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Numbers game: How’d you pick your pack, troop or crew number?

Tuesday-TalkbackTake a wild guess what the number of my boyhood troop, Troop 1776, represents.

Yep, you got it.

Other Scout units have numbers with a special significance to them, too, but they aren’t always as easy to decipher.

That ends today. For this Tuesday Talkback, tell me: Does your pack, troop, post, ship or crew have a number with some special meaning to it?

Sound off in the comments section with your unit number and the way you selected it.

I’ll start by sharing the story behind Troop 316 in Saugus, Calif.

Last week’s post on Missouri Troop 501, in which Scouts are OK to wear jeans if they wish (get it? 501s?), inspired Troop 316 Scouter Robert Clark to share the story behind his troop’s number.

“Our troop fought hard to get this number at its inception in 1999,” he writes. “Why? We were founded as a Christian-based troop, and our troop number comes from John 3:16, our official troop Bible verse. We must be doing something right; our Eagle Scout rate is about 15 percent.”

Your turn

How’d you pick your unit number? Was it random, or is there a special meaning? Start the conversation below.

80 Comments on Numbers game: How’d you pick your pack, troop or crew number?

  1. Don Stankalis // August 12, 2014 at 8:04 am // Reply

    When we formed Troop 1421 in Lindenhurst, LI (NY), the troop number came from the sponsoring Moose Lodge’s chapter number. That was simple

    • I was in the same situation, 5090, Elks Lodge.

  2. Our original troop was so large in the sixties that it split in two, with one retaining the original number and our half taking the year the split occurred – 63.

    • I was in the same situation, 5090, Elks Lodge.

  3. We have a ship 756 in our council. they chose this number because of the USS Asheville.

    We also have a unit number 326 who chose that number because the scoutmasters high school football jersey number was 26, and all the unit numbers in that district are in the 300′s so they chose 326!

  4. Back before our council was formed, my troop was founded in 1923 as “Troop 1″ in my PA Hometown. Then, four years later, our council formed and, since there were numerous troops with the same number, the council renumbered troops and we became Troop 5. We’ve been that way for the next 87 years.

  5. For a while there was Crew 2176, it was part of Michigan Wing, Civil Air Patrol Squadron 176. However, CAP has now included high adventure in its line up and no longer uses the Venturing program.

  6. At the time our troop was founded (1982), the television show M*A*S*H had been in first-run on network television for many years and was still very popular. The Scouts wanted to be Troop 4077, after the unit number of the hospital in the show, but the council could only issue three-digit unit numbers – thus Troop 407 was born.

  7. Sea Scout Ship 71 is named in honor of our chartering organization, the 71st Ruritan Club of Fayetteville, NC. Also named in honor of the Highlanders of the 71st Regiment who settled the area surrounding FT Bragg and Fayetteville.

  8. Until a few years ago, not really. But, several years after splitting our district in two, the council added a 1 or 2 in front of every unit’s number in the two new districts. It took a year of kvetching, but we all got the opportunity to drop or keep the prefix within a certain time frame. So, it’s still 840. 50th anniversary this year, with commendation from the VA legislature http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?142+sum+HR0507

  9. The crew was wanted to do a great deal of climbing so they decided on 513 based on the Yosemite Decimal System just without the decimal. 5.13 is considered a very difficult route to climb.

  10. Our crew is focused on Rock Climbing, so we wanted to use the Yosemite Decimal System (difficulty scale). The obvious choice was 5.10, but 510 was already taken by another charter partner. We then decided to use the rating of the hardest route at our local crag, the Birdsboro Rock Quarry. So, our number is now Crew 5.14. And yes, we do keep the decimal in our crew publications! If only BSA National Supply would allow our crew to make unit number patches as “5.14″

  11. So our troop was formed in 1911 as Troop 2 (Troop 1 for the area was 5 hours older than we were) but after a few decades the Council was swallowed by the larger council and they already had a Troop 2 so we became Troop 7. This only lasted a few years until Troop 11 folded and some “bribery” was done to get the 11 for us, one might think it was because we were founded in 1911 but you would be wrong. No we wanted it because we could tell people we use roman numerals in our Troop, and as such this is no eleven as you would think but we have returned to the roman numeral two. Of course this is still the joke, but we are very much eleven in name in todays world and only those who know our history know this troop secret (oh right there are no secrets in the BSA) :) So now you know, and as we all know, KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE; GO JOE!

  12. We chose Troop 95 because our VFW post is Post 8695. We wanted a 2 digit number. http://www.fb.com/troop95

  13. We started our Troop 4 years ago. The original Lutheran troop here in the early 1900s was Troop 10. It died out about 45 years ago. The Council gave us 310 (new numbering system) when it all started up again. They knew the number it should be even if we did not.

  14. Our troop and crew wanted “42″ (they’re all Sci-Fi fans). Unfortunately, 42 was apparently not available. So they multiplied by 10 and got “420″ …

    The older scouts snickered and it’s since become an inside joke. We tell the story of how we got the number because it’s the truth and the younger scouts don’t catch the “other” meanings of that number.

    • We are troop 42 in Provo UT!

  15. Our troop’s number (3) was bestowed on us in 1913. We were the third troop formed after 1 and 2. People unhappy with 1 and 2 joined together to form 3.

    I did have a different question: In the article, I saw this quote: “We must be doing something right; our Eagle Scout rate is about 15 percent.” How was this calculated? I’m looking for specifics. Thank you,

    • Charles, I calculated it as our total Eagle Scouts divided by the total number of unique scouts registered in our Troop since its inception in 1999.

  16. Crew 7234 – an aquatics based crew — founding members chose to honor the numbers for the letters PADI.

  17. If I were doing the Eagle rate calculation I’d look at each class of Scouts that joins and how many of those Scouts reached Eagle. So if 10 joined one year and you had 2 Eagles, 2 dropped out and 6 aged out without getting Eagle you’d have a 20% rate for that class. Then average it out over the years. When the BSA talks about 1 or 2% of all Scouts making Eagle that counts everyone who ever signed up from Cubs onward, whether they bridge to a Troop or not.

    No idea how my son’s Troop, where I was SM got its number of 208. A lot of the Troops in our district are in the 200 series. The LDS Troops in our district all end in 31. My boyhood Troop was 51, and as I understand it was spun off of another Troop possibly Troop 50 or 52. Its been around over 85 years now. My dad was a member of it decades before me.

  18. Kelly Gettings // August 12, 2014 at 9:00 am // Reply

    We chose 413 from Philippians Chapter 4 verse 13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. We also have a tradition that all scouts and leaders take a knee when we close out our meetings with prayer. Love my Troop!

    • Using your calculations, I have for years believed that the percentage of Scouts that achieve Eagle is in the 30% range, and maybe higher. Scouting uses the other calculation that you mentioned, so they can then can say ONLY 2%-3% attain the rank of Eagle Scout, so it looks more elitist and harder to attain than it actually is.

      When I was involved with a troop, of ALL the Scouts that stayed until they aged out at 18, more than 50% attained the rank of Eagle Scout. If I counted ALL the Scouts that were registered and then dropped out before age 18, then the percentage rate would be much, much lower; probably in the 10% range. If you counted All the Cub Scouts that were registered in the Cub Pack, then the rate would most likely be in the 2%-3% range that National boasts of.

      It all depends on what numbers one wants to use to reach the end figure that they desire. No one is lying; it’s just how they manipulate the numbers. I personally believe that of ALL the Scouts that stay until they are 18, 30% or more, will attain the rank of Eagle Scout, NOT 2%-3%.

      • While off the “official” topic, Eagle Scout rate is one of my pet issues. The “true” Eagle rate for a period of time is # of Eagles/total number of unique scouts during the period. In my Troop, for those members who were born from 1987 to 1996 (all the 1996 scouts are 18, gone, or Eagles already), our rate is 33.6%.

        The 2% number is all-time (at least 1912 to 2012), but remember that it took 70 years (1982) to get to hit the 1,000,000 mark and only 27 to get the second million (2009), so obviously the rate has increased dramatically overtime. This isn’t surprising, considering that the Eagle wasn’t really a rank when it first began, more like a Silver Palm for First Class. It also took years for the prestige to build. Additionally, I suspect that in earlier years, a higher percentage of boys joined Boy Scouts but left before finishing Eagle due to other activities. In our modern world, some of those activities and decisions come in to play before they hit Boy Scout age.

        The BSA number we see each year is the percentage of currently registered Boy Scouts (regardless of age and rank) who earned Eagle THAT year. This is NOT the same as saying the percent who WILL earn Eagle. Extrapolating from anecdotes from other units, annual Eagle numbers and retention rates, I suspect the real number is somewhere in the 20% neighborhood.

        • Mike: Thanks for the response. How do you KNOW that the method that you cited is the one used by National? I’m not familiar with you or your background, and simply want to learn how National calculates the number.

        • Charles, on BSA’s National website they state there were about 57,000 Eagle Scouts in 2013 and that represents about 6% of the total Boy Scouts (not including Cub Scouts). If you do the math (57,000 / .06) you get about 950,000 Boy Scouts in 2013, which is very close to their enrollment number.

          So their simple math appears to be total Eagle Scouts in a year divided by total registered Boy Scouts only in that same year.

          For my Troop 316 number (I started this post) I divided our total Eagle Scouts since inception of our Troop (31) by the total number of unique scouts that registered with our Troop since inception and got about 15%. (I am an accountant, this seemed like the proper calculation to me!).

        • Thank you. The math surely makes sense. I’d love to figure out our percentage, but I have no idea how many boys have come through the program in the last 80 something years.

        • Carey Snyder // August 16, 2014 at 9:53 am //

          The real “rate” of Eagle Scouts should be based on the number of Eagle Scouts who entered Boy Scouts in a specific year divided by the number divided by the total number who entered Boy Scouts that year,

          Assuming, for example you had the number of scouts (X) entering Boy Scouts in the Year 2000. Assume they are 11 when they enter. For the next 7 years you count the number of Eagles from that group (Y). Then the Eagle Scout Rate is X/Y. That conversion is then attributed to the Year 2000. Your calculation of yearly conversion rate is then about 7 years behind the current year…However, it is a more meaningful number that the numbers currently reported…unfortunately, it would require detailed reporting from each region, which would require detailed reporting from each council, which would require detailed reporting from each district,which would require detailed reporting from each troop, which ain’t gonna happen. And a general rate reported for the whole country is leess meaningful, than if done regionally, by council, or by district.

          All this saysis that, Mike, I suspect you are right, and that the effort to get a reasonably accurate number wouldn’t be worth it ;-}>

  19. When we started our troop in 2000, I wanted to choose a two-digit number XX where “www.troopXX.com” was an available internet domain. There were suprisingly few of those left! Of the dozen or so still open, we chose “72″ (and hence, “http://troop72.com”) mainly because it’s the product of a perfect square and a perfect cube. (Yes, I’m a math nerd.)

  20. Our troop, Troop 226, when we formed 3 years ago got its name from Proverbs 22:6…

    Basically I couldn’t find any better description of the mission of scouting in a single sentence.

    • Eric Andreww // August 12, 2014 at 11:09 am // Reply

      That is our pack motto as well. It is on the back of our blue and gold tie dye t shirts . Pack 773 ( also a Biblical reference to the seven days, basically seven everything, and the Trinity), Roanoke, Virginia.

    • That’s a GREAT one!

  21. As a unit commissioner, I assisted a local law enforcement agency to sponsor a crew. They picked 104, which then they called themselves Crew 10-4.

  22. The Troop where I have the pleasure to serve as Scoutmaster was a converted “Sons of Daniel Boone” unit that formed in at least 1908 (possibly earlier but records of a 1908 encampment are the earliest documents we can find). It converted to a Boy Scout unit shortly after the BSA was founded as Troop 1 under a nationally direct charter as there was no council in the area at the time, and it was on-again, off-again for a couple of years until 1918 when it started back up as Troop 1 under the new Middletown Area Council (later becoming Mound Builders Area Council #454). Stayed that way until the 1985 merger of Mound Builders into Dan Beard Council #438. Even though our troop had held the unit designation 1 much longer and continuously with no lapse, there was already a Troop 0001 in Dan Beard Council (formed in the late 1940′s and still active today, great job fellas!), so after the better part of 5 years of “discussion” Troop 1 Middletown was changed to 0801 on the charter paperwork around the 1991 recharter time and that is the official designation we have still. However, we still are called and known as “Troop One” which suits us just fine. We celebrate our 100th cumulative year of service in 2016. As we say in the troop, “Troop One is getting it done!”

    The troop I was in as a youth and that my son is currently in (and I serve as an Assistant Scoutmaster) is Troop 18. It got the number because that was the next one on the list when they started up in the late 1920′s. It went dormant for a year or so in 1935 and started back up in 1936 where it has remained active ever since. This is our 78th year of continuous service! When the merger occurred in 1985 between MBAC and DBC, there was already another Troop 18 so council threw a 7 in front making the paperwork 718. But again with the decades of history the troop is still known locally as Troop Eighteen.

    • A lot of Troop 18′s are sponsored by Jewish organizations, as 18 is a significant number in Judaism.

  23. 42 – Our troop t-shirts say “The answer to Life, the Universe, and all things Scouting”

  24. When our pack on Fort Bragg got too big and split, the new committee chose “82″ to honor the 82nd Airborne and our Chartered org,
    The Fort Bragg 82nd Airborne association.

  25. Crew 617 from Manassas, VA was “numbered” in honor of Al Couture, who was the Advisor of Explorer Post 617 in Manchester, NH. The Post existed from 1971-1993 and Al was with the Post the whole time it exsisted. I was the last Post President before the sponsoring organization was sold to a larger corporation who elected not to recharter the Post.

    Al is well in his eighties now and has been to me a great mentor and friend, and taught me by his example a lot about being the Advisor I am today. When it came time to pick a number, I knew he had devoted so many years of his life to youth that it felt right for a new generation of youth to wear the 617 again.

  26. Michael Casey // August 12, 2014 at 9:46 am // Reply

    Troop 27 was originally founded in 1915 as Troop 2 Washington County Council so the council merged and renumbered it as Troop 27

  27. The ship I’m skipper decided they wanted to be Ship 2012 in honor of the Sea Scout Centennial.

  28. I should mention we have a Amateur Radio crew in council who is known as Crew 510. In Roman numerals that is written “DX” which is a pretty popular thing for a Ham… (Those who don’t know, look that one up.) :)

  29. 4385 is the Street address for the Charter Organization of our Crew. Hampton Inn – Princeton, NJ (Hospitality-Based Crew 4385). (OF COURSE, the main thing they do is high adventure but every now and then, the Scouts do something that is hospitality, travel, or food-service related.)

  30. T. Lynn McKee. Jr // August 12, 2014 at 10:12 am // Reply

    My crew that focuses on shooting sports is 762. There is also Crew 357 in our council with the same focus. Currently, I’m in Troop 111 which was chosen to honor Troop 111 of Okinawa in the Far East Council, which was the second troop my father worked with as an adult leader in the mid 1960′s.

  31. When we formed our venture crew our number became 413 because of our area code.

  32. Charlie Martin // August 12, 2014 at 10:18 am // Reply

    Our cub scout pack and boy scout troop got their identities from the last three digits of our zip code – 422 (19422).

  33. When we started the Pack 34 in Jessup, Pa. back in 1991. The hottest name in the country was Bo Jackson who played football for Auburn. Bo wore number 34 for the football team that was all the boys in the Pack wanted. And the rest was history first for the Pack and few years later for the Troop.

  34. My troop was formed last October. To choose our troop, we were wanting to use a bible verse. So we chose 1st Peter 4:10.

  35. Troop 569 was founded in May of 1969. It’s a great way to always remember our anniversary date — 45 years this summer!

  36. Dr. John S. Guethlein // August 12, 2014 at 10:35 am // Reply

    Good morning Bryan! Our Venture Crew 2013 from North Platte, Nebraska was of course founded in 2013! Just a great way to remember the beginning of our many ADVENTURES!

  37. I was a “Charter Member” of Pack #198 in the 50′s and later joined Troop #198. I don’t know why they had that number, but I was CM and SM of #198 and when we chartered SSS Eagle (198) we picked that number. The Pack and Troop have since folded, but the Ship is still active since 1991.

  38. Our troop number, 412, sponsored by a church, was chosen for this verse in the bible:

    1 Timothy 4:12
    Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

  39. Brian George // August 12, 2014 at 11:23 am // Reply

    We are starting a ship next month and plan to use #914 September 2014

  40. We are Troop 63 because we were founded in 1963.

  41. While we didn’t get to pick our numbers for Jamboree, as they are assigned by section and plot number, I had an awesome troop number for the 2001 Jamboree. 911.

  42. When I joined Scouting in 1955, I joined Troop 44; there were three other troops in town: 41, 42, & 43. A friend of mine gave me all of this father’s Scouting memorabilia. One of his Membership Cards showed him in Troop 2 and his brother in Troop 4, and this was in the late 1920′s-early 30′s. Then their Membership Cards showed them in Troop 44.

    In those days every town started out with a Troop 1, then Troop 2, Troop 3, etc. It became so confusing that the local council changed the numbers and my town received the 40′s; my cousin’s town was the 60′s, and so on.

    Recently, two troops in a neighboring township that were charted to two different fire departments used as their troop number the number of the fire truck of their respective department.

  43. I believe our troop number, 596, came from the LDS Church ward number and the year we were organized.

  44. Gary Callarman // August 12, 2014 at 1:01 pm // Reply

    We started our troop and pack by breaking away from another unit. We wanted an entirely new number and a completely new start. Therefore we chose 1908 due to the year scouting got started.

    • Brownsea Island was August 1st through 8th 1907, not 1908.

  45. Our Troop was formed in 2011, the 101 year of Scouting so naturally we became Troop 101.

  46. Nate Kidwell // August 12, 2014 at 1:42 pm // Reply

    My troop’s number, Troop 1412, was chosen for the Bible verse 1 Timothy 4:12. I see that verse has already been posted but it is:
    “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

    1412 was formed just a few months ago, and the troop we came from, Troop 2215, was also chosen for the troop Bible verse (2 Timothy 2:15).

  47. The troop I joined as a boy was Troop 43 because they “figured” it was the 43rd troop in California when they opened for business as “Peace Scout Troop 43.”

    Similarly, the troop I belonged to in Cleveland Heights was Troop 22 becasue they were the 22nd troop started in NE Ohio in 1908. When BSA arrived in 1912 as the Cleveland District Council, they kept that number somehow even though there were five units claiming to be “Troop 1.”

    • I’m with troop 22 in Asheville, NC!

  48. I had a very dear friend and ScoutMaster of mine who passed away and at his funeral they recited his favorite bible versus.
    But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
    When we started the new troop I asked the charter partners to choose the troop numbers and asked that they have some meaning behind them. Not just numbers. I told the story about Mr. T and they loved it. Thus, Troop 4031. We not only honored our Lord, but a great scoutmaster that had went to be with him.

  49. My pack and troop number when I was a scout was 650. The town previously had a pack and troop that folded, 65. When mine were founded, the flags were still around, and they were donated. All we did was add the zero to both.

  50. Earl Needham // August 12, 2014 at 2:31 pm // Reply

    When I arrived at Cannon Air Force Base as an adult leader, there were two troops on base. The larger one was Troop 827, numbered for the 27th Fighter Wing. I later became Scoutmaster for Troop 832, which was numbered for the 832nd Air Division, which consisted of the 27th and 474th Fighter Wings, both at Cannon at the time.

    Sadly, both troops are now inactive.

  51. Troop 845 got it’s numbers from Psalm 84:5 “Blessed is the one who strength is you.” It was on a framed print with a picture of an flying Eagle that the troop’s first Scoutmaster bought for his new son twelve years before starting the troop. We thought it was a good vision for the troop to have.

  52. While helping Scouts in my Troop earn their Scouting Heritage MB, we came across an interesting story for how we got our Troop number–not sure if the story is true or not, but we like it.

    Our Troop split from Troop 209 due to size and different interests.

    Using the Scout Law as a guideline, A Scout is Thrifty…our Troop selected 26 as their new number because they could keep the 2 and 9 from their previous Troop number and just turn the 9 upside down to form a 6. Troop 26 of Anchorage, Alaska.

  53. We are Troop 55 in Salt Lake City. Founded in 1918, we soon will be celbrating 100 years as a registerd troop.

  54. Nathan heck // August 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm // Reply

    when I joined my first troop out of 5 rivers council upper pa and lower ny when I joined my first troop it was because I knew the troop because they were relatives and the meetings were a mile away from my home troop 2028 but when they disbanded because of the decision last year I had to find a new troop they are about 20 miles away but I could handle that I knew all of the boys and leaders so it was easy getting into the troop

  55. We are in Boise Idaho and chartered by the 11th ward of the LDS church. We have been Troop 11 for 52 years. The boys use the cheer, “We’re number one, twice.”

  56. I’m in Troop 1910, which has its name for an obvious reason.
    We’ve been around for ~17 years, and honestly I’m surprised that number wasn’t already taken.

  57. Robert Bardsley // August 12, 2014 at 10:43 pm // Reply

    No mention of Varsity Teams in the article? For shame… Anyway Team 93 which is sponsored by my LDS Church is twenty years old and shares the same number as the Crew (15 yrs), Pack (34 yrs) and Troop 93 (50 yrs). No records were kept as to the origins of the Troop in the early days. The first LDS Troop I was in was 724 which signifies the month and day the Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley.

    We also have a Crew in my District with the unique number of 357. Easy to guess the Crew’s focus.

  58. Paul Whittenhall // August 13, 2014 at 10:41 am // Reply

    When we formed our Crew earlier this year we decided to use the address (101) of our Chartered Org.

  59. Tom O. Maxwell // August 14, 2014 at 12:21 am // Reply

    In 1964, I went to the Jamboree at Valley Forge. Our Troop number was 64, so we were Troop 64 at the ’64 Jamboree. This was from the Buffalo Trail Council, the other three troops from our council were numbered in the 40′s, so we felt special in having our troop number.

  60. Lou Leopold // August 14, 2014 at 5:06 am // Reply

    Camarillo, CA Troop 808 is sponsored by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. The troop logo on hats and neckerchiefs involves rotating the 8′s outward at the top and overlapping the bottoms with the 0. Use your imagination to see the symbolism.

  61. Pack & Troop 531 – the number of pages int eh Book of Mormon – sponsored by the local congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  62. Pack and Troop 317 – The priest who was founder and pastor of our charter church was Irish.

  63. Our church formed a troop back in the 50′s. They chose 49 after the year that the LDS church formed the State of Deseret, 1849. Each new ward got a troop number that ended in “49″. I was in the 3rd ward as a kid and was in troop 349. I’m now the scoutmaster of troop 149… in the 1st ward.

  64. Les Houston // August 20, 2014 at 4:39 pm // Reply

    Pack and Troop 247 are chartered through the American Legion. Their preamble to their Constitution starts with this” For God and Country…” We chose 247…”God & Country, 24×7!” We are located in Farmington, MO.

  65. From what I am told by the old timers, our Troop here in San Antonio was first chartered by a fire house, so we were give the numbers 911 to represent that connection. I was also with a Pack 911 in North Carolina that was first chartered by the 911 Air Refueling Squadron at Seymour Johnson AFB, in Goldsboro NC. We are often asked if our numbers were chosen in remembrance of the 9/11 terror attacks. However, both the troop and pack were established well before that horrible day.

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