Boys will be boys, it has been said for centuries, since the Latin proverb first was recorded in English in 1589, according to dictionary.com.

But as of Friday, Feb. 1, girls will be Boy Scouts.

To celebrate the admission of girls ages 11 to 17 as full-fledged members of the historic organization, officials with the Simon Kenton Council will hold a launch party from 6 to 9 p.m. that day at Vertical Adventures Training Center, 6295 Busch Blvd. in Columbus' Northland neighborhood, according to Cassie Ferguson, senior community-relations and marketing director.

Community members will have the opportunity to meet the newest Scouts then.

Although open to the public, registration is requested at skcscouts.org/event/launchparty. Admission is free, and pizza and drinks will be available for $5 a person.

The national executive board of what had been the Boy Scouts of America voted more than a year ago to expand the program to young women.

The organization now is known as Scouts BSA.

The Simon Kenton Council is one of the largest in the nation, covering 17 counties in central and southern Ohio and Greenup County in northern Kentucky. It will expand by at least 25 all-girl troops Feb. 1, said Jen Koma, deputy scout executive.

"We certainly anticipate significantly more than that during 2019," she said.

The council already serves 18,000 youths in 533 chartered organizations, according to Ferguson.

"This is an exciting time for us as an organization," said Koma, who has worked for the council for 13 years. "We've always served young ladies through various programs that we've offered. ... I see our families and our community really embracing the opportunity we have to serve the full family, which includes the sons and daughters.

"I think it's important to know the program doesn't change. The way we delivered scouting to young men is the same way we will deliver it to young women."

"I think it's just a good feeling," said Heather O'Bannon, scoutmaster for incoming Troop 7148 at Hilliard United Methodist Church. "It's like a, 'Yes, finally,' kind of feeling. The girls are really excited about the opportunity to do the outdoor activities, not just as families but to actually go through the ranks.

"They're ready for it."

The Feb. 1 party at Vertical Adventures Training Center, one of two indoor rock-climbing venues in Northland owned by Carrie and Alexis Roccos, will feature a special recognition at 7 p.m. for the first all-female troops, according to Ferguson.

"At this event, more than 100 Scouts, both girls and boys, volunteers and parents will enjoy climbing, Scout activities and refreshments to celebrate this historic moment," Ferguson said. "A couple of groups of female Scouts have been preparing for this moment for months. Including Troop 148 in Hilliard, Troop 74 in Clintonville and a crew in Pickerington preparing to cross over to Scouts BSA on Feb. 1."

Scout troops frequently hold overnight camping events at Vertical Adventures facilities, Carrie Roccos said.

"We have quite a long history of working with Scouts, so it was nice to know they wanted to continue with this new endeavor," she said.

"We want our new Scouts and all of our existing Scouts to be at our launch event at Vertical Adventures," Koma said. "We chose that location because it really encompasses a lot of what a Scout gets to do in the program, and that's to be adventurous. We really want to celebrate this opportunity of welcoming young ladies into the program with a true scouting experience."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1