Sponsorship & Membership
Troop 61 of Milwaukee, WI is sponsored by Mother of Good Counsel Catholic church and school. We accept scouts of all faiths and from any school. It is not necessary to belong to MGC to be a member of the Troop.
Our meetings are held every Friday evening starting at 7:00pm at the scout house located in the parking lot of Mother Good Counsel at 69th and Lisbon Ave.
Parents new to Troop 61 often ask us to explain Open Advancement. They see it listed as a Friday night meeting theme, and on the Calendar in the weekly eBuggle newsletter. Open advancement is a type of troop meeting without a specific merit badge theme.
During these meetings, scouts in 5th, 6th, and 7th grades can work on requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks. There are over 45 requirements they must complete for these ranks -- from learning compass, knots, first aid, to a wide range of other outdoor skills. Most of the requirements are hands on. Older scouts often teach the younger scouts.
Scouts in 8th grade and above can most often work on any merit badge most often elect to work on merit badges required to become an Eagle Scout, such as Communications, Citizenship in the Nation, or the other 10 that are required.
High school age scouts often elect to help teach skills as well as work on Eagle badges.
Because we are a larger Troop and because we never know who will attend a Friday night meeting, we do not plan a ridged schedule for Open Advancement meetings. Rather, we allow scouts to work on whatever next requirement / merit badge interests them. In this way, scouts are self-directed, and (hopefully) more engaged in their own learning. Scouts track their own progress on their own clipboard which is signed by the adult or junior leader who taught the skill. It's a win-win for everyone.
Open advancement meetings often look like organized chaos, because 30-40 scouts are going in different directions, but if you wait for it, soon you will see groups form and learning begin. Often there are 10 or more groups working on different skills. Scouts are empowered to advance at their own pace. During Open Advancement meetings, older scouts get credit for showing leadership skills as Troop Instructors (plus they are secretly re-enforcing their own scouting skills by teaching them to others), and younger scouts benefit from the positive role models of our large junior leader corps.
I hear, I know
I see, I remember
I do, I understand
Troop 61 uses a hands-on approach to teaching the skills of scouting -- from knot tying to advanced first aid. During our unique "open advancement" troop meetings, scouts of any age or rank can work on whatever they need next to advance. We developed a system that allows each scout to track their own progress. This puts the responsibility for advancement and learning soundly in the hands of each scout -- where it belongs. Parents who visit during an "open advancement" meeting often comment that it looks like organized chaos to see 40 scouts moving in all directions like a bee hive. Then magically, everyone (well almost everyone) matches up with an instructor or self directed lesson kits, and spends the next hour learning a new skill. Our system effectively deals with the reality that at any given moment, each scouts may need something different. Scouts who feel they control their own pace of advancement will be more invested in learrning.
We know that boys from 6th grade through high school lead busy lives and cannot attend every troop meeting or event, yet most wish to remain involved in scouting, and work to achieve the highest rank scouting offers -- Eagle Scout. Our philosophy is to allow scouts to continue advancing and learning new skills, no matter their schedule, as long as they maintain a commitment to be a part of scouting. We believe in a "come when you can" appoarch. This flexibility and understanding offered to scouts and their families is one of the reasons we continue to grow and thrive as a Troop. It's also respectful of your busy lives. We know scouting isn't the only thing you have going on.
The Troop eNewletter, the eBuggle is published weekly on Thursday evenings. We take pride in offering thorough and detailed communications with parents and scouts. We also provide detailed flyers for every event and take the time to answer emails from parents. The secret of a good scout troop? Plan an active program, have strong committee support, and make sure parents know the details of what’s going on. (Of course, the scouts need to know too, but really parent awareness is the #1 key to a strong scout troop.) Troop 61 has a well deserve and hard earned reputation for being “well organized.” This is because we have over 40 parents and adult leaders who each do a bit to help out, and we take pride in making sure everyone knows (within reason) what's going on.
One of many benefits of being a Boy Scout is the many opportunities to learn leadership skills. Scouts of Troop 61 can learn leadership in a wide variety of ways. Leadership roles are tailored to each boy's personality and strengths.
Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) - Plans activities and meetings for the year, runs Summer Camp, leads many Troop Meetings, elected by his fellow scouts
Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL) - Assists SPL, steps in to Troop leadership role when SPL is not present. Elected by his fellow scouts.
Troop Instructor - Teaches younger scouts the skills of Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class. Assists with the teaching of many merit badges. The Troop Instructors are the backbone of Troop 61. We could not function without this contribution from our strong group of older (8th grade through high school) scouts.
News Anchor - Provides leadership and creativity to the summer camp news team. Lead writer for the daily news show at each evening's campfire. Skilled in news gathering, writing, theater, comedy, restraint, and insights in personality.
Den Chief - Works with our feeder Cub Packs to provide support and role models to their dens.
Librarian - Keeps our large collection of books in good order.
Patrol Leader - Works with the SPL to plan all Troop activities. Leads his patrol of 6-8 fellow scouts during campouts, activities, and selected meetings. Elected by his fellow scouts.
Troop 61 has been blessed for many years to retain a large number of high school age scouts. As mentioned above, these scouts are the backbone of our Troop. They are our instructors, our troop leaders, and many become role models for the younger scouts. If they maintain a bit of focus and discipline, they often become Eagle Scouts. One of the perks they enjoy each year is a two week long High Adventure Trip (HAT). For a cost usually under $400, they travel thousands of miles to places like Banff Canada, Zion National Park, Yellowstone, Nova Scotia, or the Florida keys. The HAT is often regarded as the trip these scouts remember for the rest of their lives -- a trip they will never repeat.