By Kathy Brown.
It’s official. On February 1, 2019, Haddam Troop #44 will have a linked, or “sister” Troop #44G. The requirement for a troop is five participants; so far there is a Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, and one girl from Haddam. Because of the nature of the rollout, Haddam Troop 44G will accept girls from neighboring towns Durham/Middlefield, Chester/Deep River, Killingworth, and East Haddam. If any girl/young woman is interested from Haddam or any of those towns, they are encouraged to attend a recruiting event on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the First Congregational Church of Haddam (905 Saybrook Road). This is the regular meeting time for Haddam Scout Troop #44, which has been active in town for more than 50 years.
Camp Gus, a 25-acre parcel in town, is where the Scout troop camps once a month during the school year. The troop meets weekly during the school year, holds can & bottle drives three times a year, goes on a 3- or 4-day spring trip to various historical/educational locations, holds a turkey shoot twice a year, teaching youth gun safety as well as sportsmanship, has a one-week summer camping trip at Camp Mattatuck in Plymouth, CT, and participates in various community service activities throughout the year. Presently, the boys’ troop has 28 active Scouts.
Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States with more than 2 million youth and nearly 1 million volunteers. In 1908, Robert Baden-Powell published “Scouting for Boys” in six parts, describing activities and programs which existing youth organizations could follow. According to the history on weareuniquescouts.wordpress.com, “The reaction was phenomenal and quite unexpected. In a short time, Scout Patrols were created up and down the country [Britain].” In 1909, the first Scout rally was held in London, and approximately 11,000 scouts attended, including girls who called themselves “girl scouts.” Because of this response, Baden-Powell retired from the Army and in 1910 formed the Boy Scout Association, and one year later, formed the Girl Guides, with his sister Agnes Baden-Powell. Juliette Gordon Low, credited with starting the Girl Scouts of America, participated in a Girl Guide troop in London in 1911, and was friends with Baden-Powell. When she returned to the United States in 1912, she established the first Girl Guide Troop in the United States in Savannah, GA. In 1915, that organization became Girl Scouts of America (in the rest of the world, the organization is still referred to as Girl Guides).
Women being involved in Scouts BSA (formerly, Boy Scouts of America) is not all that new. Since 1969, BSA allowed young women into Explorer posts. Sea Scouts, which was organized to promote a youths’ boating skills and knowledge of maritime heritage, has been co-ed since 1972. In 1998, the Explorer posts became “Venturing.” Since 1998, BSA has officially accepted women as leaders of boy scout troops (though Catherine Pollard led troop #13 in Milford, CT from 1973-1975), though there have been den mothers in the Cub Scouts since the 1930’s.
In other parts of the world, scouting has been co-ed for years. For example, Scouts Canada has been co-ed since 1993. In the UK, Scouts have been co-ed since 2007. Australia scouts have been co-ed since 1971. In this new “family scouting” format for the United States, girls/young women will have the same advancement requirements as the boys/young men, but will have their own separate unit. One of the reasons Scouts BSA chose to keep the genders separate, they said, “was to ensure that both boys and girls can reach leadership positions within the troops, since many boy Scouts will have had a head start.” In Haddam, the troops will work side by side for activities, though there will be separate leaders, and separate campsites while camping at the same time.
The foundation of Scouts, BSA is the oath, law and mission below:
The Scout, BSA oath: On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty, to God and my country and to obey the Scout law; to help other people at all times. To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
The Scout, BSA law: A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
The Scout, BSA Mission: The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, if you are between the ages of 11-18, live in Haddam or any of the surrounding towns, looking to learn about leadership and the outdoors, please join us at the First Congregational Church of Haddam from 7:00-8:30 p.m. to see what it’s all about. DUE TO THE WEATHER, THE RECRUITMENT EVENT WILL BE POSTPONED TO FEB. 26, 2019.
For more information, please contact Kathy Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by K. Brown