Rochester Girl Scouts to try for Boy Scout ranks
ROCHESTER — Girl Scout troop A1001 has gone beyond the traditional girl scout activities like embroidering and canoeing to throwing tomahawks and shooting rifles by joining Freetown Boy Scout troop 330.
A1001 is the first Girl Scout troop in the Rochester area to join forces with a Boy Scout troop. They will also be the first to attend a Boy Scout summer camp.
On the weekend of March 30, the troop went on a two day camping trip with the Boy Scouts. They spent three hours at a shooting range, aiming at targets with a .22 caliber rifle to earn a rifle merit badge. The girls also got to throw tomahawks.
Before, troop A1001 leader Donna Blanchard said, the activities of the Girl Scouts were very limited to doing art and crafts and selling cookies. In camp, which is more expensive than the Boy Scout camp, they were limited to activities such as embroidering, rope courses and canoeing.
They did not camp out and learn the same life-building skills the Boy Scouts learn and were not allowed to use pocket knives or do the same outdoor activities as the Boy Scouts.
Blanchard said the Boy Scout troop warmly welcomed them into their circle. The group decided to merge with a Freetown boys because several girls had siblings in the group. Because the Freetown Boy Scout troop 333 is newly formed, both troops will grow with each other. “This was a big step for them and a big step for us,” said Blanchard.
Girl Scout members Audrey Blanchard and Lauren Eldridge said everyone in the troop is a tomboy. Audrey Blanchard, who is in high school, joined the Girl Scouts when she was in first grade.
“We always wanted to do what the boys were doing” said Audrey, “Now it feels like we have a chance to be equal with them,” Audrey Blanchard said.
A1001 is working to earn the highest ranking in the Girl Scouts, the gold award. Once they finish their final project, they will graduate to that level and the troop will be no more. However, they will still be considered a girl scout for life and will be able to start their own troop.
They are the last six of the oldest girl scout troop in Rochester. Since the Girl Scouts are in the process of becoming a Boy Scouts, they will have the opportunity to work their way to the highest honor a Boy Scout can achieve, the Eagle Scout. As 16-year-olds, the troop members have two years to earn that rank because they cannot earn it after age 18.
In order for the girls to achieve Eagle status, they must earn four more Boy Scout rankings. Currently, the troop is studying the Boy Scout manual to learn their rules, pledge, rankings and techniques.
Some said they are hesitant to work their way to that status because they have a lot of work they have to do and limited time to do it. However, most are making an effort to achieve it.
Donna Blanchard said she was elated about the prospect of her Girl Scouts earning both a gold award and an Eagle Scout achievement. “I’m excited, I hope they can do it,” said Blanchard, “I think we have enough people rooting for them.”