Local girls participate in Boy Scouts

For the first time in history, girls are now able to be part of the Boy Scouts.

The organization recently changed its name to Scouts BSA and started letting girls join in February.

We’re looking at why some people say this is bigger than Scouting; it’s about equal rights.

For years, multiple girls in our area watched enviously as their brothers, classmates and male peers got to participate in the Boy Scouts while they had to stand on the sidelines.

Now their wait is over, and some Scouts say it’s about time.

BSA Troop 531 in Houston, Minnesota, is like any other Boy Scout troop in the country, with one small difference: They’re made up entirely of girls.

Audrey Alfson, the scoutmaster of BSA Troop 531, says she’s been waiting a long time for this.

“Personally for my daughter, when we went through Cub Scouts with my son and she was right there, she wanted to, but there was no opportunity,” Alfson said.

Alfson always knew her daughter was meant to be in the Boy Scouts. She just didn’t know how to make it happen.

“She for all intents and purposes was (in) the Cub Scouts. When he went through, she did everything,” Alfson said.

Now that BSA Scouts allows for girls to join the organization in separate, all-girl troops, Alfson says the sky’s the limit with what girls can accomplish.

“This program does a tremendous amount for any of the young people that go through it. But I think one of the strongest is the leadership, the problem-solving the creative thinking,” Alfson said.

Even though she had to wait for more than a decade to join the Scouts, her daughter, Hailey, said it’s been well worth the wait.

“I like hunting, fishing, anything that has to do with the outdoors, really. Do all the same things that all of the guys have been doing. It’s really fun,” Hailey said.

By joining the Scouts, Alfson says the girls didn’t just gain a uniform; they got an entirely new family.

“The Scouts in this town in Houston are very strong, the Boy Scouts organization, and it’s really a family connection,” Alfson said.

In total, four girls are in the troop, ranging in age from 11 years old to 15 years old.

Later this summer, some of those troop members will be attending a national youth leadership training camp.

They’ll also get to go canoeing in Canada and hiking through mountains in New Mexico.

Girls in first grade through fifth grade can join the Cub Scouts.

Those between fifth grade and age 18 can join Scouts BSA.

To find a Scouting program near you, go to beascout.scouting.org.

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