The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop and Pack 451 welcomed a new girl troop this week, embracing a change in Scouting that started in 2019 when the organization changed its name to Scouts BSA.
There are now three 451 units: Pack 451 (5–10 years old), Boy Troop 451 (11-17 years old) and Girl Troop 451 (11-17 yeasr old).
Scout Master Bernadette Galvan said she believes the opportunity helps address needed change and allows the girls to learn how to be better members of their community.
“This is a great need in our diverse world. Our community needs updated systems and with the girls, I feel like they're going to become leaders, they're going to serve their community and they're going to build lasting friendships through all their adventures,” she said.
“My two boys Jacob and David Galvin, who are in troop 451 Scouts BSA, were able to join. And then as we were going through this new adventure, there was just one problem my daughter Sarah Galvin, was able to come to the functions but not really participate. And when she would participate, she was not really awarded or able to fully participate so my ambition became to build opportunities and open up awareness for girls in scouting,” Galvan continued.
Other leaders in the troop echoed that sentiment and believe BSA offers valuable and necessary life skills.
“As part of their activities that they embark upon, they learn citizenship and part of being a good citizen is knowing not only take care of yourself, but to take care of others as well as the environment, and that's where learning about outdoors becomes essential, like learning how to be careful with fire. Scouts have a mantra of leaving it cleaner than you have found it,” said Edvin Eshagh, Cub Master.
Girl Troop members received their neckerchiefs for the first time on Monday. The neckerchief, or scarf, worn around the collar and held by a neckerchief slide or woggle is a part of the Scout uniform and are given once a Scout earns their Scout rank. The neckerchief represents a promise to uphold the Scouts’ beliefs and behaviors stated in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, according to Galvan.
Members of Girl Troop 451 said that more girls should participate in the Scouts.
“With Scouts being only for boys and now being open to girls, I feel like this is a huge opportunity for young girls to become great leaders,” said Dalia Elgammel.
“I am so thrilled that I have the privilege to join BSA and go on many exciting adventures and getting to hang out with my friends,” said Ishmeet Kaur.
Activities Scouts learn can range from team building exercises to life-saving skills.
“I'm excited about arts and different art forms like sculpture. Horseback riding is a merit badge that you could do. And there's a lot of games like swimming to do,” said Sarah Galvan.
“We're going to Scout Island pretty soon and we're going to do inner tubing. And we’re going to be learning first aid and stuff in case somebody is choking and dying,” Scarlet Hanson said.
The boys have welcomed the girls with open arms and said they are excited to share these opportunities with them.
“It’s been going really well and they’ve been learning really fast. They’re very enthusiastic and eager to learn,” said Cole Ingersoll, Troop Guide.
Turlock Troop 451 boys and girls ages 11-17 years old meet weekly on Mondays and Pack 451 ages 5-10 years old meet weekly on Tuesdays at Monte Vista Chapel picnic area at 6:30 pm. Families are welcomed to the Pack 451 Community Carnival at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 at Monte Vista Chapel.