbook, and let one of the Merit Badge Coordinators know which subject you would be willing to teach. We particularly need counselors for required merit badges such as First Aid, Personal Fitness and the three Citizenship badges. You do NOT have to be an expert to be a counselor for a merit badge, only have interest in the subject and a willingness to share this interest with the youth. Please return the resource sheet to the Troop Merit Badge Coordinator. You should also carefully read the Troop 451 Policy Statement on merit badges.

Lead. Troop 451 generally has over 75 Scouts enrolled in the program at any one time. In order to maintain our program, and take on additional Scouts, we are always in need of more parental involvement. Being a leader does take some time, but not that much, and it is a fun way to put in some quality volunteer time. Come join us for the fun! We usually need to recruit some new leaders to be uniformed Assistant Scoutmasters to the training patrols.

Manage. The Scoutmaster usually spends the first 20-30 minutes of the monthly Troop Committee meetings discussing upcoming troop events. This is a great time to ask questions. The meetings take place on the first Tuesday night of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Scout Hut. All troop parents are strongly encouraged to attend the meetings. The Troop Committee’s job is to help set troop policy, and particularly to free up as much of the Scoutmaster’s time as possible. Committee members are involved in the troop budget and finances, fund raising, the merit badge program, issues related to growth of the troop, liaison with Cub Packs and Webelos dens, etc. As Scouts grow older and leave the troop, sometimes their parents go with them; we constantly need members and can use your help. This is a great way for parents of brand-new Scouts to get a handle on what is happening in the Troop.