Just days after the organization formerly known as the Boy Scouts of America began allowing girls to join its ranks, an all-girls troop held its first official meeting in Pickerington.

On Feb. 1, Scouts BSA, the governing body of what was formerly Boy Scouts of America, began allowing girls ages 11-17 to register in its program.

In Pickerington, an eight-girl-and-growing group already was positioned to organize, and Feb. 5, Troop 42, the community's first all-girls Scouts BSA group held its first meeting in Trinity at the Eastern Gate church.

"I really pushed for the creation of this," said Anne Wilson, a 16-year-old senior at Pickerington High School North. "The moment I learned they were going to be opening up the Boy Scouts to girls, I wanted to create a troop.

"I love the opportunities that Boy Scouts has. I love the leadership training that scouts go through and all the things they learn and the bonding between them."

Wilson added she loves the outdoors and is looking forward to learning more about plant identification and taking camping trips with her new troop.

Another member, 14-year-old Mikayla Barbe-Cox, is an eighth-grader at Gahanna Middle School West. She said she's been member of the Girl Scouts since she was 5 years old and plans to continue with that group.

But she said she was excited about the different opportunities Scouts BSA offers.

"It's a really different kettle of fish," Barbe-Cox said. "Girl Scouts is really focused on empowering you as a girl and as a woman and how to deal with some of that kick back.

"Boy Scouts is more about life skills and things you will use later in life and survival skills."

Troop 42 has been formed under the direction of Scout Master Camille Wilson and Assistant Scout Master Dia Fleming-Rex.

During the troop's first meeting, members were busy working to achieve the rank of Scout, which involved learning Scout law, taking the Scout oath, and learning the organization's motto, slogan and outdoor code.

Additionally, the girls went through various stations to learn about knife and internet safety, as well as how to tie various knots and whipping and fusing ropes.

"There was a lot of excitement when BSA announced that they would be allowing girls to register as part of the program," Camille Wilson said. "We realized that there were enough girls to start a group who wanted to join the scouting program.

"Some of these girls have grown up alongside their brothers in Boy Scouts and loved being part of camping, hiking and learning outdoor skills. Now they can be active participants, earning merit badges, ranks, and the honors as a scout."

Wilson said the majority of Troop 42's members are from Pickerington, but it is open to girls from other communities.

Currently, she said, the members range in age from 12-16. Wilson also noted that Troop 256, which has long held a Boy Scouts troop in Pickerington, has plans to start a girls' troop in coming months.

Troop 42 meets from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Tuesdays in Trinity at the Eastern Gate, 6389 Blacklick-Eastern Road N.W.

Wilson said Troop 256 meets at 7 p.m. Mondays in Grace Lutheran Church, 8950 Refugee Road.

In addition to weekly meetings, Wilson said, the troop will focus on building scout skills and leadership development.

Troop 42 also will have monthly troop outings, which will include camping, hiking, kayaking, white-water rafting and community service projects.

"Scouts BSA offers a unique opportunity for scouts to learn leadership development, character and service, while combining with a love for adventure and the outdoors," Wilson said. "Our girls have the opportunity to dive deep into merit badges, challenge themselves mentally and physically in the outdoors, while building friendships with like minded scouts.

"We are thrilled to have Troop 42 form. The girls have bonded quickly, work so well as a group, and have a great time together," she said.

"We are optimistic that as word gets out about the scouting program for girls, we'll be joined by others who are looking for the same things. We're excited to grow as a troop and see our scouts build character and leadership skills that will last them a lifetime."

Additional information about Troop 42 can be obtained by calling Wilson at 240-257-3089 or sending email to pickeringtonscoutingforgirls@gmail.com.

More information about Troop 256 can be obtained by calling Ryan Thompson, 303-667-0095 or sending email to rthompso@scouting.org

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