Scoutmaster Conferences are a great time to go over the goals and dreams of a Scout and to encourage them on, however, it seems that a lot of times that once a Scout leaves the conference, it is out of sight, out of mind, especially at the earlier ranks. The first year of a Scout is typically one of learning what it means to be a Scout, learning basic skills and checking off basic requirements, but once a scout gets to First Class, the program changes a little bit for them and a lot of times the scout (and often their parents) aren’t really sure what to make of it.
Here’s a letter that I give to Scouts when they earn First Class to help them understand and remember a lot of the things we go over in the conference and also to remind them of why things are the way that they are:
So you earned your First Class? You’ve learned the basic Scout Skills to call yourself a real Boy Scout? Congratulations! Keep working on those so you can master them and teach them to other Scouts that will need your help.
Do you want to move forward and see if you have what it takes to be a Star Scout? There is a big difference in getting Star compared to what it took to get First Class. To earn Star, you will have to want to earn it! You are going to have to find opportunities on your own many times to fill the requirements. The first thing you’ll need is a plan! Read through the requirements in your handbook, after thinking about what you need to do, start working on a plan. You can ask for help in writing your plan. Ask the Scoutmaster or one of the Assistant Scoutmasters, check with Adults you know in the Committee, work with your parents, or check with some of your Scout friends that have already earned Star about how best to proceed. Take any and all of their advice and start making your plans.
You will need to earn 6 Merit Badges (4 Eagle Required) to earn Star, which ones do you want to earn? When are you going to earn them by? How are you going to earn them… Summer Camp, Orlando Science Center, need a Merit Badge Counselor? We have a lot of info on how and where to find Merit Badge classes in the Committee Room, ask for help!
To earn First Class you needed to learn how to be a Scout. Now to earn Star, you’ll have to learn how to be a Servant Leader. Serve the troop in a leadership position for 4 months. Check with your Senior Patrol Leader to find out where the Troop has leadership needs. Let him know what you are interested in and especially if you have skills that will help you in a specific position. Find a way to show the SPL that you can be depended on in whatever Leadership Position you are hoping for. Once you’ve been assigned your position, spend some time with the ASPL to find out exactly how you need to serve in your new position.
Start thinking about what Service Project you want to work on for your Star rank. You’ve heard about the Eagle Project? The Star Project will help you practice for that! Work with your Patrol Leader and see if you can help lead a Patrol Service project. Your patrol needs to do a couple of these every three months, so you have a lot of opportunities. Patrol Service projects usually only last an hour or so, but if you are the leader, all the time you spend for planning the project can be counted in your service hours. You can easily earn your hours on a single project!
There are more requirements, like showing Scout Spirit and being active in the Troop, but you’ll do this just by being the type of Scout that wants to earn Star, right? Check out your handbook for specifics!
Set your goals, work hard and find some mentors to check your progress with and you’ll be there before you know it.
Let me know if you need help or have questions!
PDF Version: First Class Letter