Avamarie Hedrick and Savanna Hooker of Westerville are excited about the chance to participate in scouting like their older brothers.

Both girls, who are 11 years old, recently joined the newly formed girls troop of Scouts BSA, which is linked with Troop 64 of the Arrowhead District. Both girls have brothers who are members of Troop 64.

The girls had their first troop meeting about two weeks ago and agreed they have been enjoying the activities so far.

"It feels good to finally be a part of it," Avamarie said of the experience.

Avamarie, whose parents are heavily involved with the troop, said it's nice to be able to be with her entire family at scouting.

Savanna said her mother and father were also excited when she decided to join the troop and said her brother "was OK with it" when she expressed her interest in joining.

Avamarie, who was involved with Girl Scouts, said the leadership style in Scouts BSA is different than what they experienced while in Girl Scouts because there are more volunteers and leaders willing to help out.

At the Feb. 12 meeting, the Scouts BSA troop of about 20 girls learned to tie different types of knots on their own, while scout leaders watched and assisted as needed. To close, the girls played a relay game with teams going around in a circle seeing who could complete all of the knots they learned the fastest.

Skylar Hooker, Savanna's older brother, who is a member of the boys troop, said he was surprised when his sister wanted to join scouting, but is really excited for her. He said his sister always has been passionate about the outdoors.

"She's part of the reason we got a pop-up camper," he said.

He said he's excited to be able to spend time with his sister through scouting and is looking forward to seeing how scouting changes as a whole because of the addition of the girls. He said he can't wait for her to go on the camping trips and some of the other excursions through scouting.

Alex Hedrick, a 13-year-old member of the boys troop and Avamarie's older brother, said his sister switching to Scouts BSA from Girl Scouts has helped with their schedules and made it easier on their parents.

"We're in all of the same places," he said.

He said he's excited to see his sister participate in the troop's annual mulch selling and actually have money that she can raise to go to camp or different trips with scouts.

Patty Hisey, scoutmaster for the girls, said she loves the girls being in scouts finally and working with them.

"I just think it's going to advance scouting," she said.

Scoutmaster Rob Wright, who leads the boys troop, said scouts should be looked as something all can be involved in. He said the style of program is youth-led and encouraged any youth who are interested to not be afraid to visit multiple troops if one doesn't have activities that interest them.

Wright said the practice of visiting troops is something the leaders encourage when scouts "cross over" from cub scouting.

"You will find a good fit," he said.

Hisey said the girls troop should be electing officers within the next month and will probably be completing the closing ceremony with the boys troop for the next six months.

Girls ages 11-17 are eligible to join.

Troop 64 meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Spring Road Church of Christ, 74 S. Spring Road, Westerville. For more information call Hisey at 614-778-4075.

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