The first two Scouts BSA troops for girls to form in Delaware recently took advantage of opportunities previously unavailable to them.
The Boy Scouts of America Rodney Scout Reservation in North East, Maryland has hosted scouts for nearly a century—but this is the first year girls participated in summer scout camps there.
For first-year scouts, the weeklong camp includes building first aid, nature and swimming skills, as well as doing activities like climbing and archery.
Eleven-year-old Amberly Davidson attended scout camp at Rodney Scout Reservation last week. She’s a member of Troop 5508, based near Bellefonte, Delaware. Davidson remembers when she first learned that the Scouts BSA program, formerly Boy Scouts, would start accepting girls early this year.
“My brother was going to be in scouting and I was like, oh my gosh, I want to go so bad,” she said. “Eventually they told us that there was going to be a girl troop— and literally I almost started crying. I was like, oh my gosh, yes, I’ve been wanting this so badly!”
Girls have come to Rodney Scout Reservation before as part of the Boy Scouts of America’s co-ed Venturing program.
Rodney camp director Matt Gutherman says with girls joining the Scouts BSA program, the camp built three new shower and bathroom facilities. But its programming remains the same.
“I think that girls have wanted to participate in this outdoor program for a long time, and now they have the opportunity to do so,” he said. “The girls are very enthusiastic about the program, in fact they may have more enthusiasm for this program than the boys do. So I expect to see a lot of rank advancement and a lot of Eagle Scouts coming out of the new membership.”
Rodney Scout Reservation’s program director Rachel Weaver says the Scouts BSA program allows girls to earn more recognition for their scouting accomplishments. “They’re able to earn merit badges now and able to earn rank advancement, which is beneficial for pride in themselves and to be able to show others what they’ve accomplished.”
Fourteen-year-old Natalie Davidson of Troop 5508 agrees.
“Coming into BSA is giving us that survival training and will get us Eagle [Scout rank],” she said. “Depending on what career path we want to go down, it gets us more respect as women going into these certain places. If any of us wanted to join Army or firefighting like I do, it’ll get us higher rank quicker.”
Thirteen-year-old Corin Andrade, also of Troop 5508, says her favorite part of scout camp last week was riflery. “It’s so much fun,” she said. “Everything is gone when you shoot something— the target. All the pressure’s off of you. It’s focus.”
Fourteen-year-old Alaina Walter’s favorite part was working on her swimming merit badge. “I did the mile swim. It was crazy hard. I was, I think, the only girl that did it at the pool this year.”
Amberly, Natalie, Corin and Alaina all hope to eventually become Eagle Scouts— the highest rank in the Scouts BSA program.
Troop 1923, the first Scouts BSA troop for girls to form in Delaware this year, attended scout camp at Rodney Scout Reservation earlier this month.