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Handbook

August 2002

Print this version of the Troop 86 Handbook using Adobe Reader

Troop 86 is a unit of the Boy Scouts of America - Greater Alabama Council, Vulcan District.  Our Charter Organization is St. Luke's Episcopal Church located at 3736 Montrose Road, Birmingham, Alabama.  Troop 86 has been chartered at St. Luke's since 1952.

Table of Contents

A Brief History of Scouting
Scouting Today
How to Join the Troop
Handbook
Uniform
Dues, Fees and Fundraising
Medical Forms
Troop Organization
Troop Committee
Parent/Adult Participation
Meetings
Campouts
Cooking
Advancement & Merit Badges
Service Projects
Scoutmaster Conferences
Boards of Review
Courts of Honor
Equipment Needs
Resources
Credits

 

Brief History of Scouting

Scouting was created by Sir Robert Baden-Powel in England in 1907.  B-P, as he became known, gained fame during the Boer war by defending the town of Mafeking in South Africa for a period of seven months until British reinforcements could penetrate the Boer line.  He returned to England as a military hero in 1900.  Back from the war, B-P decided to use his influence to establish a program to make boys become better men.  He used nature, pioneering, hiking and camping to attract boys.  Baden-Powell tested his theories on a group of boys at a camp on Brownsea Island off the English Coast during the summer of 1907.  This event proved so successful that scouting became an instant success in England and by 1910 had made its way to the United States.

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Scouting Today

Scouting remains virtually unchanged from its original goal of helping boys become better men.  The Scouting movement has accomplished this by helping to instill values in young men and by preparing young men to make ethical choices in their personal life as well as their professional life once they have reached adulthood.

 Scouting will help a boy grow by:

  • Building character

  • Fostering citizenship

  • Developing physical, mental and moral fitness.

These three points are called the Aims of Scouting.  The values we, as leaders and adults, try to instill in young Scouts are those found in the Scout Oath, Law, Motto and Slogan.

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How to Join the Troop

 The requirements for joining Troop 86 are:

  • Complete the fifth grade, or have earned the Arrow of Light Award through the Webelos program, or be at least 11 years old.

  • Submit a completed Boy Scout application form, a Troop 86 membership registration form, consent form and a medical form with proper signatures.  All three forms are available from the Scoutmaster.

  • Pay the annual troop fee of $75 due in September or half year dues of $40 beginning February.

  • Purchase a Boy Scout Handbook available from the Scout Service Center located at Liberty Park.

  • Complete the following requirements with the Scoutmaster:

                        1.  Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance.
                        2.  Demonstrate the Scout Sign, Salute and Handshake.
                        3.  Demonstrate tying the square knot.
                        4.  Understand and agree to live by the Scout Oath, Law, Motto and Slogan & Outdoor Code.
                        5.  Describe the Scout Badge.
                        6.  Complete the pamphlet exercises with your parents.
                        7.  Participate in a Scoutmaster Conference.

An explanation of the above items can be found on page 4 of the Boy Scout Handbook.

After having completed the above items, the boy becomes a Scout and is ready to master the Tenderfoot requirements.

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Handbook

The Scout Handbook is all important.  Advancement records are kept in the Handbook for each Scout.  There is no other record.  Should the Handbook be lost, the Scout will have to start over, "passing-off" requirements at the lowest uncompleted rank.

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Uniform

All Scouts are required to wear a Boy Scout Uniform.  Your uniform identifies you not only as a Scout, but also identifies your Troop and patrol.  Your uniform is the place to wear your rank insignia as well as patches you receive for attending various Scouting functions. 

Troop 86's uniform consists of the traditional khaki Scout shirt, Scout pants or shorts, Scout webbed belt, Scout socks, and appropriate shoes or boots.  This is considered the "Class A" uniform and is worn to all Scout meetings and functions and while traveling to and from Scout campouts.  One exception to the rule — while on campouts, it is appropriate to wear "military-type" or olive drab fatigue pants so that the Scout dress pants will not be ruined.

The Troop also offers a "Class B" printed T-shirt for wearing at summer camp and at other times as designated by the Scoutmaster.

When a boy join the Scout troop he will be given an “86” numeral patch that has the “50 Year“ Veteran Unit Bar embroidered into the background of the patch.  The unit number should be sewn on the left sleeve.  This patch signifies that St. Luke's Church has been our Charter Organization for 50 years.

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Dues, Fees and Fund Raising

The Scout year for Troop 86 runs from September through August.  Dues are currently $75, payable in September.  The dues cover: 

  • The annual registration fee to BSA.

  • Yearly subscription to Boy's Life magazine.

  • Cost of patches and merit badges.

  • Miscellaneous supplies and equipment for the Troop.

Troop 86 also has a fundraiser during the year.  In recent years Christmas wreaths have been sold and delivered around Thanksgiving.  This has been a successful­ event for the Troop in the past.  We ask that all Scouts sell at least ten wreaths — family, friends and neighbors are the best bet.  The Scouts are responsible for delivering the wreaths they sell plus additional wreaths that are sold at the Sunday services at St. Luke's.  Funds raised from wreath sales offset the purchase of Troop equipment and the expense of campouts.

Scouts also need to reimburse their Patrol Leaders for food that is purchased for campouts.  This generally runs between $5 - $10 per person per campout depending on the number of Scouts in the patrol that are on the campout and how much food is purchased.  This same concept applies to the adult leaders who cook by patrol.  These fees should be collected by the Patrol Leaders before departure­ from St. Luke's on the morning of campouts.

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Medical Forms

A medical form for each Scout must be kept in the Troop file.  This is a policy of BSA.  The form is included with this handbook or will be provided by the Scoutmaster.  The form has two parts:

  • Class 1 - updated annually

  • Class 2 - updated every 3 years

Additionally, a Class 3 medical form must be completed when the Scout attends a High Adventure Camp.  The Scoutmaster will provide this form on an as-needed basis.

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Troop Organization

The Troop is headed by a Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) with one or two Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders.  The SPL, along  with his staff, has the responsibility of planning and conducting troop meetings.

The Troop is further divided into groups of six to eight boys known as a Patrol.  Patrols are led by a Patrol Leader and an Assistant Patrol Leader.  Every new Scout is assigned to an existing patrol.

Other offices within the Troop are Quartermaster, Scribe, Librarian, Troop Guide, Instructor, Chaplain Aide and Den Chief. 

The Patrol Leaders have direct responsibility over the patrol members by helping them with advancement, by supervising patrol meetings and by providing leadership in patrol activities.

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Troop Committee

The Troop Committee consists of volunteers who act as a "Board of Directors"  for the troop.  All parents are encouraged to become active as a member of the committee.  Meetings are held two or three times a year or on an "as-needed" basis.  The committee makes decisions on such matters as programs or ideas for public service, scout promotions, advancement activities, and  financial matters.  Troop  funds are held and controlled by the committee.  The Chairman of the Troop Committee is the moderator of the group since the different functions of the committee are divided among its members.

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Parent/Adult Participation

Troop 86 is blessed to have adult leadership that understands and values the ideals promoted by the Boy Scouts of America.  All Troop activities, meetings and campouts,  are supervised by adult leadership.

The Scouting program works best when a stable triangle is formed between the Scout, his Parents, and the Troop Leaders.  The Scouts who have the encouragement and the involvement of their parents tend to do well in the program and get more out of the program as compared to those Scouts who do not have the strong parental influence.

Be involved.

There is always a place for a willing parent to help out — whether it be as a member of the Troop Committee, as an Assistant Scoutmaster, as a Merit Badge Counselor, or in a temporary position such as attending summer camp, driving to and from campouts, or helping with fundraising.  A form entitled "The Troop Resource Survey" is included with this handbook.  Filling the form out will help the Troop Leaders best know how to utilize your talents in helping with the Scouts.  Time involved can be as little or as much as you desire.  Please complete and return to the Scoutmaster.

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Meetings

Meetings are held every Monday night from 7:30  to 8:30  in the Scout Room located on the third floor of St. Luke's Church.  Merit Badge classes may be held from 7:00 to 7:30 as interest dictates.  All Scouts should be picked up promptly at 8:30.

Troop 86 does not meet weekly during the summer months, however, the summer time offers great Scouting experiences: week long summer camp and an assortment of high adventure activities for those who are eligible.

Meetings are run by the Senior Patrol Leader with help from his staff.  Ideas for meetings usually coincide with the teaching of a Scout skill: first aid, knots, cooking, orienteering or camping.  Most of all, meetings should be flexible.  If an idea or subject of interest arises during the year, time can be given to present it at meetings.

We strive to make meetings fun and informative.  One way we accomplish this is to incorporate games into the agenda that emphasize the skill that is being taught, e.g. knot-tying relay races.

Time is always reserved at meetings for the passing of advancement requirements for Tenderfoot through First Class.  Boys should come to meetings prepared if they wish to "pass-off" requirements

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Campouts

Troop 86 maintains an active camping program.  Monthly outings are scheduled throughout the school year.  Typically, the troop leaves Saturday morning at 8:00 AM from St. Luke's parking lot and returns by 3:00  PM Sunday afternoon.   Occasionally, a trip may last from Friday to Sunday depending on the school calendar and how far we have to travel.  Notices are given to the Scouts on Monday prior to the campout as well as mailed home and e-mailed to the parents the week before.

The Vulcan District Camporee is held annually during the month of February at Oak Mountain State Park.  This is a chance for all troops within the District to compete against one another on a patrol level.  Contests are designed to test scouting skills - orienteering, fire building, cooking, first aid, etc..

One week during the summer Troop 86 attends a week-long summer camp during the early part of June.  Scheduling at this time tends to conflict less with other long-term camps that are not Scout related that your son might attend.  Summer camp provides an excellent opportunity for rank advancement and for earning merit badges that are best suited to an outdoor environment.  The Troop usually travels to one of the local Council camps (Camp Sequoyah or Camp Comer) but occasionally travels to an out-of-council camp for variety and a change of scenery.

Troop 86 also believes it is necessary to challenge the older boys and in so doing offers a "high adventure" activity during the year, preferably in the summer.  In the past, these activities have included 50-mile hikes and a trip to Sea Base — BSA's high adventure camp in the Florida Keys.  Trips planned for the future include Philmont, a Scout ranch located in New Mexico, and a long-term canoe trip.

The Troop has a recognition program for those Scouts who attend campouts.  Different  colored and shaped beads are handed out at the meeting following the campout.  These beads are worn on a leather belt fob given to the Scouts when they join the Troop.  The color and shape of the bead is based on the type of campout and the weather that was experienced.

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Cooking

Cooking can sometimes be the greatest challenge a Scout can have.  There are generally two types of cooking a Scout in Troop 86 will face — patrol or Troop cooking and individual cooking.  The campout notice will indicate what type of cooking will be appropriate for the particular campout.

Patrol cooking, as the name may imply, is done on a group basis .  This type of cooking  usually  takes place on drive-in campouts — where it is possible to drive vehicles directly to the campsite.  The Scouts prepare their own menu and are responsible for food preparation  and clean-up.  The Patrol Leader has the task of buying all the food necessary for his patrol's meals.  The members of the patrol are responsible for reimbursing the Patrol Leader.  Pots, pans, and Dutch Ovens are provided by the Troop. 

For individual cooking, each Scout is responsible for planning as well as preparing his meals.  For newer Scouts, Hobo dinners, shish kabobs or a hamburger in the frying pan are the simplest meals to cook.  Meats can be refrigerated or frozen at home the night before and can thaw out by supper time on Saturday evening.

Each Scout is responsible for bringing his own cooking and eating utensils.  Spices should also be included in the Scout's personal gear.

Dads follow the Scouts' lead — If the Scouts patrol cook; the adults patrol cook.  If Scouts cook individually, then the adults cook individually.

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Advancement & Merit Badges 

The adult leadership of the Troop encourages each Scout to pursue advancement.  Pressure is never placed on a Scout to advance at a predetermined rate.

Advancement through the ranks is the best indicator to show how  a Scout is progressing.  Advancement also plays a factor in deciding who is eligible for Troop leadership positions.  A boy starts out as a "Scout" and can progress to the rank of "Eagle Scout".  The ranks beyond Scout  are:

Tenderfoot
Second Class
First Class
Star
Life
Eagle

The first four ranks have as their main emphasis the mastering of certain skills such as knot tying, first aid, cooking, nature, physical fitness, orienteering, and citizenship.  With each step-up in rank the requirements become more challenging and more fun.  See pages  4 & 438-447 in the Scout Handbook.  When a Scout becomes confident that he has mastered the skills of a certain requirement, he should seek the help of a Troop Leader or one of the older Scouts for assistance in "passing-off" the requirement.

Earning merit badges and providing service to others becomes the focal point for advancement in the upper ranks of Star through Eagle.  A Scout must earn a total of twenty-one merit badges to reach Scouting's highest rank.  Of the twenty-one badges, a total of twelve are required and the remaining nine may be chosen from a field of over 120 merit badges.

Satisfying the requirements of a particular merit badge is largely an independent undertaking.  The Scout is responsible.  He must:

  1. Decide on a subject that interests him.
  2. Get the merit badge book from the Troop Library or the Scout Service Center.
  3. Inform the Scoutmaster of his desire to earn the badge.
  4. Obtain from the Scoutmaster the name of a merit badge counselor who has knowledge on the subject.
  5. Receive a "Blue Card" from the Scoutmaster that becomes a record of advancement of the badge.
  6. Find a buddy who is interested in earning the same badge.
  7. Call the counselor to arrange a meeting time to discuss the requirements of the badge.
  8. Satisfy all the requirements of the merit badge.
  9. Arrange a second meeting with the counselor to show what has been done to satisfy the requirements.
10. Have the counselor sign the "Blue Card" when he feels the requirements have been passed.
11. Appear in front of the Board of Review for final completion of the merit badge.

             Note:

  • School projects that relate to merit badge subjects can be used in "passing-off" requirements.

  • A Scout is expected to meet the requirements exactly as stated in the merit badge pamphlet.  If it says to "show or demonstrate" that is what must be done.  Just "telling about it" is not enough.  This also holds true for words such as "make", "list", "in the field", "collect", "identify", and "label."

  • The Eagle service project may only be started after receiving the rank of Life Scout and less than five merit badges remain.

  • To be considered for rank advancement, a Scout must display Scout Spirit.

Various districts within the Greater Alabama Council offer merit badge sessions to instruct and offer guidance to Scouts in passing off merit badges.  These sessions occur on selected Saturdays throughout the    school year.  Scouts will be notified at Monday night meetings when a Merit Badge Day will be held.  Typically, a Scout may choose one or two merit badges  to focus on from a total of 15 to 20 that may be offered.

Summer camp has been and will continue to be the best place to earn merit badges, especially those related to an outdoor environment.  Make every effort to attend.

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Services Projects

In addition to Monday night meetings and weekend campouts, Troop 86 also participates throughout the year in service projects­ benefiting St. Luke's, various schools and other religious or charitable organizations.  These events are usually noted on the Scout calendar.  However, some events may not be known about until the last minute. Every effort will be made to give as much notice as possible.

 It is extremely important that Scouts be aware of  these projects and participate.  This is an excellent way to demonstrate Scout Spirit.  Service hours are needed for rank advancement — take advantage.

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Scoutmaster Conferences

Once a Scout has passed all the requirements for a particular rank his next step is to contact the Scoutmaster.   A Scoutmaster Conference will be held at which time each will get to know the other a little better.  This is an excellent  time to bring up questions about the Scouting program.  It is a requirement that the Scout be in full uniform and have his Scout Handbook at these conferences. 

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Boards of Review

The last step in rank advancement or securing a merit badge is appearing before a Board of Review.  The Board is usually made up of two or more adults  who have a genuine interest in the Scouting program.  Their purpose is not to re-test  the Scout but to make sure he has met all the requirements and to encourage him to keep advancing.

Boards of Review are held on the second Thursday of each month.  As with any other Scouting activity, appearing in full uniform and with the Scout Handbook are a requirement.

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Courts of Honor

The accomplishments of  the Scouts  are formally recognized at a Court of Honor.  This event takes place at least twice a year, during the fall and spring.  Parents as well as the entire family are encouraged to attend.  This is an excellent way for parents to demonstrate  interest in their son's Scouting progress.

Although the Scouts are formally recognized at a Court of Honor, rank patches and merit badges are usually given to the Scouts  within two weeks of the Board of Review.

An Eagle Court of Honor is held at the same time as a regular Court of Honor for those Scouts who have reached the rank of Eagle.  When a Scout  has successfully completed the Eagle Board of Review, he becomes an "Eagle" and is entitled to wear  the Eagle badge.  The Court of Honor  is  the formal recognition of his achievements.

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Equipment Needs

In addition to the Scout Uniform, there are a few basic  items that need to be purchased to make the Scouting experience  and camping more enjoyable.

Word of Advice — Do not buy all this equipment the minute your son joins the Troop.  Let him experience a few campouts and see what other Scouts bring and then make a rational decision about his equipment needs.  Birthdays and Christmas are an excellent way to build a camping inventory.  Check with the local outdoor stores to see if they have a rental policy. Renting lets you test equipment to see if it is right for you.  Some regretful purchases can be avoided this way.  Another option is to check with older Scouts in the Troop to see if they are willing to sell any of their used equipment.

Backpack - External frame vs. internal frame.  Generally, the external frame pack will be the pack of choice under 95% of all backpacking experiences.  They are easier to organize and  pack and are less expensive.  The internal frame pack has an advantage when hiking off trails because it is typically a more narrow pack.  An internal frame pack may also be best suited for younger Scouts who have narrow hips.  Volume of pack should be close to 3000 cubic inches.  Purchase a pack that fits the torso size  of the Scout.     Do not buy a pack that can be "grown into" — that theory doesn't work.   An  ill-fitting pack  makes for a miserable hiking experience and will leave negative  impressions.  Purchase a waterproof pack cover to fit over the pack to keep items dry.  Pack clothes in waterproof bags or “Ziploc”  storage bags.  The “Ziploc” bags may also be used to keep items organized in your pack.

Sleeping Bag - Bags carry temperature ratings that serve as an indicator of the lowest degree one can be comfortable in at night.  The problem with this is these ratings are not standardized within the sleeping bag industry and can be somewhat skewed by the amount of clothing one sleeps in.  Generally speaking, a bag rated at 20o F will be suitable for conditions that exist in this region.  Down sleeping bags are extremely lightweight and compressible, hold their loft and are able to last a long time if properly cared for but are extremely expensive and very difficult to dry if they get wet.  Other insulation such as Hollofil, Quallofil, and Polarguard and their variations are all adequate and will keep a person warm.  Look for a bag that has a hood to keep the head warm and a zipper draft tube that hangs from the top of the zipper to keep drafts out.  Get a bag that can be stuffed into a stuff sack rather than a large bulky bag that has to be rolled and ends up being 2' in diameter.  The latter is great for spend-the-night parties but can be quite cumbersome on an overnight camping trip.  Get in the bag at the store - try it out.

Sleeping Pad - This is a great item to have — makes the ground a little softer but more importantly acts as an insulator in cold weather.  Two types are most prevalent - closed-cell foam and self-inflating.  The foam pads are inexpensive and light, but take up a greater volume.  Self-inflating pads are more expensive, a few ounces heavier, but can  be packed in less volume.

Tent - Tents come in all shapes and sizes.  No one tent is the best.  Choose a tent that has a "bathtub-type" floor, i.e. the floor of the tent turns up the side walls of the tent.  A three-season tent is fine for our typical camping trips.  A four-season tent means that the tent is strong enough to withstand snow loads.  Highly unlikely in this area.  If possible select a tent that is at least of a three pole design, free standing, well ventilated, has a rain fly that extends almost to the ground and light enough to backpack (no more than 6 pounds).  This may be a hard bill to fill but these tents do exist.  Select a ground cloth to protect the floor of the tent.  This is cheap insurance for your investment.  A tent's sole function is to protect you from the elements — namely, wind and rain.  Condensation will form on the inside of the tent during the night due to moisture from breathing.  When you wake up in the morning don't think your tent is leaking.  This is a  natural occurrence.

Boots - Fit is all important.  When trying on, wear the socks you will normally wear with the boots.  The fewer seams the boot has the more waterproof the boot is.  Look for boots that have a gusseted tongue and a rubber rand around the sole.  Waterproof your boots with one of the protectants on the market.  Gum sole boots have proven to be poor hiking boots.  They may be great for in-camp wear but do not have a place during long hikes or backpacking trips.

Socks - As critical as boots!!!  The outer socks should be either an acrylic/wool or wool/nylon blend.  Wear a pair of inner or liner socks that are either polypropylene or silk followed by the outer pair.  The inner pair will wick moisture away from the foot keeping the foot drier and lessening the chance of blisters.  The outer pair of socks will provide cushioning.  Three pairs of each should be sufficient.  Avoid at all cost wearing cotton sport socks.  Blisters will form and your feet will  suffer.  Brands to look for are Thorlo, Smartwool, Wigwam or Fox River.

Clothing - Personal preference and weather conditions usually dictate what types of clothing are worn.  However, look for clothing that contains CoolMax for it’s moisture wicking ability and Supplex for it’s ability to dry rapidly.  A fleece jacket can be a life saver in cooler weather.  Cotton clothing can become uncomfortable when wet from perspiration and can take forever to dry.  Avoid cotton at all costs.   

Rain Suit or Poncho - Rain suits are versatile, easy to hike in but more expensive.  Ponchos need to be long enough to cover you and your pack.

Cook Kit - Aluminum Scout cook kit is suitable for most applications as is a non-stick frying pan with a folding handle.  A plastic, insulated cup is also a useful item to have.

Knife, Fork & Spoon - Lexan or stainless steel — your option.

Stove - Troop policy dictates that stoves can only be used when a Scout has reached the rank of First Class and then only under adult supervision.  Propane stoves are the most common.  Butane canister stoves are easy to use and reliable.  White gas stoves are clean- burning and the fuel stores in reusable canisters.

Match Case - Needs to be waterproof.  Plastic or aluminum.

Water Bottles - At least two 1-liter bottles are sufficient.  Best if made out of nalgene or lexan.

Water Bladders - May be used in lieu of water bottles

Compass - Select one that has a rectangular base plate with luminous cardinal points.

Flashlight - A Mini-Mag 2-AA battery flashlight is a good choice or a battery operated headlamp.

Pocket Knife - A folding pocket knife is the best.  Troop 86 does not allow knives that have serrated edge blades or fixed-blade sheath knives.  A Scout needs to have a Totin' Chip card in order to carry a knife.

Small First Aid Kit - Nothing elaborate — just a few Band-Aids, ointment, gauze pads, tape , mole skin or Second Skin for blisters, etc..  New Scouts will put together their own kit as a requirement for the rank of Second Class.

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Resources

  Retail 
  The Scout Shop                                                                    Urban Outpost
  516 Liberty Parkway                                                            1105 Dunston Avenue
  970-0251                                                                               879-8850

  Rogers Trading Company                                                    Alabama Outdoors
  
4639 US Highway 280                                                          3054 Independence Drive
  408-9378                                                                                870-1919
 

  Academy Sports
  251 Lakeshore Parkway
  945-9998

  Mail Order
 
CAMPMOR                                                                              Recreational Equipment, Inc.
  Saddle River, NJ                                                                     Sumner, WA
  800-226-7667                                                                         800-426-4840
  http://www.campmor.com                                                       http://www.rei.com
 

  Publications
  Backpacker Magazine
  http://www.
backpacker.com

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Credits

All About Troop 86 -1993

Troop 86  Committee Report to Parents -1988

Troop 32 Guide for New Parents and Scouts
   Ouachita Valley Council
   Monroe, LA

Troop 101 Handbook
   Capitol Area Council
   Austin, TX

Your Guide to Troop 623
   Southwest Michigan Council
   St. Joseph, Michigan

William D. Graham

William A. Lalor

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Last updated: August 30, 2007
 

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Last updated: November 11, 2007
Policy statement on website links
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