BSA Troop # 13

About Troop 13

Welcome to Troop 13, Montclair, New Jersey

Troop 13 is a great, energetic, enthusiastic troop of scouts, ranging in age from 11 to 17. Our troop is the oldest in Montclair, chartered chartered out of Union Congregational Church, but is open to all boys, not just church members. We meet every week, from September through June, on Mondays at 7 pm on the lawn in front of Union Cong, or if weather doesn't cooperate, on the porch or in the Scout room in the church. 

At our meetings, boys learn new skills, plan and prepare for upcoming camping trips, work on advancement through the ranks, and play games and have skills contest, but mostly they have fun. Our troop is boy-led, meaning Scouts lead the meetings, and older scouts hold many different leadership positions in the patrols and the troop. Adult leaders are there to advise and offer help, but mostly stay out of the way and let the boys run the show. 

Troop 13 goes on lots of trips throughout the year, and camps out pretty much every month, rain or shine, from September through June. We take several trips to Camp Glen Gray in northern New Jersey—for a shooting weekend in the fall, an Arctic Challenge winter camping skills competition in January, a Merit Badge fair in spring, and just for general camping and skill building (orienteering, for example) year round.

On camping trips, boys sleep in tents no matter what the weather is like. On trips to Glen Gray and many others, the boys also plan and cook all the meals. The troop, and all its activities, are as boy-led as possible. Troop 13 maintains a cabin at Camp Glen Gray for adult leaders.

In February, the troop usually goes on a ski trip. We take a historic trip in April, and past destinations have included Gettysburg, PA, Washington DC and West Point, NY. In June we usually go canoeing down the Delaware River. The balance of the year is filled with various biking, backpacking and hiking trips.

Every July the troop does a week of summer camp at Camp Aquehonga in the Catskills in New York. Boys sleep in tents, cook meals, go swimming, fishing and boating, and work on merit badges and other skills. In addition, every few years, when we get an interested group together, some of our older, more advanced scouts go on other summer high adventure camping trips, such as to Philmont in Arizona or Floodwood in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

The troop has also taken many high adventure trips, such as to the Philmont Scout Reservation, where our crews went on an 80 mile backpacking trek through the mountains of New Mexico. Our scouts have also done 40- and 50 -mile canoe treks at Camp Floodwood, in New York's Adirondack Park wilderness.

Troop 13 celebrates scout achievement at Courts of Honor throughout the year and at a family dinner/Court of Honor in April. Those who attain the Eagle Rank also have special Courts of Honor.


The Scouting Experience

At Troop 13, we have been very lucky because we have had many boys join as 11-year-old scouts, and advance all the way through the Boy Scout ranks to attain the Eagle rank. To reach Eagle, scouts must advance by completing work on each rank, and eventually earn 21 merit badges. In addition, to become an Eagle, scouts must demonstrate scout spirit, an ideal attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership, and complete an Eagle service project. Becoming an Eagle Scout requires lots of hard work and dedication, but it is the highest rank in scouting. Only four percent of all Boy Scouts ever attain Eagle!

All scouts who make Eagle must complete an Eagle service project they plan, lead and carry out with the help of crews of scouts. We've had a large number of our scouts earn Eagle recently, and they projects they've dreamed up and done have been wonderful for the community: a memorial arboretum for a much-loved police officer who died early in the pandemic, a patio and seating for teaching fidgety kids outside at a temple, a much-needed irrigation system for a community garden/farm, a memorial rock garden for frequent guests at a food pantry who feared they'd be forgotten when they died. Those are just a few, but we are proud of the many contributions our scouts have made to the community through these wonderful projects and many more. 

Many boys join Boy Scouting and don’t become Eagle Scouts, but have a great experience, doing outdoor activities such as camping and hiking, and enjoying the camaraderie of being in a troop.

To join, a boy must be 11 years old or have finished 5th grade. Many boys cross over from Cub Scout troops, but some who join have never been Cubs before. Boys come to our troop with a wide range of interests—from outdoor activities, sports, music and technology. There is no one type of typical boy in Boy Scouts or in our troop.

Our troop charges dues every year for any scout, and most trips have a small fee as well. However, camperships are always available for families in need. We do not want any boy who wants to join to not join because of cost.Please speak to the scoutmaster about a campership[ if it is needed. 

To advance through the ranks of scouting, from Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle, boys must complete a set of requirements. It takes many years and lots of hard work to move through the ranks, but in the process the scouts master many skills, gain an incredible amount of knowledge, and grow in authority and confidence. Besides that, they have lots of fun with other kids their own age, and learn from older boys.


Earning Merit Badges

Scouts can earn merit badges in areas that interest them, and there are currently more than 100 for boys to choose from. To become an Eagle Scout a boy needs to get 13 badges from a list of 21, which include such basic Scout skills as camping, Citizenship, Cooking, Swimming and First Aid, to name a few. But there are many other Merit Badges that are fun to work on and appeal to the wide range of interests scouts want to explore—from Archeology to Small Boat Sailing to Amphibian and Reptile Study to Rifle Shooting, Geocaching and Space Exploration.


What Can Parents Do?

First and foremost, parents can get their scouts to meetings and camping trips. They can carpool on trips and stay and help out. They can organize and supervise trips. They can help out with Courts of Honor and fundraising. Parents can serve as Merit Badge counselors in their fields of expertise. They can serve on the Troop Committee. In addition, parents can serve as Assistant Scoutmasters. Adults can participate in the troop with as much or as little time as they can spare. But parental involvement is a big key to success for most Boy Scouts. And Troop 13 always welcomes new parent volunteers.


If you have any questions about Troop 13, please email our Scoutmaster, Michael Bateman at scoutmaster