Quick Links

>About Troop 709                 >Troop 709 History                >My Son Wants to Join the Troop
>Our Key Leadership           >Troop Leadership                 >Troop Organizational Chart

>Scouting MTB                      >Scout Gear Exchange          >Troop 709 Golf Tourney

About Troop 709


We Are A Boy Lead Troop!

Troop 709 is a Troop that follows and believes in the Boy Scout program is for its youth members. It belongs to the Scouts, is run by the boys, and it represents the excellence of youth of America and our community.

This is a true Scout lead troop. The troop leadership comprised of the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) and his Assistant Patrol Leaders (ASPL's), as well as the Patrol Leaders Council (PLC) make all the decisions when it comes to scouting activities.

The Patrol Method

The Troop follows the Boy Scout  "Patrol Method" to allow for the organized development of young boys into young men. While the program is designed to provide activities that are fun and a real adventure for the boys, it allows for the development of character, pride in country, respect for others, and leadership ability.

The Boy Scout program, unlike the Cub Scouts or other Scouting functions, is run by the Scouts using the gentle guidance and thorough leadership of the Scoutmaster and his staff. It is not a program run by adults. Adults are there to teach, facilitate, and ensure safety. This is important because on occasion, what may look like disorganization is really a learning program. What may be something we, as adults, are not really excited about, is something the Scouts said they wanted to do.

Who We Are

For over 25 years, Troop 709 has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. Troop 709 believes through 25 years of experience, we know that helping our youth is the key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive Scout.

Boy Scout Troop 709 represents the communities of Vista, San Marcos, Carlsbad and Oceanside, and currently has over 40 scouts and is one of the most active troops in San Diego County.

Come Visit Us

You are welcome to join us Tuesday evening from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at  the United Methodist Church of Vista located at 490 S. Melrose Drive, Vista, CA 92081.

You can contact our Scoutmaster, Mark MacKinnon or Committee Chair, Dan Wilbers for more information on joining us to mold successful young men.

Your Next Scouting Adventure is Calling

Learn more about all the wonderful adventures the Troop has planned in the coming year. Make sure to click on this LINK to see what adventure awaits you.

Troop 709 History

Boy Scout Troop 709 was formed in September 1985 by Bill Marsden, the first Scoutmaster.  The Troop  began with six boys - graduates of Cub Scout Pack 709.  By the end of the first three months, it had grown to 12 Scouts. Troop 709 was first sponsored by the PTAs of Casita and Grapevine Elementary Schools.  In 1988, the sponsor was changed to the Vista United Methodist Men.  


Troop 709 has continued to build traditions and has gained a reputation as one of the highest quality troops in North County. Troop 709 has been a Journey to Excellence Unit (formerly an “Honor Unit”) every year of its existence and is one of the largest Troops in the Tri-City  area.  Today, Troop 709 is part of the “Buena Creek District” within the San Diego-Imperial Council of the Boy Scouts of America.


The highest rank in Scouting, the Eagle rank, exemplifies the Scouting Tradition and helps to ensure a quality Scouting program.  The Troop has also benefited by many Eagle Scouts who, as adults, who have contributed their knowledge and time to assist the Scoutmaster for the benefit of the Troop 709 Scouts.  

Nick Crilly was the Troop’s  first Scout to make Eagle in 1990.  Since then, more than 83 new Eagle’s have been added to Troop 709’s Flight of Eagles. Together, these individuals have provided a wealth of information and experience that is reflected in the quality of the program of Troop 709.   

Troop 709 has now had six Scoutmasters:

  • Bill  Marsden (1985 - 1989)
  • Art  Carpenter (1989 - 2005)
  • Dave  Hendron (2005 - 2008)
  • Lance  Fisher (2009 - 2011)
  • Jim Eighmey (2012 - 2018)
  • Mark MacKinnon (2019 - current)

In August 2018 Jim Eighmey announced his retirement as Scoutmaster to be effective January 29, 2019. After a long search, Troop 709 has selected ASM, Mr. Mark MacKinnon (an Eagle Scout) to become the Troop's sixth Scoutmaster on January 29, 2019.


My Son Wants to Join the Troop


What Do I Need to Do To Join the Troop?

First. Have you contacted the Scoutmaster? Due to the quality of our Scout program that the Troop offers, we have placed a limit on the size of our troop. This ensures that the troop can continue to provide a quality Scout program. Please make sure to contact our Scoutmaster to determine if we are accepting new Scouts.

You can reach Scoutmaster Mark MacKinnon by email.

Secondly. Have you attended a Troop meeting? We ask that you first attend a troop meeting and see if we are fit for you.

Joining the Troop

As part of the joining process, there are a number of forms to be completed and dues to be paid. Although a bit of a bother, it is important because much of it is required before the Scout can earn rank or attend campouts. The new Scout will also receive more information about his new Troop such as the Troop Handbook, the Troop Roster and Annual Calendar of Events. Forms to be completed include:

  • BSA Registration
  • Physical, all parts updated annually (Please provide THREE copies to the Troop):
  •   - Part A - Informed Consent, Release Agreement, and Authorization
  •   - Part B - General Information/Health History
  •   - Part C - Pre-participation Physical (required for all camping trips longer than 72 hours)
  •   - Part D - High Adventure Physical (required only for participants in High Adventure camps)

  • Permission to use firearms (optional)
  • Adult Resource Survey
  • Adult Registration (upon request)

Our Key Leadership

Dave Hendron

Mark MacKinnon

Mark MacKinnon


Chartered Organization Representative

Mark MacKinnon

Mark MacKinnon

Mark MacKinnon



Dan Wilbers

Mark MacKinnon

Dan Wilbers


Committee Chair

Troop Leadership

Here is the link for San Diego Imperial Council Merit Badge Counselors:


Troop Organization Chart

Scout Leadership Positions

Boys are elected into key leadership roles. Only active Scouts will be eligible for leadership roles. A boy must have reached First Class rank, completed ILST (Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops), and completed a term as Assistant Patrol Leader of a regular Patrol to be eligible for election to Patrol Leader. Second Class rank can serve as Assistant Patrol Leader. A boy must be at least Star rank and have completed a term as Patrol Leader to be eligible for election to Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL). A boy must have completed a term as Assistant Senior Patrol Leader to be eligible for election to Senior Patrol Leader (SPL). 

In addition to the elected leadership positions, there are appointed leadership positions. The Senior Patrol Leader appoints eligible Scouts to the positions of Bugler, Chaplain Aide, Historian, Librarian, Quartermaster, Order of the Arrow Representative, Instructor, and Scribe. The Scoutmaster may also appoint one or more boys to the positions of New Scout Patrol Leader, Troop Guide or Junior Assistant Scoutmaster.

In order to ensure that all boys have an opportunity to hold leadership positions, no boy may hold the same position more than twice until all other eligible boys have held the position once.

Learn More

To learn more about the requirements for Scout leadership positions, please read the applicable sections of the Troop 709 Handbook. A copy is available under the FORMS tab under other forms.

Troop 709 Program Websites


Troop 709 takes pride in not only being one of the most active troops in San Diego County. But a troop that offers a vast array of programs and services for its Scouts. Make sure to visit our other Troop 709 websites for more information on what we offer. 

Scouting MTB - Mountain Bike Program

Troop 709 is the only troop in California to have a dedicated mountain bike program. Make sure to visit Scouting MTB website to find out more on this exciting program.

Scout Gear Exchange Progam

Scout Gear Exchange Program

Don't buy new gear. Find perfectly good used gear for a lot less! Again, Troop 709 takes the lead and has its own dedicated website for exchanging used gear no longer used by Scouts.

Finished using a piece of gear or clothing? List it on the website for another scout to enjoy. Sell it. Swap it. Give it away.

Troop 709 Golf Tournament Fundraiser

Troop 709 Golf Tournament Fundraiser

So you ask. How does the Troop go on all these wonderful adventures? Each year the Troop holds its annual golf tournament, dinner and silent auction fundraiser to raise these much needed funds.

Held each year at St. Mark Golf Club, the Troop puts on this wonderful event which attracts a sold out group of golfers, and after golf, are treated to wonderful dinner, awards, and silent auction to wrap-up of the event.

Make sure to visit the Golf Tournament website to find out about this great fundraiser.