Information about Joining

So you're thinking you might be interested in skiing, kayaking, shooting, hiking, climbing, diving and all the rest?  

Excellent!

Troop 8 is open to boys who are close to graduating 5th grade (age 11) or older, who are willing to tackle insane outdoor adventures and live up to our scouting code.  We generally accept new members only in the spring, so that you get a summer's worth of camping with us before we hit snow camping and backpacking on skis!   Occasional exceptions are made for older boys who are transferring into the area and those who have considerable prior outdoor experience.  Troop 8 does not accept transfer scouts above First Class rank, but we'll help you find another local troop to finish your Eagle quest.

If you're a 5th grader, or an older guy looking to join, we hold a number of events throughout the fall, winter, and spring which are open to guests and possible recruits.   In the fall, these include "fun nights" like trips to Whirly Ball, visits to our troop meetings, or our guys visiting you on a cub campout.   In the winter, we'll have some events which are day trips, like joining us for a day of downhill skiing or other fun activity.    By March and April, you'll be joining us for swim nights and some meetings, and then at our "Crossover" joining campout in May you'll become a full-fledged troop member who can come on everything!    At the end of May, admissions to Troop 8 are usually "closed" until the following year.

Are you interested?  Great!   Then the first step is to let us know how to tell you about stuff.   Follow the link on the bottom right to sign up for a web account as an interested parent or scout.

 

 

 

Sign Up for Information

One of the first steps if you're thinking about joining Troop 8 is to sign up online so that we can send you more information!  By giving us your contact information you'll be informed of upcoming events that are open to potential new members, and will receive forms and information by email or snail mail that explains the paperwork process of joining up.

Unfortunately, do to spam, we have turned off the feature of allowing any user to apply for an account. If you're interested in troop 8, e-mail bobgeier@troop8.org, and he will get you setup.

 

 

Joining Paperwork and Forms

Welcome to the Boy Scouts of America and to St. Thomas Troop 8! We hope you will decide to become a member of our organization, and join us for meetings, activities, outings, and a lot of fun. By now we expect you’ve read all the other information on our program, and you know all about our extensive outings, the kinds of things we can help you learn about the outdoors and other fun hobbies, and the sort of service work we perform. If you’re still interested, we’d like to welcome you aboard!

In order to do that, though, we have to ask you to take care of some paperwork and agree to a few things which we feel are important to what we do. Don’t worry, they’re not too hard! And if you have any questions, call us!

The requirements

In order to join Troop 8 and the Boy Scouts, you must be nearly done with 5th grade and fulfill each of the following requirements (see the Scout Handbook). Troop 8 generally accepts new scouts only in the spring (or early fall for older boys).  Troop 8 does not accept transfer ranks above First Class.   To participate in ANY outing while you work on finishing the requirements, you MUST have the first two steps completed and returned to the scoutmaster:

  • Turn in a health report & medical history form signed by your parent. 
  • Have your parent sign and return an outings permission slip.
  • Turn in a completed and signed Boy Scout application form. Make sure both you and your parents sign!
  • Your parents must come to an orientation meeting for new parents, and read through the document Notes on Religious Values in Scouting.
  • After you have done all of the steps above, have a personal meeting with the scoutmaster called a “scoutmaster’s conference.”

Boys who are joining Boy Scouts for the first time (as opposed to transferring from another troop) must also do the following (which webelos scouts will recognize from the Arrow of Light requirements).

  • With your parent(s), complete the exercises on protecting yourself from child abuse and drug abuse.
  • Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance
  • Demonstrate the Scout salute, sign, and handshake.
  • Show how to tie a square knot.
  • Understand, be able to explain, and agree to live by the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, the Scout slogan, and the Outdoor Code.
  • Describe the Scout badge and what it means.

At your scoutmaster conference, the scoutmaster will ask you about these things as part of the conference. You should also bring your Scout Handbook, so it can be signed officially!

 

 

Startup Scouting Equipment

Congratulations, you’ve chosen to join a very active, very outdoor-oriented troop. In order to have fun in the wilderness (no matter what the weather!), it’s important to live up to the scout motto: Be Prepared. That means having the right gear for camping and for in-town scouting.

A few words about gear. The troop does maintain some “loaner” gear if you don’t have your own personal stuff yet, or can’t afford to buy it all at once. We’re also really picky about gear quality and fit for some outings, so it’s important that you talk to one of the adult leaders before you go buy anything expensive, because there’s some stuff we won’t allow. Most guys start out with the things marked R (required - we don’t have loaners) and SR (strongly recommended - we have a few loaners), then build up from there. We will always provide what’s necessary when family means cannot.   Most families find that over the course of the first year or so, normal purchases of jackets, pants, shoes, etc. can "double" as scouting and in-town gear with careful selection.

The troop also arranges several discount group purchases each year through local and on-line vendors Bivouac to help families. As we hear of them, we will send information about special sales out via email. We encourage families to patronize our Troop+8+Recommended+Outfitters as these businesses we've found to sell reliable gear and offer decent assistance and prices over the years.   Many local vendors have long-term relationships with the troop, and deserve your support.  

Scout Shop Items

There are a few items you need to have as a Boy Scout. These can be purchased from the Council office on Huron Parkway (just North of Washtenaw).

  • 1 The Boy Scout Fieldbook (orange cover) (recomended)   This offers a good introduction to outdoor skills we use.
  • 1 Uniform: Shirt, patches (Greak Sauk Trail Council, troop 8, patrol). Troop 8 does not wear a neckerchief, but we'll issue you a "Figure-8 knot" instead.  Troop 8 also considers olive green scout pants optional, though we like the new nylon scout pants with the zip-off legs.   However, any  tan or olive khaki dress/casual/outdoor pant is acceptable (not denim). R

Except for these items, we can not recommend any other gear from the scout shop.

Outdoor Clothing

Troop 8 camps in a wide variety of weather conditions. To ensure the comfort and safety of scouts, we require equipment checks prior to most outings. The following items are generally expected for most outings year-round. The troop is able to provide a limited amount of gear-for loan when necessary, but we would encourage you to consider these items for purchase.

  • Several pairs of stretch-wool or wool polypropylene socks. Good year-round for protecting feet in all kinds of conditions.R
  • One pair lightweight, high-topped hiking boots, appropriately treated to ensure they’re waterproof. These have become much less expensive recently, and are well worth it for dry feet and foot support both in camp and on hikes.SR
  • 1 pair “Midweight” polypropylene long underwear tops & bottoms. Polypro goes by several names, including Capilene, Thermax, and “wicking fabrics.” If there is any one clothing item which will greatly affect your comfort in the outdoors, this is it. The best invention of the 20th Century. Useful year-round. R
  • 2 Synthetic “fleece” jackets or pullovers. More versatile than wool sweaters or lined jackets.SR
  • 1 Set of nylon wind or rain gear, both jacket & pants. (We do NOT allow ponchos) We promise there will be LOTS of cold, rainy days on campouts.  You should look for jackets and pants that are marketed as "waterproof breathable" fabrics.  High-tech name-brand fabrics like Gore-tex or Ultrex are great after you stop growing, or if there are lots of younger siblings, but cheaper knock-offs are readily available.  On trips that are not base-station car camping, we will not allow non-breathable rain gear. R

Because so much clothing (including blue jeans, sweat clothes, and flannel) is made of cotton fibers, we tend to see a lot of cotton on campouts. Please understand that while cotton is soft and cool on a sunny day in the summertime, it makes very poor outdoor clothing in other conditions. Cotton, when wet, holds a great deal of water and acts as a NEGATIVE insulator, actually cooling the body more than if it were unclothed. Sweat clothes, in particular, become baggy and very difficult when soaked. We therefore expect scouts to own non-cotton outdoor clothing, either wool or synthetic. On most campouts, a layered insulating system of non-cotton clothing will be required for comfort and safety.

Camping Gear

  • Sleeping bag and water-resistant stuff sack to put it in. Bags should be synthetic, tapered or mummy cut, with no cotton flannel lining. Most boys use a cold-weather bag (0° F) year round.  Please don’t skimp on the stuff sack - these cost very little, and are infinitely better than garbage bags which are easily torn. It’s best to get one that’s “too big” for the bag, so there’s room for extra gear, and so it’s easier to stuff. R
  • Sleeping pad (closed-cell foam or open cell foam inflatable. Plastic chamber-type inflatables are too easily punctured and take too long to inflate) R
  • Headlamp-style Flashlight  R
  • Pocketknife (swiss army variety is good - scout must have Totin’ Chip safety training to bring)
  • Compass (no need to be expensive - just one of the small plastic jobs with a 1-1 1/2” needle and a straight edge).
  • Watch (Water resistant to at least 6m depth, with alarm)
  • Day pack (like bookbag backpack) R
  • Water-proof duffle bag with good carrying straps (for car-camping trips), or personal backpack SR
  • 1 Set of personal eating-wear (kept in a small nylon “ditty bag”).  A full set includes a spoon, plastic bowl, 12 oz. insulated mug with lid, and a nylon bag to carry all this in. We strongly recommend that boys not use aluminum “mess kits.” R
  • 1 Water bottle. We require wide-mouthed plastic "Nalgene" style bottles. R


Books

You can look in our recommended publications section on the web site to find a number of fun outdoors and resource books that you might enjoy.   However, we do want to strongly recommend getting a copy of Wilderness First Aid: Emergency Care for Remote Locations. This book is the “official” Troop first aid text, which replaces the information in the BSA literature.  SR

Group Gear

Troop 8 provides all group gear for your trips.   This includes 2-man North Face tents, stoves, pots, pans, first aid kits, lanterns, rain flies and other gear for the patrol.   We do not recommend scouts purchase their own tenting or cooking equipment until they are Venturers in high school. Occasionally, scouts inquire about bringing their own tent on a campout. This is OK with the permission of the patrol leader, provided the scout is familiar with the tent setup, the tent is appropriate for the type of campout we are doing.