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Parents Information Page

This page discusses the key components of the Road to First Class (RTFC) program. It is created for parents to have a better understanding of how Scouts work to achieve the Scout badge, and the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class.
 
Road to First Class Program Overview and Objective
The Road to First Class program is a set-aside part of the troop meeting each week where the first-year Scouts of the troop (as well as those who have not made the rank of First Class) gather together to complete rank requirements up to the rank of First Class. This part of the meeting begins at 6:30 pm each Tuesday and runs for a half hour. Occasionally, Scouts will also meet during the regular troop meetings to follow up on various topics discussed previously.

Road to First Class does not meet on the last Tuesday of the month as these are set aside for troop committee meetings.
 
The goal of the Road to First Class program is to get Scouts to the rank of First Class by their second trip to Tomahawk (in their second year as a Scout).
 
Requirements are discussed and completed in a small group setting consisting of troop guides and assistant Scoutmasters working with the Scouts; groups can sometimes be as small as one-on-one. Scouts participate in a wide variety of activities, ranging from pitching tents and cooking on campouts to tying knots and demonstrating first aid. Although most requirements are normally discussed during troop meeting times, a portion of them are also done on several campouts during the year, including our Basic Skills campout in April, our week-long outing at Tomahawk Scout Reservation in July, and our Road to First Class campout in March (see below).
 
Troop guides are older Scouts within the troop, who have already made the rank of First Class, that work alongside the adult coordinators to sign off requirements. Their role is to make sure they know what to teach ahead of time so they are prepared to help Scouts complete tasks, as well as being an assistant in case a coordinator is absent. If you need to contact a troop guide or coordinator, see our contacts page.
 
Unlike in Cub Scouts, parents are not allowed to sign off their own Scout's requirements; the troop guides, assistant Scoutmasters, and the members of the troop advancement committee are the only persons allowed to sign off completed requirements.

Road to First Class Online Meeting Log and Advancement Spreadsheet
The RTFC coordinators manage and maintain an online meeting log which lists the activities that were completed at each session. The coordinators also manage an Excel spreadsheet which takes all of the Scouts' advancement records from their books and lists them in a more centralized place. Initiated in 2009, this spreadsheet makes it easier to find information about requirements which have either been signed off, or have yet to be completed. However, it should only be used as an informal planning tool, as it may have inaccurate (and more frequently, outdated) information. Both the meeting log and spreadsheet are normally updated on a weekly basis. The spreadsheet can be downloaded from the RTFC home page, or from our troop library. The date of the last uploaded spreadsheet is listed next to the download link. For privacy, each Scout is listed on the spreadsheet using a first name/last initial format. If any discrepancies are noted, please notify one of the RTFC coordinators so it can be promptly addressed.
 
Tomahawk
Each July, Troop 494 participates in a week-long summer camp program at Tomahawk Scout Reservation outside of Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Typically, the first-year Scouts will be able to complete Tenderfoot and begin working on Second Class requirements during their week at camp. They also work on the basketry and leatherwork merit badges. Although our program is highly structured in terms of doing advancement and merit badge work, there is also enough downtime for the Scouts to do their own things during open camp times. The week at Tomahawk is a great way for new Scouts to really get an experience camping away from home for a longer duration than just a typical weekend.
 
The first-year Scouts also take part in the Brownsea advancement program, which generally runs Monday through Friday at camp. This program is a supplement to what we do at the troop level, emphasizing the requirements needed for completing Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class. Specifically, this would include advanced first aid (i.e. splinting arms/legs/collarbones), conducting flag ceremonies, understanding how a compass is used, demonstrating water rescuing methods, and identifying local plants and animals.
 
Other activities that the Scouts can take part in during their week at Tomahawk include wall climbing, swimming, and horseback riding.
 
To read more information about Tomahawk, see our Tomahawk information page.
 
Scoutmaster Conferences and the Board of Review
After a Scout has completed all of the requirements necessary to achieve a rank, he schedules a meeting with the Scoutmaster, called a Scoutmaster Conference. This meeting is a one-on-one review of the requirements they have just achieved towards the rank they are working on, and prepares them for the subsequent board of review (see below). The Scoutmaster will ask various questions pertaining to the rank, including reciting from memory the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan, demonstrating a skill learned, among others. After successful completion of the Scoutmaster Conference, the Scout moves on to complete a board of review meeting.
 
The board of review meeting consists of several troop committee members who also ask similar questions to that in the Scoutmaster Conference, but at a more in-depth level. The Scout may be asked how he likes the Scouting program, and he may also be asked to perform similar tasks as done during the Scoutmaster Conference. When the Scout completes his board of review to the committee's satisfaction, he achieves the rank. The achievement is then recognized in front of the entire troop at the following court of honor.

Please remember that neither the Scoutmaster conference nor the board of review are meant to be tests; they simply are meant as ways to connect with the Scouts to review their progress and understand how they are liking the Scouting program in general. While your Scout should take time to review the material in their Scout books prior to a Conference or board of review, they should feel comfortable enough to be able to walk in without feeling overly nervous!