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Questions ANSWERED by Troop 357  


Reprinted From Twin Rivers Council’98 Pow Wow Book, Webelos Section Page 11

Provided to Webelos and their parents

By John M. Papp

Scoutmaster Troop 357

Rotterdam-Schenectady, NY

 “How do you choose which Scout Troop to Join?”  I routinely ask what kind of Troop do YOU want to become a part of?  There are Large Troops that are so big that they can have problems in getting the group to a routine camp out.  If this is the case, the Troop more than likely Camps only 2-3 times a Scouting Year.  (September to May) 

          Then there are the smaller Troops; they are not small by choice, only that most of the Scouts involved live in transitional neighborhoods etc.….  This has been the history of a lot of troops in the last 10 years.  Troop 357 is sponsored by VFW Post 357 for over 36 years now.   I have been a part of this troop for 23 years now.  Our Past Scoutmasters are both very active and dedicated to the Scouting Program, which is a keystone to good leadership. 

Your decision is a hard one, take your time and look for what you want out of your future Scouting Experience.  This troop has supported me as an Eagle Scout, High Adventure Backpacker at Cimarron New Mexico’s Philmont Scout Ranch, a selected member of the U.S. Scout Troop who traveled to Scotland and now as Scoutmaster.  It is through Troop 357’s training and camping experience that provided the foundation for my 26 years of Service to Scouting.  I CHALLENGE you to put us to the test.    Our Resume’ will surprise you!

John M. Papp Scoutmaster

Eagle Class of '77

Stop by our WEBSITE at: 

E-Mail us at:   Eaglemaster_3357@ Juno.Com



1.  “How often has your Troop achieved Quality Unit Status in the last 5 years?”

ALL of them, Troop 357 has earned the Quality Unit Status since it was created in '77.   2002 is our 25th YEAR!

2.    “How are new Scouts handled?  Are they mixed in with existing patrols or put into a new patrol?”

 A little of both, we like to keep new Scouts who know each other together for their first 6 months, then we introduce them to a new patrol with more experienced members.  This allows for them to have Focus from our Troop Guide in their early rank requirements.

3.    “How many registered leaders are there?  What is their attendance history at regular meetings and on outings?  What is the boy:leader ratio at meetings and on outings?”

 22 Registered Leaders and Growing.  Attendance history is above 50% of total Activities.  Boy to Leader Ratio is routinely followed by Youth Protection Guidelines, 1 Leader to 6 Scouts Maximum.

4.    “Do you have an active outdoor program?  How many days a year are spent camping?  Where?  What are the plans for Summer Camp?”

 We Camp Monthly year round.  We have now just qualified for the Fourth Year in a row for the Gold National Camping Award for exceeding 100 Scout Camping Days in 2001.  We have also earned the Highest National Camping Award for the '90's Decade with over 1000 Scout Days Camping.  We camp at most any Scout Camp, State Park within 5 Hours of Travel. 

Summer Camp- July 7th-14th, Camp Russell, Woodgate, NY (Old Forge Region) Predicted SC Cost will be around $160 per scout.

5.    “What is your philosophy on uniforms?”

 Full Scout Uniforms at all Meetings, Campouts & Events, Unless specified by the Scoutmaster

6.    “How are new Scouts going to learn what to do as Boy Scouts (camping skills, patrol activities, advancement, etc.)?  Will they have an experienced adult leader working with them?”

Scouts are taught by older more experienced Scouts within Troop 357.  Troop 357 is RUN by the Senior Patrol Leader and his "Trained" Assistant SPL & Troop Guide.  Scouts are also mentored by the adult leadership for any needed Requirements, Activities and Advancement.  We do have an Assistant Scoutmaster and Troop Guide assigned to all New Scouts in Troop 357.

7.    “What is a typical Troop meeting like?  Do you work on merit badges?  Do you play a lot of games?”

 Troop Meetings (Unless TRAINING) are run by our SPL.  We do Rank Requirements, Merit Badge Work, Tours, Community Service, Court of Honors, Family Dinners and yes, play "some" games to let off steam. Sometimes, things can be a bit chaotic, however behavior is strictly responded too by Adult Leadership, in order to promote an active learning environment.

8.    “What is your philosophy regarding advancement (at what pace are the ranks earned)?”

 Ranks should be earned at each Scouts own pace & abilities.  He should have a Handbook to assist him with his Rank Requirements, as Scouting is a Self Study Course with Testing done at the Troop, District & Council Level. 

ALL Advancement is kept track on our Troopmaster Software database.  We can determine any Scouts or the entire Troops Advancement or Activity Status at anytime via printout, phone or email.

9.    “What kind of program do you have for the older Scouts?  Are there any High Adventure activities?”

 We do Mountain Biking, Backpacking (Twice in '01), Canoeing, Swimming, Model Railroad Tours, Car Show Tours, and plenty of Community Service.

10.           “What kind of fundraising to you have?”

We have an Assistant Scoutmaster in Charge of all T357 Fundraising Activities, She handles our Constant Candy Fundraiser, Car Washes and recommends any needed Fundraising Activities to the Committee.  Scouts are taught in T357 to "Pay their own way," whether it is for a routine campout or Summer Camp.  90% of T357 Scouts have paid in full their own Summer Camp Fees in Full.


11.           “What are the financial obligations for each Scout?”


·       at sign-up  

Crossovers After February, None (Transfer), Prior to February $17 for Registration & Boys Life

·        per campout

Routinely $10 to Troop Weekends, $15 to Council Weekends, $35 to out of Town Events.  All Subject to the Activity.

·       Summer camp

WE Believe it will be $160 per Scout this year, our Site is already reserved, however paperwork with details is NOT received yet.

·       Dues (weekly/monthly?)

Dues are $1 a week from September 1st to June 30th

·       Other expenses

                 We are a very Progressive Troop, where our Scouts earn a LOT of awards, making our Award Costs higher compared to less Active troops.  The funds to supplement this come from a constant Bottle-Can Drive.

12.           “Do you pay for or subsidize training for the boys (Junior Leader Training, Den Chief Training, etc. ..)

         Yes we do, we have offered a 50% Scholarship towards Council Junior Leader Training, GAWASSA Winter Camp Training etc. . .  50% as a Scout should always have a financial "stake" in the Scout Training Experience he is to receive.

13.           “Does your Troop have a limitation on size?”

         I have always said, "30" however that is subject to change.  We currently have 23, When I became Scoutmaster 3 years ago, we had 5 Scouts. 

14.           “Do you have written policies?”  (Behavior, procedure, etc.)

 YES, you should have already received a copy of them via email recently.

15.           “Is your Troop “boy-run” or “adult-run?””

A good Troop should be boy run (it may be a little rough around the edges, however that’s how they learn.)

         Troop 357 is "Scout-Run," THEY decide all activities, where to go, what to do, how to plan, when to go, why go, under the guidance of an extremely experienced corps of Adult Leaders.

16.           Are Troop Meetings & activities planned


·       by the boys?


·       For a full year?


·       At a patrol leaders meeting?



17.           What kind of equipment do you have?  Is it in good shape?  Do you have enough if (10-20) Webelos were to join your Troop?

 We have enough equipment to take care of an army.  35-40 would be a good guess.  However, all adult leaders have plenty of additional equipment to fulfill any needs.

18.           Are your Scouts able to balance Boy Scouts with other activities such as sports, band, church, etc.?

         Yes, we have several Advanced Placement Students in our Troop, as well as Orchestra Members, Little Leaguers, Kayakers, Church Members, and many more.  It is up to the Scout to set his priorities, and know that Troop 357 will always be here to help him whenever needed.

19.           How active is your Troop at District and Council events?

We routinely attend District Events if they do NOT conflict with the Plans & Program of our Scouts.  Some Troops ONLY participate in District & Council Events, we go beyond.


20.           How many current leaders are trained in:


·       Youth Protection?

7 Uniformed Leaders

·        Scoutmaster Fundamentals?

5 Uniformed Leaders

·        Woodbadge?

                 4 Leaders


However, Troop 357 takes it a bit farther with our Scoutmaster being an Eagle Scout, 29 year Veteran in scouting, Scouter's Training Award & District Award of Merit Recipient.  Upcoming Awards include the Distinguished Scoutmaster's Award and Scouter's "Key."

21.           What are the expectations/requirements of new adults/parents to this Troop- as assistant leaders, committee members, special event chairpersons, event workers, merit badge counselors?

 "A Perfect World" would have at least one parent from each family involved to the very best of their abilities in Troop 357.  We do realize that this can be next to impossible for some, especially single parents.  We are sensitive to the needs of our Troop's Families, and appreciate any and all time that they can give to their Scout and the Troop

22.           Does the Troop pay for any/all adult leader registration and training?

 Troop 357 will pay the Registration for Leaders whose attendance is well above 50% of all Troop Activities.  This is Kept track on a Troopmaster Software Database.  Training is routinely left to the Leader, since it will then be a Tax Write-Off.  As are most Adult Leader Expenses.

23.           How many leaders routinely attend Round Table?

 We routinely have 4 Troop leaders in attendance between the Roundtable, Sisilija Chapter OA Meeting and Scoutmasters Session.

24.           How do you feel about a Scout (and parent) visiting a meeting unannounced?

 Troop 357 has an "Open Door Policy" where Parents & Guests are allowed at any time.  If they wish to attend a campout, we must ask them to register as an official leader for insurance purposes.  

Troop 357 Does NOT put on a Scouting Show for guests, we are a very busy troop where our Advancement, Community Service and Unit Awards should tell the story.


Yours in Scouting Spirit,
John M. Papp
"Nendawen" ~The Torch Carrier "He who shows the Way."
Eagle Scout Class of 1977
Scoutmaster of Troop 357 Rotterdam-Schenectady, New York
2001 National Jamboree "Jambo TODAY" Newspaper Photo Editor
Schenectady District Email Administrator
Web Sites at:        &
"Since 9-11, America is coming back to the values that scouting has never left!"
~J.M. Papp
"Troop 357, Where MEMORIES are Made, and TRADITION is Lived."