DELMAR — The town’s Boy Scouts of America Troop 75 has become the first of its kind in Albany County to have a Girls Troop, having first being officially formed back on March 1.
Traditionally long been only available for boys, the BSA decided just last year to open the scouting program up to all youth, regardless of gender, leading its flagship program, Boy Scouting, to change its name to Scouts BSA to take into account the new change. For Delmar’s Troop 75, it offers numerous annual activities and events for boys and girls aged 11 through 17 like summer camp, day hikes, field trips, service projects and weekend campouts.
Scoutmaster Suzy Pris, who has a son and a daughter now in Scouts BSA, said, “It’s fabulous and now, the older brothers in the troop are helping and guiding if the girls need help with something. Normally in a troop, you’ve got older and younger scouts but since we’re still so new, we don’t have that. Thankfully, the brothers have taken on the role as guides, if you will.”
She also expressed gratitude to Troop 75’s committee who were open to having girls join and “they’ve been more than willing to accomodate so it’s been really great.”
Beth Gannon, 15, one of three girls who have joined Troop 75 so far, said she hopes to get the coveted Eagle Scout rank — the Scouts BSA’s highest rank. To achieve that, she would have to demonstrate strong leadership, citizenship and community-oriented skills and attain numerous merit badges along the way. She hopes to attain that rank by the end of 2020 and if she does accomplish this, she said, “You’ll be included as like the first class of girls to get that.” Pris said that achieving that rank within 18 or 19 months is “certainly the fastest route but it’s doable.”
While admitting that the Girls Troop is still fairly new and is still working to develop its roster and schedule, she expressed excitement over getting to camp more and making new friends while doing outdoor activities.
Pris said that the Girls Troop is now undergoing a recruiting drive where positive word of mouth could hopefully result in more girls joining. “It could also be the girls inviting other girls to join because girls tend to move in groups more so that boys do in society,” she said. “Having a friend or being able to go with someone is really important so if we can invite groups or friends, that would definitely help. A lot of siblings, I have a feeling, will be coming too.”
Pris noted that there are already four more girls who are planning to officially join Troop 75 in April.
So far, Gannon said that she appreciates how Troop 75 “gives you the chance to explore new things.” When asked what she’s most excited about, she smiled, “Camping. I love camping and I haven’t gone in a couple of years so this gives me an excuse to go.”
Moving forward, Pris said that she wants to see the girls tackle problems, learn how to plan, and enable others and teach them. “These are some of the skills they will take with them through their entire lives because you’re going to end up in situations no matter what you’re going to do in life, and you’re going to come across a problem where you’re not sure what to do,” she concluded. “But they’re going to have the skills to figure it out.”
For now, Girls Troop 75 will have a campout and service project at the nearby Lawson Lake sometime in April, camp by Thompson’s Lake in May, and have a summer camp at the Rotary Scout Reservation on the third week of July.
For more information, visit www.delmartroop75.org.