Only months since the Boy Scouts of America started welcoming females at the troop level, the largest troop of female Scouts in Eagle Spirit District of the President Ford Field Service Council put in a total of almost 40 hours of community service to the state park system as part of their third weekend camping adventure.
The 13 Scouts BSA members from Troop 8228 in attendance at the campout along with their adult leaders helped prepare a section of the Muskegon State Park for the summertime season by raking, cleaning up sticks, and improving the area.
The Scouts worked in a more populated area during the peak season, but camped in a rustic section of the state park in the section for a large group. The troop, based in the Rockford area, has 19 girls involved. With spring events in full swing, 13 Scouts were able to make the May campout, 14 Scouts were able to make the April campout, and 18 Scouts the March campout. Some had siblings in Rockford and Belmont area boy-led troops so may have been exposed to Scouts BSA, but this is the first exposure for others.
The troop is very active with five Scouts earning Tenderfoot rank over the weekend and almost every girl having earned Scout rank and merit badges. All Scouts who participated in the March campout earned the Rifle Merit Badge through education and qualifying shots, have learned about the Scouts BSA program, and all have learned the ideals of the Scout Law to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
Embracing the Scout Oath and Scout Law, enjoying and teaching skills outdoors, and making the world a better place were some of the reasons Lord Robert Baden-Powell founded Boy Scouts of America more than 100 years ago.
Parents appreciate the ideals as part of the program but for many the idea of being outdoors and learning new skills have drawn these Scouts to the program. “We are not a club or a Sunday school class, but a school of the woods,” stated Lord Baden-Powell.
Being outside learning skills, camping, and appreciating the outdoors is at the core of Scouts BSA. The organization is about learning these skills not just being exposed to them. “A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room,” Baden-Powell said.
The troop has now spent three weekends camping and is busy preparing for a week of summer camp. The Scouts are continuing to bond in Scout-led patrols, gaining new skills, and making new friends since the girls came from various areas and different grades.
During the April campout, these Scouts earned the Totin’ Chit. This means they understand and agree to certain principles of using different tools with blades such as knives, saws, hatchets, and axes. Earning the Totin’ Chit gives Scouts the right to carry and use different woods tools.
Many may have been exposed to these tools for the first time, but like learning to practice gun safety and shooting a .22 in March, the Scouts adapted and encouraged each other. The Scouts also earned the Firem’n Chit at the April campout, which allows Scouts to carry fire-building tools and to build campfires. The Scouts learned how to build campfires and practiced how to do so in a safe manner.
They completed two Scout-led training sessions at the May campout for Totin’ Chip and Firem’n Chit for their fellow Scouts who were not able to attend the April campout. Five Scouts were exposed to their first Board of Review for Tenderfoot rank, which is the second rank of seven ranks from Scout through Eagle Scout.
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