At the beginning of Feb. 2019, girls were officially allowed to join the Scouts BSA, formally known as Boy Scouts of America.
Scouts BSA is a year-round program for youth 11-17 that provides fun, adventure, learning, challenge and responsibility to help them become the best version of themselves.
“Beginning of February the Boy Scouts of America allowed girls to join, and that was the first time that’s ever happened. Girls have been adventuring though, they’ve been doing that since the ‘70s,” said Scoutmaster Rose Rountree. “Now they’re allowing 11 year olds to join the regular scouting program, and that’s the first time girls are going to be able to earn the Eagle rank.”
On Oct. 28, Troop 414 had their very first Court of Honor where some of the troop members got their scout rank and received their merit badges.
“This is one of five girl troops in Boy Scouts of America here in this area. This is historic, this is their very first Court of Honor, and I couldn’t be prouder,” said Jim Teeter, Friends of Scouting. “For years and years and years I have had to turn girls away who wanted to travel with me to all the mysterious places on the planet, and I hated having to do it.”
“The thing is, there’s nothing that limits you. You can do it all. Don’t let the world say, no. Get out there, do it,” said Teeter.
On the brink of change, there is always some push back.
“There’s push back from some people. They’re like ‘no you can’t do this’, ‘you can’t have boys be with girls, it’s going to be awful’,” said Rountree. “They’ve been doing it for a long time, we always have them separated. There’s stipulations, there has to be a female leader there, and they’re separate from the boys. Whenever we go camping, they don’t camp next to them, they’re in a different campsite.”
In the celebration of starting their first girls troop, Scoutmaster Rountree was able to give her troop their own personal touch.
“We’re not linked to anyone, so I had to think up a number for our troop,” said Rountree. “I picked 414, and it’s from the Bible, Esther 4:14. I know she was cleansed with oils before she was presented to the king, she was nervous about the roll she was undertaking, which I was to being a Scoutmaster. The verse says ‘perhaps this is the moment for which you were created for’, so I always liked that. It’s a nice feeling. It helps people overcome daunting tasks, I feel.”
At the end of the Court of Honor, Rountree wanted to leave her girls with a little bit of inspiration.
Rountree presented the room with a $100 bill and asked by a show of hands if anyone wanted $100. With a room full of raised hands, she then proceeded to fold, crumple and even step on the bill. She would then again ask after each alteration if anyone still wanted the $100 bill and would receive the same response of raised hands.
“It’s still $100,” said Rountree. “It doesn’t matter how much you crumple it up, or trample on it, it gets scuffed up or dirty, it still retains its value. Which the same goes to you guys and everyone. It doesn’t matter your failures or your rejections because it doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear, what house you live in, what kind of car you drive.
“The Scouting values will take you throughout your life. It’s your experiences and your potential that your value comes from, it doesn’t matter how much you’re trampled on, and I want you guys to remember that. It doesn’t matter what happens to you in life as long as you hold true to your values.”