First Scouts BSA troop for girls comes to Kent County
For the first time in more than a century, girls can join Boy Scouts of America. The new program Scouts BSA started early this year and is open to both young men and women ages 11 to 17.
Girls and boys belong to separate troops, but everything else, from camping trips to merit badges to leadership positions, is the same, Scouts BSA Troop 1920 Scoutmaster Vani Singh said.
“The skills, and whatever resources that are out there for the boys from Scouts of America, we could extend them to the girls, too,” she said. For example, both can now earn Eagle Scout rank.
Scouts BSA Troop 1920 started in November and is open to girls in Kent County Del., Kent County, Md. and Queen Anne’s County, Md. The five founding Scouts chose their troop’s number in honor of the year women achieved the federal vote.
Many said they had brothers in Boy Scouts or learned about Scouting while at summer camp at Akridge Scout Reservation near Camden.
Chuiyee Kong said her friend told her about the new troop, and she was hooked right away.
“She said it’s where you go camping and you learn about how to survive. Then, I went to my first meeting and it was really cool,” Kong said.
At their first meeting, the new Scouts roasted marshmallows, but there was a catch: they had to build the fire. When presented with a choice between a lighter and a fire-starter, they chose the latter.
“That’s how we knew that these girls were going to have a lot of grit,” district executive Daniel Davis said.
Each Scout rattled off a list of merit badges that they wanted to earn, but they all had one thing on their minds: camping.
The Scouts will go on their first camping trip to Mount Vernon Dec. 6 through Dec. 8. They will work on merit badges and go on a candlelight tour. Future trips include a canoeing expedition to New York, skiing in Pennsylvania and hiking and camping around Delmarva.
Meera Singh said she wanted to join Troop 1920 because she loves camping and hiking. She would often take part in campouts and trips with her brother’s Boy Scout troop, like a recent 21-mile Appalachian Trail hike.
“You’re out in nature, and it’s fun because you don’t have that many resources as you would if you were in your house. You have to work more to get stuff,” she said.
Dassi Shortridge-Pitzer said she is looking forward to working with her fellow Scouts and helping them rank up. She has stepped into the highest troop leadership spot in Scouts as senior patrol leader.
She agreed with the others who said they were excited to learn skills to help them in real-life scenarios.
“It’s fun to actually put more work into the requirements, so you can be more prepared for certain things; so you’re not lost, or if something happens out of the blue and you don’t know what to do, then you’ll be prepared to know what to do,” she said.
Adult leaders, including Scoutmaster Vani Singh and Assistant Scoutmaster Iliana Stewart, will guide the Scouts as they pave their own path as the first girls in the area to join Scouts BSA.
Stewart grew up in Scouts in Bulgaria, and she’s excited to see how Scouts BSA will influence these young women.
“For me, it’s personal. What I took from Scouting seemed to have unintentionally followed me through life in terms of values. I really enjoy being able to give that back to the girls,” she said.
Every Scouts BSA troop is associated with a nonprofit organization, such as a Rotary Club or church, for support. Knights of Columbus Dover Council sponsors Troop 1920, boys Troop 154 and Cub Scout Pack 154.
“We’re very happy that girls from our area now have a great avenue for outdoor adventure,” said Jason Isherwood of the Knights of Columbus. “Scouting’s values and experiences are truly timeless, teaching all young women and men how to be good citizens and strengthen their communities through service, which aligns with the Knights’ mission of providing service and charity to the parish and the community.”
For more, visit facebook.com/troop1920scouts or email firstname.lastname@example.org.