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 more than 100 years old, and is 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 from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. in the basement at Union Cong.

At our meetings, boys learn new skills, plan and prepare for upcoming camping trips, work on advancement through the ranks, and play games. Scouts lead the meetings, and older scouts hold many different leadership positions in the patrols and the troop.

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.

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!

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.

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.