Question #4—Doesn't T97 support the local district?
Short answer—Yes we do. Very much. But it's worth remembering that local districts (and councils) exist to serve troops, not the other way around. As a troop, we want to provide the best possible Scouting experience for our Scouts. That certainly will include a number of district and council activities.
Here are just a few of the ways we 'support' the district (and council), and how our Scouts benefit:
Friends of Scouting (FOS)—We hold an FOS drive every year to help raise funds for the Longs Peak Council. We have averaged over $1000/year for the past 30 years.
Camporees—We don't go to every camporee, but we typically attend one a year. There are just too many exciting places to go camping. Camporees are a chance to see other troops in action and to practice Scout skills.
Adult Leader Training—We expect all our uniformed adult leaders to be fully trained. This training is provided by our local district. In addition, a number of our adults have served on the district training team to help train other leaders.
Boy Scout Popcorn Sales—Many of our Scouts want to sell BSA popcorn to help reduce their Scouting costs. Longstanding troop policy is that each salesman receives 100% of his popcorn sales profits into his 'Scout account' (the troop doesn't take a 'cut').
Summer Camp—We attend a week of summer camp at a BSA camp every year. For variety and interest, we typically rotate among several nearby Colorado Scout camps, and occasionally go out of state.
Merit Badge University (MBU)—This is an extremely popular activity offered by our district every year, drawing hundreds of Scouts, including Scouts from other districts. What most troops don't know is that Troop 97 leaders started the first MBU about 20 years ago, and our leaders continue to run and staff MBU year after year. The MBU is officially sponsored by the Fort Collins Rotary Club, but every annual MBU chairman, from the first down to today, has been a present or former leader of Troop 97! And a large percentage of the merit badge counselors who teach at MBU come from our troop.
District Leadership—Beside training staff and Merit Badge University, some of our adults have held other district leadership positions, including recruiting and leader roundtables.