Boy Scouts now include females in programs

–by Mary Helen Darah

Charter members of the newly formed Scouting BSA Girls Troop 344, Assistant Scoutmaster Julie Ramsey, Scoutmaster Doug Ruck, Amanda Stonerook, Assistant Scoutmaster Lisa Ruck, Assistant Scoutmaster Linda Black, Sophia D’Amore, Dani Black, Zoë Ramsey, Maggie Ramsey and Caris Ruck enjoy time together.

The Erie Shores Council of the Boy Scouts hosted an event on Feb. 1 to celebrate the launch of the Scouts BSA Program at Camp Miakonda, located at 5600 West Sylvania Ave. Erie Shores Council serves more than 6,000 youth throughout Lucas, Wood, Ottawa and Sandusky counties, as well as a portion of Fulton County including Swanton, Ohio. Erie Shores Council owns two camps which provide outdoor education and camping experiences for Scouts and non-Scouts alike. Under the leadership of approximately 2,500 adult volunteers, the Erie Shores Council provides programs for community youth, including Cub Scouts for first through fifth grades and Scouts BSA for sixth-12 grades. In addition, Erie Shores Council offers Exploring and Venturing programs, which are coed programs for youth, ages 14-20 years old, who seek opportunities to explore fields of career interest or have the desire to participate in high adventure activities. As they enter into their 109th year of Scouting, the Boy Scouts of America will officially expand their programs to include young ladies.
District Director Swan Creek Boy Scouts of America, Erie Shores Council, Alissa Hunt, is excited about the inclusion of females into the program. “I want everybody to know that we are still the Boy Scouts of America,” stated Hunt. “The programming may change but our name will not. Our organization is still the Boy Scouts of America. The BSA program will now include female membership in all-female troops. We wanted to create an environment where all members of a family can have the opportunity to enjoy and share the scouting experience. I have two daughters that are in the new program. My youngest daughter is with the Cub Scouts and my oldest daughter is registered with one of the older female troops. We are thrilled with this new offering for young ladies.”
The new BSA troops offered are not co-ed. “There are troops for boys and troops for girls,” stated Hunt. “I am excited for my daughters to experience outdoor adventure, which is a huge component of the program. If you like to camp it’s a great opportunity. It is also a wonderful environment to enhance character development and leadership. My daughter is having a blast. She was given a pocket knife and taught how to safely use it. She thought that was the best thing ever. Her troop is going to work on the exact same programs as males. They will also have the opportunity to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout.”
There will be an event on March 23 at Camp Miakonda, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to let girls see first-hand what the new scouting program has to offer. The BSA program officially has three registered female troops and by the end of March, they anticipate having10 all-female troops within the Erie Shores Council. “I hope girls explore the options that the BSA programs offer,” she stated. “I want my daughters to learn to lead and not just follow the pack. I want them to gain confidence and have that confidence going into their futures. I especially want them to know that they can have a positive impact on others and in their community through scouting.”

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