Volunteers learn about Scouts BSA Girl Troop options

| January 22, 2019

COSHOCTON – Linda Udischas has been involved in Boy Scouts since 1982 and is excited that now her granddaughters can continue to be part of the family tradition.

“All three of my sons are Eagle Scouts and I have a grandson who is one,” she said. “My oldest is a scoutmaster with the troop at Sacred Heart and now Chip (my youngest) will be the scoutmaster of the new Scouts BSA Girl Troop at Emmanuel Lutheran Church.”

Udischas was part of a group of scout volunteers who gathered together on Jan. 21 at the Muskingum Valley Scout Reservation for an informational meeting on girls continuing roll in scouting.

“I wish this would have happened 50 years ago or more when I was in school,” Udischas said. “I always wanted to be a Boy Scout.”

Last year girls were allowed to start joining Cub Scouts and now girls age 11-17 can join Boy Scouts. To help new and old troops navigate these changes, Traci Saffell, vice president of membership for the Muskingum Valley Council, BSA, let attendees of the meeting through a question and answer session.

Separate girl troops can form if they have a charter organization or they can be linked to an existing boy troop through a shared committee. However, even if linked they must have separate scoutmasters. Leaders can be a man or woman, but troops must make sure they are meeting all youth protection guidelines.

“We are not becoming co-ed,” Saffell said. “We will have separate troops. Meetings can be opened and closed together. Others activities must be done separately, but they can plan events together.”

The program will not change to accommodate girls, but there will be separate handbooks for girls and boys. The girls’ book will show girls doing scout projects and the boys’ will show boys completing scout projects. Uniforms for girls will have a slightly more feminine cut to them.

“They will earn the same merit badges and young women will be able to become Eagle Scouts following the same criteria and achievements of young men,” Saffell said.

Summer Camp Director Dominic Lehman also spoke at the meeting.

“We’ve had female staff for years and have had females camp here for years,” he said “We are already set up to accommodate them. My three younger sisters and I were all raised out here at camp and they would have killed for this opportunity. They camped safely out here for years and really enjoyed it. They have nothing but praise for BSA. We have plenty of room and camp sites here. We make sure everyone has their safe space and designated area as a unit. Every site can be split into two at a minimum so if your troops are linked you can be in the same site, but different area.”

Starting Feb. 1, members of Scouts BSA Girl Troops will be able to start completing unit requirements. Saffell encouraged volunteers to start promoting their troops and hold recruiting events.

“We just need to focus on our mission statement,” she said. “It’s never changed and is what we will focus on going forward.”

According to its website, “The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”

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Category: Clubs & Organizations

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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