LOCKWOOD — It was back in 2018 when Scouts BSA, a program within Boy Scouts of America, changed its rules so that girls could be a part of Cub Scouts.
One group of Lockwood parents is working towards forming a girl’s troop in the area, for those girls interested in doing what the boys do.
“When I first started, I was a Webelos. And now I’m an Arrow of Light, and soon I’ll be a Boy Scout,” said 10-year-old Esmae Cherry on Thursday.
Five years ago, Cherry wouldn’t have been able to be a part of Cub Scouts.
“It was about three or four years ago that they started allowing girls to come in,” said Cub Master, Zach Simenson.
Simenson has been volunteering with Scouts BSA in this district for the past 13 years. He’s seen all the changes throughout the decade.
“Scouting’s actually always had girls within the last 20, 30 years in some degree worldwide. It’s just taken some time for the United States to catch up,” Simenson said.
It’s a change welcomed by his 11-year-old daughter, Elizabeth.
“I didn’t really enjoy Girl Scouts. I did it before and I didn’t enjoy it,” said Elizabeth Simenson.
Elizabeth and Cherry both grew up in the world of Scouts BSA. They saw the activities boys got to do versus the ones girls did in Girl Scouts.
“In summer camp you also get to do these really fun things. Like you even get to hold a pocket knife, you get a whittling chip,” said Elizabeth.
When asked what her favorite part about Scouts BSA was, Cherry answered with no hesitation.
“Probably hiking and camping and the outdoors,” Cherry said.
Eventually, these two will be a part of their own Scouts BSA girl troop.
“Right now, the ground rules that are set forth by Boys Scouts of America says that they can join a troop but it has to be a separate girl’s troop,” said Simenson.
There are currently three girl’s troops in Billings but none in the Lockwood area.
“We’re looking to start a girl’s troop that we can mentor and eventually they can become autonomous for themselves. But it’d be the first one in this part of the neighborhood,” Simenson said.
The boys in Scouts BSA Troop 42 couldn’t be more supportive.
“I think it’s pretty cool too, and how girls are in Boys Scouts,” 13-year-old Connor Wilkerson said
And many, like Elizabeth’s brother Alex, are ready to impart the wisdom they’ve learned through the program.
“I can try and help her with knots, and first aid, and stuff like that,” said 12-year-old Alex Simenson.
To learn more about the scouting opportunities in the area, visit this Facebook page or this website.