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Welcome New Members


TROOP and CREW 153

Sponsored by the Antioch United Methodist Church on the Rock


Dear New Member Parent:


Welcome to Troop and Crew 153!   The objective of the BSA program is to develop character, citizenship, and personal fitness qualities among our youth by developing leadership skills and focusing on a challenging outdoor program filled with exciting adventures.  Troop and Crew 153 has a very active outdoor program, built around monthly campouts and extraordinary activities.  Since we offer both the Boy Scout Troop and Venturing programs, our scouts can stay in the same Unit until they reach the age of 21.  This allows us to retain the older scouts to mentor the younger scouts for an additional 3 years.  We also offer a high adventure program for those scouts that can meet the requirements of a high adventure activity (regardless of age).


Leadership is one of the more important skills that the Scouting program teaches.  We strive to let the Scouts run their own program as much as possible.  The Scouts conduct weekly Unit meetings and take an active role in organizing and running all troop/crew campouts and activities.  Activities and meetings are planned by the Scouts during the annual planning session and refined to detail during the monthly Patrol Leader’s Council (PLC) meetings.


Parents are expected to provide guidance for things the Scouts cannot yet do (such as driving, trip planning, and adult supervision, etc.)  BSA regulations require a minimum of two adults on most activities.  For safety and development reasons, we encourage all parents to go through some training, which includes youth protection.  It is important to realize that all of the adults in Troop and Crew 153 are volunteers, not trained professionals.


Troop/Crew 153 is sponsored by the United Methodist Church of Antioch.  You do not have to be a church member or a Methodist to be a member of our Unit.   We enjoy their sponsorship and demonstrate our appreciation by providing service hours to the church at least once a year.  For the most part, we rely on the work of parents in order to present a positive and successful program.  Adult registration with the Boy Scouts of America is $15.00 per year.  This includes the cost for National registration, Scouter Magazine, and the local Council’s Newsletter (Smoke Signals).  Registration ensures that you are included in the BSA liability insurance policy.  This serves as an umbrella policy that supplements your own auto and homeowners insurance policies.


Troop/Crew 153 Parent’s Committee meets at 7:00 PM on the first Wednesday of each month, during the regular troop meetings.  All parents are encouraged to attend, find out what is going on, ask questions, and get involved in the areas that you feel that you can help.   Special Parent’s meetings may be called to discuss special activities or committee reorganization.


First Step

Fill out the BSA membership application for your son(s); and for each parent that desires to be member of the Parent’s committee!


The annual BSA membership fee for Troop 153 is $125.00 ($73.00 for Troop Registration and $52.00 for Annual Dues) for the first registered Scout in the family, and $110.00 ($58.00 for Troop Registration and $52.00 of Annual Dues) for each additional Scout.  The registration fee for crew members, between the ages of 18-20, is $40.00 per year.  Registration fees are due and payable each November during the Court of Honor.   This fee covers your son’s “National BSA Membership Fee”, twelve months subscription to Boys Life Magazine (one per family), certain patches, awards, and some event costs.  Fees are prorated for those who join mid-year.

Each Scout is encouraged to purchase a new troop t-shirt each year for the price of $15.00 per shirt.


Second Step

After registering, you will need to purchase your son’s uniform.  These items are available locally at the Sports Chalet in Antioch; or at the BSA Council office in Pleasant Hill.  Please purchase the full uniform, including official Scout cap, shirt, Scout pants, belt and socks.  Most Scouts start off purchasing the summer uniform (short sleeve shirt and short scout pants).  The troop will provide the basic neckerchief, neckerchief slide, and Boy Scout Handbook upon bridging from Cub Scouts or joining the troop.


Work with your son to understand the joining requirements (see page 4 of the Boy Scout Handbook).  When your son is ready, he should contact the Scoutmaster and demonstrate his mastery of these requirements.  He will then be presented with the rank of Scout, and earn his first move on the troop advancement board.


Troop-Crew Meetings

Troop/Crew 153 meetings are held on Wednesdays from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at the Church on the Rock in Antioch.  Your son should come dressed in his Scout uniform (shirt, neckerchief, hat, and belt).  Scout pants and official scout socks will be required for uniform inspections, Board of Reviews, Scoutmaster Conferences, the Camporee, Summer Camp, the quarterly Court of Honor, and special events designated by the Scoutmaster.  Your son should also bring his Scout Handbook to every meeting and campout in order to get various requirement signed off as he completes them.  Be sure to write your son’s name on his book and on all articles of clothing.  Periodically, you should make a photo copy of your son’s advancement record in his Scout Handbook (just in case he loses his book).


You are encouraged to come and participate in the general troop meetings.  Help out when you can, learn a skill with your son, or just kick back and observe.  If you have a special talent or skill, please consider sharing your knowledge.  During regular troop/crew meetings and outings, Troop Guides (senior scouts), and Assistant Scoutmasters will generally be available to work one-on-one with your son on rank advancement.



A Scout should earn a minimum of one rank during each twelve-month-period beginning from his date of joining until he reaches First Class.  An active Scout will have at least two opportunities a year to work on every requirement for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class.  Some Scouts have become First Class within their first year.


Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class requirements can all be worked on at the same time, but a Scout cannot receive Second Class without first completing Tenderfoot, or First Class without first completing Second Class.  After First Class, a Scout should earn at least three to four merit badge per year. It is the responsibility of the parents to keep informed of their son’s advancement progress. Requirements in the Scout Handbook may only be signed off by Troop Guides, Eagle Scouts, Junior Assistant Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, and the Scoutmaster.  The troop maintains a current list of Merit Badge counselors that have been approved by the Black Diamond District.  If there are any questions, the parent or Scout should contact the Advancement Chairperson, Assistant Scoutmasters, or the Scoutmaster during regular troop meetings.


Scoutmaster’s Conference

At the completion of the requirements for each rank, you son must take the initiative to inform the Scoutmaster of his progress and to schedule a Scoutmaster’s Conference. The Scoutmaster Conference is usually completed at regular Troop/Crew meetings and outings, time permitting.  Full Scout uniforms (including Scout pants and socks) must be worn for the Scoutmaster’s Conference and the Board of Review.  Each Scout is also required to have his Scout Handbook in his possession for inspection by the Scoutmaster and Board members.


Board of Review

A Board of Review must be scheduled with the Advancement Chairperson at least one week in advance. Board of Reviews are routinely conducted and available on the 2nd and 3rd Wednesdays at regular Troop meetings. Full Scout uniforms, including Scout pants and socks, must be worn. The Scout Handbook must be completely signed off, including the Scoutmaster’s Conference, before a Board of Review can be held.  The Board of Review is usually conducted by the Advancement Chairperson and members from the Parent’s Committee.


Court of Honor

Every three months, Scouts are recognized for their hard work at the Court of Honor.  Merit Badges, ranks, and other special awards are awarded at this event.  The Court of Honor is an important family event, and all family members are welcome to attend.   Scouts are required to be in full uniform (including Scout pants and socks).  Scouts with Merit Badges should also wear their sash.  Refreshments are usually provided at the conclusion of the Court.


Outings and Activities

A sign-up list will be circulated during regular troop/crew meetings for up-coming outings and special activities.  Only Scouts and adults that have pre-registered and paid for the event can go on the outing.   Each year the troop/crew will host 1 or 2 events that family members can attend.  Most overnight outings are limited to Scouts, members of the Uniform Leader’s Council, participating parents, and/or necessary drivers.



Weekend outings usually start at the Church on the Rock at the time designated on the Outing Information slip.  Outing Information and Permission slips are typically distributed during the meeting before the outing. Permission slips must be signed by one parent and submitted to the Trek Leader or Event Coordinator prior to departure.  Please check with the Trek Leader or the Event Coordinator on the day of departure to confirm the date and time of return.  Unless otherwise specified on the Outing Information slip, the Scout uniform shall be worn during the travel period of each outing (uniform shirt, cap, neckerchief, and belt).  The uniform is very important when traveling as a group.  Should an emergency occur with multiple injuries, the injured parties may be transported to several or specialty hospitals.  The uniform is a quick identity for parental and group notification from the hospital.



The approximate date and time of return will be noted on the Outing Information Slip.  Please, arrive at least 15 minutes in advance of the scheduled return time.  The leaders on the outing are often anxious to get home to their family.   Drivers will telephone parents (by cell phone) if it appears that we will be more than 30 minutes late of the scheduled return time.


Event Fees

Event and outing fees are usually self-supporting.   Fees should be paid to the Trek Leader, or the Event Coordinator, at least 10 days prior to the departure date for regular campouts.  Camporees, and summer camp fees may require pre-payment 30 to 120 days in advance.


  • Weekend campouts and outings usually cost $25 - $30 per person. Fees include the cost of food for 4 meals and campsite reservations. Fees do not include snacks or the lunch meal while being transported to and from the event.  It is recommended that your son has additional cash for stopping at fast food restaurants during the transportation process; or that you provide a sack lunch for the transportation period. Check the event permission slip for exact details. An additional $10 - $20 fuel assessment fee may be imposed on certain long distance trips to help pay for gasoline.

  • Occasionally we have weekend outings that cost more than normal due to the rental fee for special equipment, commercial fees, and lodging (ski, snowboard, snow mobile, rafting, spelunking trips, etc.).

  • Summer Camp fees vary each year ($300-$650) and are set by the camp that we are scheduled to attend.  Summer Camp fees usually require a deposit, and allow for a 60-120 day payment schedule.  A medical examination by a physician is required to attend summer camp.  Doctor appointments should be scheduled and completed by May 31.

Venture Scouting – Crew 153

Venture Crew 153 has been established to allow the older and more qualified scouts to participate in advanced and more exciting activities, which may not yet be suited for the younger scouts due to their age, size, or lack of scout skills.  Crew members include troop members 14 years of age or older.   Senior Crew members are between the ages of 18-20.


High Adventure Team Program

High Adventure activities are an integrated part of both Troop and Crew 153.  High Adventure activities will be open to all members of the troop or crew who meet the basic requirements set forth by the Trek Leader(s) for extraordinary events that require skill or endurance to safely participate in a specific designated high adventure event.


Informed Consent and Hold Harmless Agreement

Troop-Crew 153 requests that you review and sign the Informed Consent and Hold Harmless Agreement which is designed to protect the sponsor, the adult volunteer leadership, and the parent’s committee against minor or frivolous lawsuits.  Signing the agreement will still allow civil litigation for circumstances where gross negligence is clearly demonstrated.  Parents who refuse to sign the Hold Harmless Agreement may be required to attend specified functions with your son.


Order of the Arrow

The Order of the Arrow (OA) is an honor camping society within the Boy Scouts of America (separate from the troop).  Each year the youth membership of the troop selects those scouts that exemplify the Scout Oath and Law and who are willing to serve others in cheerful service.  Members of the Order of the Arrow represent the best of the youth membership and often go on to serve on staff at Camporees, Junior Leader Training sessions, District events, and Summer Camp.  Scouts must be in the Troop at least two years and have earned the rank of First Class to be eligible for selection into the OA.


Fund Raisers

Troop-Crew 153 usually has two primary fund-raisers each year (Christmas Tree recycling, and monthly Scrip).  For those Scouts who participate, fifty percent of the profits are placed in your son’s individual Scout account.  Individual accounts can be used for Scout activities and equipment.  The remaining fifty percent of profits go into the general fund to purchase and repair troop equipment.


Outdoor Equipment

As your son progresses in his outdoor skills, he will need a good sleeping bag (20 degree bag), backpack, personal eating kit, water container or water pack, and quality hiking boots, etc.   The troop and crew recommends good quality equipment that will last him a lifetime.  Good equipment can be expensive.  Borrowing equipment and shopping sales can bring the cost down substantially.  It is not necessary to purchase this equipment all at once… it should be purchased over a period of time.    Tents, patrol cooking gear, stoves, lanterns, tarps, water purifiers, axes, shovels and saws are provided by the Troop and Crew.


Every member of Troop-Crew 153 will receive a “Camping Checklist”.  Your son should refer to the list each time when packing for a campout.  Some of our parents have completed the Basic Backpacking Awareness Course offered by the Council.  They can guide you in purchasing equipment and the best place to buy it.


Cycling Adventures

As part of the routine program, Troop-Crew 153 members often engage in short-term day bike rides, long-term cycling and mountain biking events.  As your son grows older, he will need a bike with quality equipment and gears that will enable him to meet this challenge.  Please check with the senior members of the Unit before purchasing cycling equipment.


Backpacking Adventures

As part of the historic Boy Scout program, Troop-Crew 153 members will often engage in short and long-term Backpacking adventures.  Wilderness backpacking is challenging, but extremely gratifying to those who appreciate nature and wildlife.


New Scouts can easily participate in our week-end backpacking events, and will eventually grow stronger to meet the challenge of week-long mountain backpacking adventures.  Please check with the senior members of the Unit before purchasing a backpack for your son(s).


Printed Information

The latest calendar, rosters, and other printed information are up-dated quarterly and distributed at the Court of Honor.  Those families with e-mail addresses will receive more frequent up-dates.


Your Commitment

Both parents are welcome to participate in the overall troop/crew programs.  Adult attendance on campouts may be limited to members of the Uniform Leader’s Council and adults needed for transportation.  The ideals behind the Scouting program will help your son grow into a young man.  We ask that you separate yourself from your son when on outings, and allow the interchange from his peers and Unit leaders to assist with his growth.  


Summer Camp reminder – While attending his first Summer Camp, please, please, please, do not write or tell your son that you miss him, and can’t stand to be without him.   If he gets homesick, you will be required to pick him up.


Parents Committee and Adult Training

Adult assistance is always needed and appreciated on the Parent’s Committee, which meets on the first Wednesday of each month at the general troop/crew meeting.


For those inspired parents, adult training is available and continuously offered by both the Diablo Sunrise District and Mount Diablo Silverado Council.  Classes include Youth Protection, basic Adult Leader Fundamentals, Advanced Leadership (Woodbadge), University of Scouting, Backpacking, Cycling, Rock Climbing, Wilderness First Aid, Snow Camping and Paddle Sports.

You will find the Scouting program both beneficial to your son and family.  I am looking forward to working with you in the future in the development of your son.  The Scouting program in the United States has helped more than 90 million boys since its inception in 1910.  Boy Scouts of America turned 100 years old in 2010.  It is rare to hear a negative comment about the Scouting youth program.  I am sure that both your son and your family will enjoy it.  Let the adventure begin!


Dave Johnson


Revised February 2012