About a year ago, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) added a program called Scouts BSA that includes opportunities for girls. Since that time, Scoutmaster Jody Barkman and I have worked to prepare and form a local girl troop, Scouts BSA Troop 1639, which meets 7 p.m. Mondays at Woodstock Christian Church, 7700 Highway 92.
The BSA’s mission is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices during their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
Scouts BSA is a year-round program for girls in fifth grade through high school, providing fun, adventure, learning, challenge and responsibility to help girls become the best version of themselves. In Scouts BSA, young women go places, test themselves, and have one-of-a-kind adventures. This program allows girls to learn and grow at a pace that is unique to their development, and, for the first time in 100-plus years, girls will be allowed to earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout. Opening the program to young women allows the Boy Scout program to reach more families.
Troop 1639 is the sister troop of Troop 639. Troop 1639 is female-led, with a woman scoutmaster and mostly female assistant scoutmasters, while Troop 639 is all male-led. The troops may join each other for some outdoor activities, but each will have its own program.
Adventure, leadership, service and personal growth are four reasons for young girls to join. The program serves as an introduction to the great outdoors, and helps build leaders. Former Scouts serve on the boards of global corporations, walk the halls of the White House, and have been known to go hiking on the moon. Life lessons learned in Scouting will help all members make good decisions throughout life.
– Kim LeGrand
Girl Scouts Focus on Building Skills for the Future
Be on the lookout – they’re back! In mid-February and March, you’ll see them outside local businesses, ready to make eye contact, giving you their sales pitch and selling you boxes of cookies. And they’ll be sure to thank you for your purchase or donation to the military.
It’s easy to think that’s all there is to the Girl Scouts. It’s true girls gain entrepreneurial experience from cookie sales. From kindergarteners on up, the girls are taught about setting goals, creating a business plan, marketing products and money management through those cookies. It’s a great thing to watch a shy girl practice what she’s going to do, then step up, make eye contact and speak with confidence.
Girl Scout troops across the country are all about building confidence in girls. Each troop is girl-led, meaning that the girls select the activities and badges they want to try. The program works to develop skills that are appropriate to each age level. Today’s badge topics include STEM, outdoor skills, life skills, entrepreneurship, art, citizenship, financial literacy, health and relationships. A kindergarten or first grade Daisy learning to be friendly and helpful earns one of her Daisy petals, representing the parts of the Girl Scout Law. A Brownie learns how to speak to people, introduce herself and make new friends. Middle school Cadettes learn about finding common ground and working with others. Troops have the opportunity to work together to accomplish goals and learn new things in the process.
Recently, GSUSA added several new series of badges. While girls can still earn legacy badges on themes such as first aid, camping skills and cooking, there are many new options for girls to explore. Ambassador Scouts (11th and 12th graders) now have a College Knowledge badge to help them evaluate and explore college choices. Cybersecurity badges teach girls age-appropriate online safety and privacy as well as how to spot and investigate cybercrime. Each Scout level has always included outdoor opportunities, and the program now includes environmental stewardship badges. The eco-badges teach girls how to respect the outdoors and take action to protect the natural world. Space science badges teach girls about how NASA scientists explore space and conduct investigations.
Girls also learn the importance of giving back to their community and their world as part of the Girl Scout experience. Girls learn they can take action and change the world, whether it’s through a troop service project helping an animal shelter or a high school Scout’s Gold Award project that creates an educational program on a specific issue.
The life skills girls gain through Scouting
build courage, confidence and character – exactly what young women will need to succeed in life.
To learn more about Girl Scouts in our area, use the “Contact Us” link on one of our local service unit websites or our Atlanta Area Council:
– Luanne Allen, director of client services for a software company. She co-leads a troop of seven amazing Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts.