LADIES FIRST: Local group makes history as first all-girl troop in state

By: 
Josh Briggs
Managing Editor

In Bryant, a group of 14 young ladies have made history. On Tuesday, the group was officially chartered as Troop 19 — the first all-girls troop in the state recognized by the Boy Scouts of America.
According to Scoutmaster Tim McEuen, the troop chose “19” as a way to pay homage to the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920, and to the new year of 2019.

Troop 17, which is an all-boys troop that has been in operation for more than a decade in Saline County, is the “Brother Troop” to Troop 19, McEuen said.

“We had a chance to be Troop 17 as well,” he added. “But we went with 19 to be ourselves and to pay homage to the Amendment, the new year and also to Troop 17, being so close to them with 19.”

On Friday, Boy Scouts of America officially began accepting applications for all-girl troops to be formed for those ages 11 to 17.

“Using the iconic Boy Scouts program that began in 1910, Scouts BSA now charters all-boy troops and all-girl troops that follow the exact same program and that give both boys and girls the opportunity to earn the rank of Eagle Scout,” according to a press release obtained by The Saline Courier.

Troop 19 is the first troop charted in the Quapaw Area Council of the BSA, which covers 39 counties in Arkansas.
First United Methodist Church of Bryant is now sponsoring both local troops.

In 2018, the BSA began accepting girls into its Cub Scouting program for those in kindergarten through fifth grade. More than 700 girls reportedly joined Cub Scouting, the largest number of any council in Arkansas or Oklahoma, according to Marcal Young, Scout Executive/CEO and an Eagle Scout.

Until now, once a girl finished the Cub Scouting programs she was finished and could not advance within the BSA.
“Just like the boys’ leaders are teaching them how to grow from young boys into young men and then into adult men, we are going to teach these young girls to be young ladies and then adult women,” McEuen said.
The programing, as a whole, will be the same for both groups.

“Doing the Scouts is not for someone that likes to sit at home and play the Xbox,” McEuen said. “There are going to be some requirements for these young ladies to complete and prepare for.”
He said that girls wanting to join Troop 19 do not have to have any prior experience with Scouting.
McEuen also stated that girls can take part in both BSA programs and Girl Scout programs, adding that two members of Troop 19 have elected to continue in their Girl Scouting adventures along with their new roles.
He added that while the rank of Eagle Scout cannot be obtained in a short three-year period, girls in Troop 19 will be able to file for extensions in order to complete their ranking if they choose to do so, adding that regular Scouts age out at 18 years old.

McEuen also stated that while both troops will intertwine when it comes to activities or camps and other programs, supervision is at the top of the list of Scoutmasters and other adult leaders.

“They will go to camps together, but when it comes to sleeping or bathing, they will be in totally different worlds,” he added.

McEuen said that while parents are able to tag along with scouts in the Cub Scouting programs, the only way to participate with Scouts who are 11 to 17 is to go through proper official training to ensure the Scouts’ safety at all times.
A Saline County resident of 30 years, McEuen said he did not take part in Scouting as a youngster, but watched his brother go through the programs.

The father of two daughters, both members of Troop 19, McEuen said he was honored to be asked to be Scoutmaster.

“This is history,” he said. “These young ladies are making history here tonight. That is amazing and I am almost speechless thinking about it.”
From within, Troop 19 is led by Senior Patrol Leader Jessica Jackson.

“I am here to not only grow in myself, but to also help my fellow Scouts grow,” Jackson said. “My older brother was in his troop and I saw him having lots of fun and thought to myself that I would like to do that, so I joined.”
Like Jackson, a number of Troop 19’s members are sisters or cousins to members of Troop 17, which helps make the two groups stronger in Scouting, McEuen said.

“Not only will we make this troop successful, we are showing that this is not just based off what boys can do, but that girls have equal liberty and can do the same,” Jackson added.
Jackson, 17, is a student at Malvern High School.

“The principles of the Scout Oath and Law, values like being trustworthy, loyal, and helpful, leadership skills, first aid, personal fitness and citizenship all apply equally to girls as to boys,” Young said. “I’m very glad that they can now be a full part of this program that has been at the heart of the American culture for the past century. These timeless values are now available to all of our youth.”

Anyone who would like more information about Scouting or joining Troop 19, call Butch Walker at 501.366.8381 or email at butch.walker@scouting.org.
Also, those interested in learning more about the Scouts BSA program for boys or girls can contact the Quapaw Area Council at 501-664-4780 or www.quapawbsa.org.

Category: