FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — Last year, the Boy Scouts of America announced the addition of girls to its ranks. This month the first girls-only group in our region started meeting.
The scouts BSA Troop 380 Girls Division meet once a week at the Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Smith. Wednesday (Feb. 27) was the troop's third meeting of its five founding members.
"We were the first in the westark area Council, we start on the very first day February 1st, turned in all our paperwork and started going," said Isidra Kaelin, Scout leader for Troop 380, Girls division.
"They are a totally separate unit from what we are but we do a lot cooperatively. But they are separate, they do their own thing, they come and go as they please, they meet with us sometimes to work on merit badges or work on skills, and then other times they're working on things that we is a troop are not working on. Scouts BSA is exactly the same program that the boys went through, only now with the inclusiveness for anybody who wants to participate," said David Higginbotham, Scout Master for Troop 380, Boys Division.
"They are required to earn a lot of merit badges that are essential to them to become good citizens and of course normal things like swimming, camping, that makes them feel very self-sufficient," Kaelin said.
"I saw that none of the other, like, not very many other girls were in it yet and I wanted to be one of the first ones. I would tell them that they should totally join because I think this is a really fun thing to do," said scout Michaela Kaelin.
"I completely agree it's a really fun thing to try and I think they'd like it," said scout Dalila Benavides.
They are working on first aid and are preparing to go to a Merit Badge University.