Troop Bylaws

Bylaws of Troop 400

Troop 400 is a camping, backpacking, and canoeing troop. Camp-outs are scheduled once a month, including a summer camp and a biannual 50-miler. This level of activity provides a rich variety of planning and camping experience for the Scouts who have ample opportunity for advancement in rank. However, this extensive camping schedule also requires active support by each Scout and his family. Families are needed to help in the areas of transportation, camp-out supervision, adult committee functions, and funding.

Sponsor / Chartering Organization

The troop's sponsor organization is the Bethel Lutheran Church, at 10181 Finch Avenue, Cupertino.

Registration of the Troop

The Troop operates under a charter from the Polaris District of the Santa Clara County Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  As such, the Troop will follow the rules and policies of the BSA.  The charter is renewed each December. Registration fees for Scouts will be paid from the troop treasury when (1) the Scout has participated in at least 60% of the camp-outs during the previous registration period, and (2) the Scout's family has supported Troop activities. The troop will pay for one subscription to Boy’s Life Magazine per family for Scouts that want the subscription and meet the registration renewal test.

Renewal fees for active, participating adults will be paid from the troop treasury. Adult participation for this payment will be at least six (6) committee meetings and at least three (3) other scouting events (e.g., courts of honor, fund raisers, etc.).

Joining and Maintaining Membership in Troop 400

To join the Troop, a boy must meet the BSA Boy Scout joining requirements which are currently defined as:  Completed the 5th grade, or is 11 years old, or has earned the Arrow of Light, but is under 18 years old.  Prior to a boy joining the Troop, he shall   have attended at least one troop meeting. New Scouts must fill out a youth application and pay for their first year district registration and Boys' Life Magazine (not pro-rated). District registration for adults is optional if they serve on the committee, but required if they serve as Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster. Adults registering for the first time must fill out an adult application and pay for their first year registration (which includes a subscription to Scouting magazine and the Santa Clara County Council newspaper, the Santa Clarion).

Prior to joining, we ask that a Scout and his parent/guardian meet with a representative of the Committee. During this meeting, the Bylaws will be discussed. The Scout and the parent will be given a copy of the Bylaws and agree to support the Troop as indicated in the Bylaws. Tentative commitments should be made that reflect current troop needs. We allow for flexibility in participation, but we do need support from every family to maintain our extensive camping program in a manner that is fair to our Scoutmasters and other Troop families.

Inactivity or inappropriate conduct of Scouts will be handled by the Patrol Leaders Council (PLC), and reviewed by the Scoutmaster and the Committee whose action is final. Unexcused inactivity of the parent will be handled by the Committee and may result in suspension of the scout.

Scout Participation and Responsibilities

Troop Meetings are held on Monday evenings except on PLC meeting nights and holiday Mondays. Meetings are held 7:00 to 8:30p.m., at the Bethel Lutheran Church, in Torvend Hall.  The church is located at 10181 Finch Ave., Cupertino, off Stevens Creek Blvd. and opposite Cupertino High School.

Scouts plan Troop activities that include camp-outs, programs, fundraisers, and other special activities.  The following list was developed by the Scout Patrol Leader Council (PLC) to describe what constitutes an active scout as required for rank advancement. They feel an active Scout will participate in these ways:

1.     Attend over 50% of the meetings.

2.     Attend the Courts of Honor, which are held once each quarter.

3.     In addition to regular Scout meetings, each Scout is required to attend one patrol meeting per month for camp-out and program preparation, and at least one campout per quarter.

4.     Keep dues current.  Scout dues are $10.00 per month and are payable at the first monthly meeting.  Alternatively, scouts may participate in the aluminum-can drive. Dues may be paid in cash or transferred from the Scout's individual savings account (ISA). Scouts who are behind more than $10.00 before a camp-out or other non-meeting event will not be allowed to participate in that event.

5.     Support aluminum can pickups as scheduled by the troop.  (See "Aluminum Pickup Days" Information in the last section of the Bylaws, "Funding Troop 400 Activities.")

6.     Support other fundraisers and service projects of Troop 400.

7.     Wear the Scout Uniform at all Scout activities.

There will be NO hazing or initiation at any Troop 400 function.

The Official Boy Scout Handbook published by the Boy Scouts of America will used to guide Troop activity. Every Scout should have a copy, and should bring it to each meeting.

The Troop will be limited to as many patrols as the Committee feels the Scout leader and staff can provide with good programming.  Scouts plan Troop activities, which include camp-outs, programs, fundraisers, and other special activities.

Scout elections for Senior Patrol Leader and Patrol Leaders will be held the first meeting in June and the first meeting in December. Each new Patrol Leader will be furnished with a copy of the official Junior Leader Handbook. Patrol Leaders are required to hold at least one patrol meeting per month.

Adult Participation and Responsibilities

The Parents' Committee supports activities planned by the Scouts. The Committee is responsible for the Troop, selects the Scoutmaster and provides resources to the Patrol Leaders' Council for programs, transportation and fund raising. A standard group insurance policy to cover registered Scouts and Scouters is provided for by the Santa Clara County Council of Boy Scouts of America through Troop Chartering/Registration. The Committee, as needed, will publish a newsletter. The Troop Adult Committee will maintain Uniform Exchange. The District, Council, and National Scout organizations exist to assist the Committee.

After analyzing the needs of the Troop for adult support, the Committee provides these guidelines for participation. If each family can voluntarily help in these ways, it will free our Scoutmasters to work with the Scouts on their programs and camp-outs.   Also, it is felt that this level of participation is fair to each family. We try to provide year-round camping for our Scouts. This takes a lot of adult support.

1.     Each family should take at least one Troop support function and attend adult committee meetings on a regular basis.
The Committee is made up of the parents and/or guardians of the youth members, with one vote per family.  District registration for committee members is optional. There may be two family members on the committee if both are registered and adult volunteers. The Committee Chairman will fill troop committee positions as necessary. Families of new Scouts will be advised of existing vacancies when they join. Many positions do not involve extensive work.  Committee meetings are held concurrently with a Troop meeting, usually the first meeting of each month, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Meetings will be at Bethel Lutheran Church. The Telephone Committee will remind all parents of meetings.

2.     Each family should provide supervision for at least one camping activity per year.
At least two adults are required to supervise all Scouting events.  At least one of the adult leaders must be registered and at least 21 years of age.  There should be an additional adult for each 10 Scouts beyond the first 20.  We must also provide adult leadership at summer camps. If a parent is not able to supervise at camping activities, extra help in another area of parental support will always be welcome - perhaps extra driving, fund raising help, or additional committee work.

3.     Each family should drive for camp-outs (2-3 one-way trips per year).
When convenient, driving can be combined with camp-out supervision. If for some reason a driver cannot fulfill his/her committed duty for a certain trip, S/HE WILL FIND A REPLACEMENT and notify the Transportation Chair of the change.  When driving, the parent is responsible for the cost of operating their car (gas, oil, etc.).  The troop does not reimburse for these expenses.

4.     Minimum Scout-required auto insurance needs to be maintained by the parent.
All vehicles are to be covered with $50,000/$100,000 public liability and $50,000 property damage for passenger cars, station wagons and trucks. A seat belt must be available for each passenger. For any information, please contact the Transportation Chairman. To meet district regulations the Transportation Chairman must keep updated insurance forms on file for each vehicle used to transport Scouts.

5.     Each family should attend and support Courts of Honor.
These are quarterly meetings that honor the Scouts for their scouting efforts. This recognition also extends to parents.

Funding Troop Activities

The Adult Committee provides a Treasurer and maintains a bank account. The Troop Treasurer collects dues and camp-out money from the Scouts and maintains three types of accounts:

1.     Each Scout has an Individual Savings Account (ISA) into which his dues are paid, as well as his personal share of fundraisers that are allocated to the ISA. Funds in the ISA are to be used for scouting activity expenses. Transfers are made for dues and personal scouting expenses as authorized by the Scout. If a Scout leaves the Troop, his ISA funds will be contributed to the general fund in good will for the benefits that he has derived from Troop activities.

2.     The Troop receives money from fundraisers and Scout dues to provide for general operating expenses of the Troop. These include: merit badges and other recognition items, camping fees, camping equipment, film and processing for records of activities, some food for special events, postage for mailings, re-registration of qualifying Scouts and adults as specified in the Bylaws, etc.

3.     The Troop acts as a "bank" for funds deposited that will later go directly to pay for summer camp, family camp-outs, and food for monthly camp-outs, etc. These 'pass through" funds are not really income or expense to the Troop.

The troop does not receive any direct funding from the local Council.  Dues provide less than half of the general funding of Troop 400. Additional funding is needed.  This is gained from the Aluminum can recycling, and other fund raising activities of the troop.

Aluminum Pickup Days are usually the first troop meeting of each quarter. Each Scout is responsible for collecting aluminum can donations. One half of the money collected through recycling efforts goes directly into the Troop Treasury for general expenses such as camping fees, rank and merit badges, camping equipment, etc. The other half is allocated to ISA accounts on the basis of shares. Each 30-gallon garbage bag full of ‘bent over’ cans that are delivered is good for three months’ worth of dues.

DeAnza Flea Market sales and other fund raisers also bring revenue to the Troop and a scout’s ISA.

Individual Scouts are responsible for food expense and summer camp fees. Transportation costs are handled individually, either by driving to campouts or by paying bus charges when applicable.

The Santa Clara County Council of the Boys Scouts of America is funded solely through Friends of Scouting and Popcorn sales.  The Council supports scouting through the operation of local camps, leadership training, and other methods.  The annual FOS campaign is how the troop helps fund the local Council.

(Approved 8/5/02; Fees updated 12/7/05)