Boy Scouts of America camp opens doors to all-girl troops in Kentucky

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT/Gray News) - For the first time, all-girl troops are joining the boys at Camp McKee in eastern Kentucky.

The girls will go through the same program boys take part in with the goals of earning merit badges and rank advancements – all steps towards earning the rank of Eagle Scout. / Source: WKYT

The girls go through the same program as the boys with the goal of earning merit badges and rank advancements – all steps towards becoming an Eagle Scout.

The organization says it will recognize its first class of female Eagle Scouts in 2020. Eagle is the highest rank.

In February, Boy Scouts of America launched a new program called Scouts BSA. It’s open to girls between the ages of 11 and 17 and offers the same opportunities the boys have been enjoying since 1910. The troops are not co-ed.

"I’m very glad the Scouts BSA program is very scout led,” said 16-year-old Emily Reed, a scout with Troop 1281 from Frankfort, Ky. “It means everybody gets the chance. Me and these other ladies get the chance to lead themselves in a way we haven't got to do before.”

Reed’s troop of eight is taking part in the first-year camper program.

The BSA Blue Grass Council, which runs the camp, said all-girl troops have been on the rise since the decision.

“They're wearing their complete uniforms, they are wearing it proud, and they are carrying their patrol flags,” said Mark Marraccini, a camp counselor. “It’s a lot like scout camp when I was in scout camp and that was a long time ago.”

Leaders with the Blue Grass Council hope to see more all-girls troops in the future.

The council says steps have been taken to ensure male and female scouts are separated. They have different campsites and bathing facilities.

Staff and leaders are required to take part in special training to watch for any situations that could put scouts at risk of potential abuse or violate BSA policy.

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