One of the best parts of Scouting is sharing what we do with the communities we serve, especially helping those with special needs. That’s why I am pleased to introduce you to what I’ll call the “Buddy Troop,” Troop 133.
The Kansas City, Kan.-based troop provides opportunities for men of any age with developmental disabilities to participate in the Boy Scouts of America. Scouts from other troops volunteer to serve as “buddies” and pair up with the members of Troop 133 so they can take part in Scouting activities, such as camping.
This summer, Scouts from Troop 366 in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., provided eight buddy Scouts to help Scouts from Troop 133 enjoy summer camp at the Theodore Naish Scout Reservation in Bonner Springs, Kan.
Buddy Scouts helped Troop 133 campers get around Camp Naish safely, understand the instructors in merit badge classes, participate in camp activities and have fun. During the week, buddy Scout volunteers are treated as members of Troop 133. They camp in the same campsite, eat at the same tables in the dining hall and arrive and leave camp with the troop.
Leaders emphasize that while this program is geared toward giving Troop 133’s Scouts an experience they might not otherwise have, it also benefits the young buddy Scouts.
“This is a testament to their leadership, influence, persuasion and their belief in the Scout Oath and Law,” said Troop 366 Scoutmaster Jerry Overbey, who says this program has been so popular with his Scouts that he may have to hold a drawing for next year’s team of buddy volunteers.
Buddy Boy Scout Sam Overbey, Fort Leavenworth Troop 366, talks with Chris Bruce, Kansas City Troop 133, as they begin the walk to their next destination from their campsite, June 18 at Camp Naish in Bonner Springs, Kan.
This is a great example of Scouting’s commitment to reach out and give others the opportunity to build their own new adventures through the methods of Scouting. Congratulations to Troop 133 Scoutmaster John McBurney for all of his efforts to bring Scouting’s values to this special group of men in his community.