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story.lead_photo.caption Ten girls gathered Tuesday in Bryant to form the first all-girl Boy Scouts troop chartered by the organization’s largest council in the state. - Photo by Alex Gladden

BRYANT -- Ten girls stood in a single line alongside the Boy Scouts of Troop 17 and raised three fingers on their right hands as they recited the Boy Scouts oath during a ceremony Tuesday night in the First United Methodist Church of Bryant.

The girls, ages 11-17, are the founding members of Troop 19.

"This is actually a really great honor to be the first girl, female troop in Saline County," said 11-year-old Emily McEuen.

The group became the first all-girls troop chartered by the Quapaw Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The Quapaw Area Council is the largest council in the state, representing 39 counties in central and northeast Arkansas.

All-girls troops are starting to crop up elsewhere in the state, too.

All-girls troops have formed in Conway, White Hall and Cabot since the Bryant troop's induction, and the council plans to add 10 or 12 more all-girls troops in the next month, according to Marcal Young, Scouts executive and CEO of the Quapaw Area Council.

An all-girls troop was chartered Feb. 1 in Fort Smith, which is part of the Westark Area Council in Northwest Arkansas, said Christian Swaim, an assistant Scouts executive with the council.

Boy Scouts of America began accepting applications for all-girls troops in February for girls ages 11-17. The all-boys troops and all-girls troops follow the same program and offer the same opportunity to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the program.

Members of Bryant's Troop 19 hope the troop serves as a model for other states that have yet to add all-girls troops to their ranks, Scoutmaster Tim McEuen Scout said.

"We want other states to look at us and think, 'wow'" said McEuen, who has two daughters in the troop.

For decades there have been Scouting programs in other countries for boys and girls together, but the Boy Scouts program here remains single gender, chartering only all-boys troops or all-girls troops.

The decision to allow all-girls troops drew criticism from some, most notably the Girl Scouts of the USA organization, which accused the Boy Scouts of trying to replenish its diminishing numbers with girls.

But Young said allowing girls to join allows all family members to participate in the Boy Scouts. Some of the girls who joined Bryant's Troop 19 have brothers in Troop 17.

Araina Simmons, 14, said she has a brother involved in Scouting. She has followed along as he learned skills and is excited to be a part of the Scouts and getting the opportunity to master the same program herself.

The program will teach the girls traditional Scouting skills such as hiking and camping but also will teach such things as developing financial responsibility and leadership. McEuen said the intention is to let the girls lead the group while he acts as a guide.

There are 135 merit badges that girls will be allowed to earn, he said. The girls in Troop 19 will also get a badge for founding their group.

"I think it's very exciting," Young said, "because I think it's a historic time for us."

First United Methodist Church of Bryant chartered Troop 19 as well as Troop 17, which includes more than 40 boys.

Metro on 02/11/2019

Print Headline: All-female Boy Scouts take oath in central Arkansas

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Comments

  • ObieOne
    February 11, 2019 at 7:54 a.m.

    What’s next? Whites joining the NAACP? Men joining in Miss America Pageants? Marriage at 10 yrs old? Isn’t Progressivism great.

  • RBear
    February 11, 2019 at 7:57 a.m.

    "Marriage at 10 years old?" Only a right wing extremist would make that leap.
    ...
    Great for these girls and good luck on their Scouting journey.

  • titleist10
    February 11, 2019 at 8:28 a.m.

    Can boys join the Girl Scouts? What the blank is wrong with this world?

  • JatLR
    February 11, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.

    Great opportunity for these girls to have the same opportunities as boys in high adventure, leadership, citizenship, and lots of fun.

  • Murphy01
    February 11, 2019 at 9:07 a.m.

    Those two on the end look real happy.

  • SWAL
    February 11, 2019 at 9:23 a.m.

    Why, just why..?

  • GeneralMac
    February 11, 2019 at 9:31 a.m.

    Liberals want all sexism removed and everyone considered the same.

    Great !

    Drop all girls sports in high school......ONE varsity team per sport
    Drop all women's sports in college........ONE varsity team per sport
    Drop all WOMEN'S events in the plympics...ONE competition per sport

    Marathons......drop that sexist practice of listing the men's winner and the women's winner.

    Be careful what uou "gender confused" people wish for !

  • malice06220956
    February 11, 2019 at 9:31 a.m.

    When my mother was a girl in scouting during the 1930s, the girl's program was much closer to the Boy Scout program. However, it had changed by the 1970s when I was a Girl Scout. If the Girl Scouts had remained closer to their roots, there would be no need. I've always preferred the programs offered by the Boy Scouts.

  • Moonglowalso
    February 11, 2019 at 10:09 a.m.

    Obieone - Re: NAACP. Anyone can join, including white people.

  • Moonglowalso
    February 11, 2019 at 10:10 a.m.

    Obieone - Re: the NAACP. Anyone can join, including white people.

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