In 1929, 12 Johnson County boys became the first members of brand new Boy Scout Troop 91 sponsored by Lenexa Methodist Church.
The troop found new homes a couple of times in the intervening years before Dr. Robert Meneilly, a scoutmaster, offered to have his newly formed Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village take over sponsorship in 1951. The troop has stayed put ever since, and is this fall preparing to mark its 90th anniversary — a milestone that it bringing some of the group’s long history across Johnson County to the fore.
Though the troop — now known as BSA Troop 91 — is headquartered in the northeast, it’s drawn participants from across the county over the years. Kyle Murdock is in his third year as scoutmaster for the troop, and has had three sons participate. Though the family lives in southern Johnson County, they’ve been drawn to the troop for its active membership.
“It’s kind of a mixing of kids from all over, so you get to meet families you wouldn’t have met otherwise,” he said. “There’s such a neat history. I’m pretty excited for this anniversary. People have been kind of coming out of the woodwork, saying, ‘Oh, I had a brother or a son or a dad who was in Troop 91.’ So to hear those stories has been really exciting.”
The troop is active in providing scouts with opportunities to get outdoors. They put on an annual “high adventure” that takes scouts on a backcountry camping expedition. This year they hit the boundary waters canoe area in Minnesota and Ontario. Other years they go backpacking in New Mexico.
And a few times a year, the troop has camping trips down at Camp Klassen, a 340-acre plot of land in Miami County near the Marais des Cygnes made possible through a land donation by Walter Klassen in the 1960s. (The original Camp Klassen near present-day Corporate Woods was sold to the city of Overland Park for a water treatment plant, but the group used the proceeds from that transaction to purchase the current camp site). A camp house on the land features hundreds of photos of the 638 Eagle Scouts the troop has produced since inception.
Such experiences are some of the big draws for the young participants. Jack Rosemann, a student at Indian Hills, cites camping as one of his true loves in scouting.
“I like it because of all the cool activities and events that I get to do. Going outside and camping, I probably would not go often or at all if it weren’t for scouting,” he said.
The past year has also seen a major addition to the troop’s operation: Last year, as part of an organization-wide policy change, the troop chartered a sibling group of female scouts.
The troop is planning to hold a celebration event November 3 to bring as many current and former scouts together to mark nine decades of existence.
“It’s a little humbling,” said Murdock of being scoutmaster on the 90th anniversary. “You have so many people who gave so much to the troop over the years.”