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October 25, 2020, by Victor Rivera

Central Texas Troops 287 B&G complete conservation project and merit badges at Parrie Haynes Ranch

Leon Valley District Scouts BSA Troops 287 B & G were able to experience some outdoor Scouting fun while following proper safety protocols on a recent trip to Parrie Haynes Ranch.  These Longhorn Council troops have strong leadership with the likes of Tami Kraft who is a Scout mom, a Committee Chair for both units, and a teacher with Killeen ISD.  Longhorn Council thanks Tami and Troop 287 G mom, Patricia Cummins, for providing the pictures and details of this recent outing.    See the pictures and story from Tami and Patricia below.


On the weekend of September 26, 2020, BSA Troop 287 Boys and Girls Troops in cooperation with Parrie Haynes Ranch practiced the Scout Oath: Duty to Community. The Scouts spent several hours working on a conservation project for the ranch as well as earning rank and completing merit badges.

Parrie Haynes Ranch works to improve the community by serving our youth. Troop 287 is working to develop a relationship with the ranch to possibly help grow a new troop and help improve the ranch. Troop 287 Eagle Scout, Jake Parker, built a handicapped accessible outdoor stage for Parrie Haynes. The troop hopes to have other Eagle projects and conservation projects at the ranch.

“The Haynes left the ranch to the orphans of Texas. The State of Texas leases Parrie Haynes to the Boys and Girls Club. The Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club want to make this ranch available to all the young people in the Central Texas Area including the Scouts,” said William Wallace Vernon, Treasurer of Boys and Girls Club of Killeen.

The conservation project consisted of scouts walking in a police line in about an acre to spread oats and rye grass seeds beneath trees where employees of Parrie Haynes and volunteers have cleared cedar and brush. Scouts also had the opportunity to have a positive outdoor experience and learn about land and animal management.

“We had a ton of seeds. I kept telling the scouts to spread out to cover more area. Something is going to get fat from those seeds, ants or deer,” said Austin Kraft, Eagle Scout.

The camp out for Troop 287 started Friday evening with the setting up of tents and getting familiar with camping area. Saturday morning started with a flag ceremony that recognized the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by flying the US flag at half-mast. 

Merit badges were offered throughout the weekend. Saturday and Sunday saw Scouts enjoying the work of merit badge requirements for Cycling, Physical Fitness, First Aid, Mammal Studies and Art. Mammal Studies is the only badge completed from start to finish over the weekend. 

“These Scouts got the deluxe version of the Mammal Studies Merit Badge. I just got mine at the zoo,” said Hayden Holbrook, First Class Scout. The Scouts were able to touch various skins provided by Lock’s Taxidermy and Deer Processing. The skins came from animals found all around the world, only Antarctica was excluded. They also hiked along the Lampasas River looking for animal tracks.

The Cycling Merit Badge is rarely offered to Scouts and in the past Troop 287 has not done the mountain biking option. Lee Moomaw and Brian Chambless, both avid trail riders, taught the Scouts better handling of their bikes and how to read a trail. Plans have been made for more trail rides at Colorado Bend State Park in November.

“The best part of cycling was the ride on Saturday it was not hot at all. I learned how to read trails and to stand up when going over rocks. The hardest part was learning to change a tire on my bike,” said Clay Coconaur, Second Class Scout.

The Scouts took a moment after lunch on Sunday to give reverence to God.  The Scouts were encouraged to be a ‘good seed’ and spread positivity where they are planted. 

Working together with Parrie Haynes Ranch, Troop 287 Boys and Girls are hoping next year’s events will include many more Scouts and troops coming together.

Troop 287 Girls has only existed since April of 2020. Due to COVID19, this was the first official camp out with both the T287 boy’s and girl’s troops.  Hailey Zettler, Scout with Troop 287 G, completed a merit badge, made friends, and hopes to have more Scouts join the fun next time. 

How did we do this during COVID-19? We started meeting as patrols in June. We chose to cancel summer camp since we had not even been exposed to each other. Until Parrie Haynes we only met outside. When outside at PH we did not wear masks. While inside if you were with your patrol only, you could take off your mask. If you were near other people, put on a mask.

It’s been three weeks and no pandemic hot spot here. A Scout is clean, we wash hands, have hand sanitizer everywhere. No one shares a tent. We encourage people who are ill to stay home and self-quarantine. Some people wore masks the whole time.

We have enlarged our COVID Pods in Scouts since June. We know that we are not immune. We are thankful that all the precautions did not make us a COVID hot spot. We don’t want to be in the news for spreading COVID.

Pictures & Story by Patricia Cummins and Tami Kraft


Thanks again to Tami and Patricia as well as the parents, Scouts, merit badge counselors, and Parrie Haynes Ranch.  We have a growing theme in Scouting we call “Escape the Great Indoors” and Troops 287 B&G showed us how to do it safely.  Keep up the great work, stay safe, and keep on Scouting. 


Yours in Scouting Service,

Victor Rivera  |  Director of Marketing and Communications
Boy Scouts of America Longhorn Council
[email protected]
850 Cannon Drive  |  P.O. Box 54190
Hurst, Texas  76054-3191
P 817-231-8500  |  F 817-231-8600


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