“Scouts has allowed new opportunities to open myself up to different things,” said patrol leader Renee Arana of Troop 19 in Tuckahoe. “Scouts is a great experience, I’m very glad that they opened it up to girl.”
Last year, the Boy Scouts of America became Scouts BSA, and officially welcomed girls, who now have the opportunity to earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout alongside boys.
Scouts BSA advancement is not age or grade-based, but rather with support and guidance from parents and leaders, a Scout progresses at his or her own pace. Some Scouts advance through the ranks quickly, while others take more time.
“I realize how much work goes into being a Scout, and I appreciate everything everyone is doing,” said Arana. “There’s such a deep rich history in Scouting.”
Merit badges give Scouts the opportunity to investigate approximately 120 different areas of knowledge and skills.
A Scout must first get approval to begin the merit badge process from their Scoutmaster, who identifies possible merit badge counselors. The counselor reviews the requirements with the Scout, and they decide on projects and a completion schedule.
The top five most earned merit badges are the First Aid, Environmental Science, Communications, Swimming and Citizenship badges.
Trisha Williams, Cubmaster of Pack 896 and training chair for the Tomahawk District, has been involved with Scouts BSA for eight years.
Her son started in Cub Scouts when he was just four years old, so she has witnessed the program’s evolution to allowing diversity.
“It’s been different the last couple of years, especially with young ladies being able to participate,” she said. “I believe in scouting for all, that’s something that I preach."