Tay House was founded in 1919 with the philosophy that scouts can learn best when they learn from each other. Today we follow many of the same principles established by the troops founders to offer a boy-run program that is fun but challenging and that encourages scouts to develop confidence, self-reliance, and responsibility as they take on progressive leadership responsibilities within the troop.
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. This is done through a program of outdoor skills development. Advancement serves as a positive reinforcement to encourage scouts to continually challenge themselves.
They say that three quarters of Scouting is Outing, and this is something that Tay House takes very seriously. Tay House scouts participate in at least five campouts per year, spend up to two weeks at our summer camp in the Adirondacks each summer, and may participate in outdoor activities such as canoe excursions at the Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, backpacking treks at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, or tours of places like Gettysburg, the Badlands, and Moab.
Tay House prides itself on being entirely boy run. Our youth leaders are responsible for the planning and execution of all troop activities and for the teaching of scouting skills to their peers. Adult volunteers provide mentorship and handle the day-to-day administrative needs of the troop, while all of decisions concerning the troop's program come from the scouts.
Tay House uses a progressive leadership model in which scouts who show readiness for leadership positions are nominated and elected by their peers during monthly elections. Leadership positions range from Patrol Leader, where a scout is responsible for organizing a group of younger scouts, to Junior and Senior Leader, where a scout takes on a major role in running the troop, to Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, where a scout plans and executes the troops meetings and activities. At all levels, our youth leaders are responsible teaching scout skills to those they lead and mentoring them in their own leadership development.
Tay House relies on a volunteer staff of experienced scoutmasters to oversee the troop's administration and to mentor and guide our youth leaders. Many of our staff are former Tay House Scouts and several are Eagle Scouts, all of whom are dedicated to the success of the troop. In much the same way that our youth leaders teach scouting and leadership skills to our leaders, the experienced staff and active alumni of the troop guide the newer staff, ensuring that a strong leadership foundation will support the troop for many years to come.
Tay House conducts two fundraisers each year. The first is a wreath sale that begins in mid-October. Scouts take orders for wreaths made from a unique blend of balsam and white pine. The wreaths are assembled on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and scouts deliver them to their customers during the following week. A portion of the proceeds from each wreath sold goes into an account that the scout can use to defer the cost of scouting-related activties.
Our second fundraiser is a Christmas Tree Sale held on the campus of Asbury First Methodist Church on East Ave. The troop has run the sale for more than 50 years and for many it was our only fundraiser. The sale site is set up on the Saturday following Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas Eve. Scouts and parents are asked to work a set number of 2-1/2 hour shifts during the sale.
Parents are asked to support their scouts' involvement with the troop. Parents are expected to provide transportation to meetings and campouts, to assist with fundraising, and to provide their sons' with a uniform, camping gear, and other supplies needed for full involvement with the troop.
Parents are encouraged to become active with the troop's parents' committee. The parents' committee meets monthly and helps direct the troop by providing feedback and assistance to the staff. The parents' committee also conducts boards of review of scouts advancing to new ranks and coordinates the troop's fundraising efforts.