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Newtown’s First All-Girls Scouts BSA Troop Looking For Members

Published: October 11, 2018 at 03:39 pm

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Young women in Newtown have the opportunity to be part of history, as the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) first local girls’ Scouts BSA troop will host an informational meeting on October 18 for those interested in becoming members.

Last year, the more than a century old organization announced that it would be inviting girls into its Cub Scouts program, designed for kindergarten through fifth grade students, and its Boy Scouts program — which has now been renamed Scouts BSA — for ages 11 through 17.

The shift will allow girls to be able to earn awards and merit badges as well as advance in the ranks to reach the highly coveted Eagle Scout title.

However, per the national policy, the troops will be not co-ed but instead have separate boy troops and girl troops. Since January 30, 2017, the BSA no longer refers to birth certificates as a reference point when creating single-gender programs. Instead, it accepts and registers youth based on the gender identity indicated on their application that they wish to be affiliated with.

Newtown has already begun incorporating girls into its Cub Scouts program by creating multiple Pack Dens specifically for girls.

Local resident Dave Barrett has nearly 40 years of scouting experience and has been chosen to be the Scoutmaster for the future girls’ Scouts BSA troop in Newtown.

“As a youth, I participated in the Exploring Program, which is now called Venturing, in Newtown,” Mr Barrett said of his background with the organization.

He went on to help a number of different BSA troops and was even a Girl Scouts of the United States of America troop leader for six years when his daughter was a member.

Most recently, when his son became interested in joining the BSA, he began volunteering as the Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 370 in 2008.

When the BSA announced that it would be inviting girls to join its formerly boy-exclusive groups, Mr Barrett said that troop leaders in Newtown came together to discuss the best way to incorporate girls interested in joining the Scouts BSA program.

“We determined that it was best to support one troop, rather than each troop in town start their own girl troop,” he explained.

Scouts BSA will use the same curriculum and offer the same activities in the girls’ program as it does in the boys’ program.

Mr Barrett says Scouts will develop their character while learning a variety of skills, earning merit badges, and gaining leadership experience.

“The philosophy is that [BSA] is a youth-led organization. When you go to any of the troop meetings, which will be the same for the girls’ troops, the youth run the meeting,” he said of the leadership opportunities.

Members can also look forward to participating in outdoor adventures, such as camping and hiking, and making friends along the way.

Informational Meeting Planned

Parents and youth interested in learning more about the all-girls Scouts BSA troop are welcome to join an informational meeting on Thursday, October 18, from 6:30 to 8 pm, in the meeting room of C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street.

“We’re going to talk about the program and about what we do,” Mr Barrett said.

There will also be activities to get to know the members and understand why they each want to join Scouts BSA.

Mr Barrett says he has already heard from individuals interested in joining and hopes the troop can have about a dozen members.

Those who join the Newtown group will also get to do activities with other communities that have begun their Scouts BSA groups, including Redding.

The official launch of the girls’ Scouts BSA program will be in February 2019, as indicated on the BSA website, but Mr Barrett says members who are interested in joining can participate in the annual Camporee coming up in November and camping with other troops.

For more information about Scouts BSA and its upcoming informational meeting, e-mail Dave Barrett troop870sm@gmail.com.

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