New Scout Parents

Here’s a compilation of things we learned over the years, so we are passing them on to you!

  • 282130.495.shirt.BackWhen you purchase a new Scout uniform, buy it a little larger than your son wears today – you will most likely have to purchase a new uniform shirt during your son’s seven years in Scouting.  Having a little extra room in that first Scout shirt may delay the 2nd shirt purchase.
  • Let the Scout advance at his own pace.  Don’t push him along.  (Particularly in that period between Life and Eagle.)  If your son becomes an Eagle Scout – great!  If not, it does not indicate a failure on your part as a parent.
  • Work with your son to pack for his first outing using the checklists in the Boy Scout Handbook.  After that, let him pack his own bag for the trip.  Believe me, the very best way for your son to learn personal responsibility is to spend a weekend in the rain without a raincoat or poncho – or to arrive in camp without a mess kit!
  • No matter how many pairs of underwear and socks you give your son to pack for summer camp, there will be unworn socks and underwear in his trunk when he gets home.  And, his bathing suit will be really dirty.
  • Resist the urge to go out to Dick’s (or Heaven forbid REI) and load up your Scout with all of the latest and greatest (and expensive) camping equipment right away. There are only a few basics your son will need – invest in higher quality for these items and they will last the entire duration of his Scouting experience.
      • Don’t purchase the cheap aluminum mess kits ($7-8) at Walmart or Dick’s – they may look like the mess kit you used as a Scout, but they are made of really light aluminum, and they will not hold up.   Invest in a stainless steel or heavy aluminum kit (Teflon coating is great!) – expect to pay $20-25.
      • Always pack 2-3 large, thick, contractor’s trash bags (available at the hardware store).  They are perfect for covering your pack when hiking, making a makeshift raincoat if you forget yours, and even a terrific cover for your sleeping bag on a rainy night.  There are 100 uses for this durable and lightweight product – don’t leave home without it.
      • Hiking boots or shoes can be a conundrum.  It pays to invest in high quality footwear for camping, but the boys sometimes grow out of the footwear in less than a year.   Always make sure your son breaks in those new boots before the outing!  He will be miserable if he wears new or poorly fitted boots on an outing!
        • If your son is going on the Troop’s “normal” camping trips, a well-fitting pair of hiking shoes or boots is acceptable.
        • If your son is going on a high adventure trek to Philmont (or someplace else where they will “live” in their boots), invest in a higher quality pair of well-fitting hiking boots or shoes for that outing.  His feet will thank you!