LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - Friday a historic event took place nationwide as girls will now be admitted into Boy Scouts of America.
Girls across the Midlands, and around the nation, will join newly created all girl troops. The Scouts BSA will include girls age 11-17.
Girls will be able to learn Scout skills, earn merit badges and work on advancement. For the first time, girls will be able to work toward the goal of earning the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.
WIS spoke with a few girls who plan to join the Red Bank troop in Lexington as to what holding the rank of Eagle Scout would mean to them.
Sarah Williams said, “It’s a really big rank and accomplishment for people in scouts. It’s something I’ve wanted to be able to do and never really got a chance to until I realized that I could join scouts and be able to earn my rank.”
Cailey Williams said, “I think it’s an amazing opportunity that every girl should be able to do this”
Scouts BSA troops will consist of either girls or boys, but troops will not be co-ed. Boy troops and girl troops may occasionally attend special activities together, but each troop will meet separately and work toward achievements in a single-gender environment.
“I’ve heard stories about people going to job interviews and they’ll mention they are an eagle scout and they’re like that’s the first thing you should have said. I’m just excited for that to happen to girls too,” Michael Norris, a Boy Scout said.
It’s not just about the rank, it’s about leadership and learning new skills.
Lori Norris, Scoutmaster for Troop 9518 said, “To know that you a part of a whole new era in the boy scouts of America and just having that great opportunity to say we started this, we were here, we were one of the first and just to start that legacy is an opportunity that is difficult to express in words.”
Some of the girls who plan to join Troops are coming from the BSA’s Cub Scouts program which opened to girls age 5-10 in 2018. Since then, more than 71,000 girls have joined the program nationwide, but the troops are also seeing interest from young women in the community who would be joining a BSA program for the first time.
There is a recruiting event for girls on Saturday, February 2 at Camp Barstow.
According to the ColaScouts website, there are currently four female troops in the Columbia area.
In November, The Girl Scouts of the United States of America filed a suit against the Boy Scouts for trademark infringement for dropping the word "boy" from its flagship program in an effort to attract girls.
We did reach out to the Girls Scouts of South Carolina.
While they did not comment on girls being able to join the Boy Scouts of America a representative spoke about the overall importance of the organization.
“Girl Scouts have been the leader in developing girls and preparing girls to empower themselves for more than 100 years and we’re not going to stop that," Karen Kelly, Girl Scouts of South Carolina VP of Recruitment and Marketing said. "We do outdoors, we do STEM, we do it in a safe space where girls can explore and have single gender experiences to feed the future female pipeline.”
To learn more about the troops and how to join click here.