2018-07-11 / News

Scouting BSA - it’s not just for boys anymore

BY MARGARET WHITMER
Reporter


Cub Scout Pack No. 322 in Croswell has some new faces since girls have been allowed to join. Among them are, from left: Jenna Janish, Alana Stokes, Braylynn Groh, Bree Rule, Anna Rule, Arden Stokes, Tara Ledesma and Rachael Dwyer. Photo by Margaret Whitmer Cub Scout Pack No. 322 in Croswell has some new faces since girls have been allowed to join. Among them are, from left: Jenna Janish, Alana Stokes, Braylynn Groh, Bree Rule, Anna Rule, Arden Stokes, Tara Ledesma and Rachael Dwyer. Photo by Margaret Whitmer Members of Cub Scout Pack #322 of Croswell prepared to march proudly down Main Street in Lexington last Saturday during the annual Independence Day parade.

Except a lot of those marching were girls.

Why?

"The U.S. is the last industrialized nation not to open 'troopside' up to younger girls, although girls have been in the Explorer, Sea Scout and Adventure Crew programs for some time," said Scoutmaster George Lewis.

The Croswell troop is one of only three in Michigan approved to pilot the Early Adopters program to assess younger girls' interest in joining what is now called Scouting BSA.

The interest appears to be high - Croswell currently has 15 girls in grades K-6 in three Cub Scout dens.

"Those are good-sized dens for just starting out," said Den Leader Julie Hall.

The girls can't officially become true scouts until 2019, but are using this year to move themselves up through the ranks.

Lewis said the 108-year-old organization decided to welcome younger girls because they were clearly interested and also for the convenience of families.

Many boys have always had female siblings who accompany them to their meetings and even take part in scout activities, so why shouldn't they officially belong?

Braylynn Groh, 9, from Croswell, is in the Webelo-1 program for fifth graders.

"My brother, he was in Cub Scouts," she said. "I wasn't, but I was doing a whole bunch of activities and not getting awards for it. I wanted to join so I could get awards for it."

Rachael Dwyer, 8, of Burtchville, joined the BSA because she thought it would be fun.

"I get to meet new people, plus I get to do new things," she said.

Since officially forming dens in February, the upcoming scouts have been distinguishing themselves.

Eylie Sharpe, a second-year Webelos II, placed third in the annual Pinewood Derby held in February at Croswell American Legion.

"It was great to see a girl win it," notes Scoutmaster Walker Layne.

Adds Den Leader Alisha Lane, "I'm excited to get new girls and watch them grow and learn all the same stuff their brothers are learning."

They point out that girls in Scouting BSA can still join the Girl Scouts of America, also.

"Whatever fits a family's busy schedule these days," Hall said.

The boys don't seem to mind that girls have joined their ranks.

Alex Dwyer, 11, said he earned a recruitment badge for getting his sister Rachael into the program.

"It's not just boy scouts any more, it's just scouts," he said.

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