One March evening at Curtis Park, eight fifth-graders in khaki Webelo uniforms received the badges that would make them the first all-girls Boy Scouts troop in the Park Cities.
Six months after joining Pack 1899, the first Cub Scout troop in Park Cities to accept girls, Tiggy Tan, Olivia Slaughter, Eisley Mann, Montana Wulff, Zoe Lawyer, Lily Paschall, Penelope Peck, and Maggie Gordon achieved the highest Cub rank, Arrow of Light. The milestone marked their transition into Boy Scouts.
Boy Scouts, now called Scouts BSA, began accepting girls in February 2019, news welcomed by assistant scoutmaster Dorothy Krouse.
“If I could have been a Boy Scout, I would have done it in a minute,” she said. In adulthood, she relished camp adventures with Eagle Scout son, David.
Krouse led Park Cities’ Boy Scout Troop 35 and a co-ed Venturing Scouts troop for ages 14 to 21 before founding Troop 72G with scoutmaster John Shipes and scout leaders Jessica Krouse and Nancy Champion.
Though Troop 72G is linked with boys Troop 72, and both operate out of University Park United Methodist Church, most activities, including regular meetings, are held separately, allowing the girls to lead and make decisions, Krouse said.
“I have a long line of Eagle Scouts in my family, so I really wanna get Eagle.” -Olivia Slaughter
Girls enjoy participation in outdoor activities, including monthly campouts, horseback riding, hiking, and canoeing. They learn how to pitch tents, tie knots, whittle with knives, and light fires. Competing as the only female troop at a Scouting camporee, the girls won several awards for such skills.
“I think it really teaches you a lot of the outdoors,” said 10-year-old Olivia. “It really gets you closer to everything.”
Many of the girls, like Maggie, wanted to emulate their brothers’ experiences. “She was just crazy about everything her older brother was doing and wouldn’t settle for anything less,” said her mother, Christine Gordon.
Liana Wulff is mother to Montana and an older daughter in the Boy Scouts. Their grandmother, Judy Dunlap, has seen them become more responsible and mature.
Victoria Paschall noticed her daughter Lily become more disciplined and organized.
Catherine Tan-Gillespie, who was a Girl Scout in the UK, said her 11-year-old, Tiggy, is thriving. “She was so excited the other night lighting a fire by herself you could tell she got a massive buzz out of it.”
Ultimately, Krouse aims to teach Troop 72G the value of being self-sufficient. “I’m hoping that there’ll be less of a division between men and women and what they can do.” Troop 72G members aspire to reach the highest and most coveted Boy Scout rank.
“I have a long line of Eagle Scouts in my family, so I really wanna get Eagle,” said Olivia. Her great grandfather, grandfather, father, and brother were all Boy Scouts.
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