PIQUA — The backs of their T-shirts say it all: It’s not just for boys anymore.
On Feb. 1, the Boy Scout program officially changed its name to Scouts BSA to include young women.
Seven Piqua Junior High School seventh grade girls signed their official applications to join Scout Troop No. 344 at the Knights of St. John’s Hall in Piqua on Thursday evening.
Scoutmasters Dan and Destinie Warren turned in the applications to the Miami Valley Scouts BSA Council to become one of the first female troops in Miami County on Friday. Troops will be separated by gender, with male scouts joining Troop No. 76 and the girls in No. 344 in the Piqua area. Girl troops now have the same opportunity to earn rank and achieve Eagle Scout in the organization.
Girls were always welcome to the scouting’s Venturing program, according to Two Rivers District Scout BSA Executive Lilly Pinhas, but they were unable to participate in rank or achieve the Eagle Scout designation — the organization’s highest honor. “This is definitely an exciting time to be in Scouts,” Pinhas said.
Pinhas shared her own experience in Scouts, participating in the co-ed Venturing programs, but was never eligible for prestigious ranks like the Eagle Scout like her male counterparts.
The Warrens’ daughter DeAnna, 12, was a former Girl Scout and Destinie was a troop leader, yet Destinie shared how they are looking forward to Scouts BSA for more challenging experiences which DeAnna saw her brother and father participate in as Scouts.
“They have a more outdoor focus in their programs … I think the badge work and the requirements are a little more intense in this program versus the Girl Scout program. It’s just more in-depth and more hands-on,” Destinie said. “For me, it makes sense, (son) Dylan and Dan went to camp together and on trips together. I saw him grow a lot from it and I want to see my daughter do the same.”
The Warrens will lead the girls’ troop on a variety of activities such as canoeing, hiking and camping. The troop is Scout-led, so the Scouts will choose the activities they’d like as a group.
“Our experience in Girl Scouts was okay, but there were a lot of things we liked about BSA,” Dan shared. “We felt like there were a lot of things that were a little more adventurous and challenging.We’ve been in this troop since 2013 and really liked it and wanted to keep it going. In changing and evolving with the times, we felt that this was the better way to go.”
DeAnna said she’s looking forward to going on trips like her brother and father like the High Adventure trips and biking trips.
Cam Hollis, 12, shared she’s looking forward to camping as a troop.
“I like how we will get to do a lot of things outside and have fun outdoors,” Cam said.
Sam Persinger, 12, said she joined the Scout troop after her former Girl Scout troop disbanded and learned more about the program from DeAnna.
“It sounded like a lot of fun and I still get to be a Scout with my friends,” Sam said. “I think it’s good skills to have and learn with friends.”
Kaylee Heck, 12, said she wanted to try Scouts to make new friends and go on trips.
“The trips look like a lot of fun,” Heck said.
Naelyn Arnett, 12, said, “I like the outdoors and it’s something new to try.”
“It’s something different to do and I want to learn more about animals,” said Kelsey Gigliotti, 13, of Piqua. Her mother Tracy said she’s excited for her daughter to participate in Scouts to get outdoors and away from technology like their cell phones.
“I’m excited for her to go out camping and to travel — and to get off their phones and get outside,” Tracy said.
The troop will participate in the 100th anniversary celebration of the Miami Valley Council with a Camporee and the opportunity to earn a special badge in May.
For more information or to join a local troop, visit www.miamivalleybsa.org