Boy Scout Troop 456 has been an active part of the community for decades, and in March they will celebrate their diamond anniversary.
The troop was chartered on March 31, 1959 and that entire time, the have been with Palmyra’s Trinity United Church of Christ.
This weekend’s Scout Sunday at Trinity will celebrate the milestone as part of church services.
Another one major event on the calendar for the the troop’s 60th year will come on February 1, when the group’s all-girl troop will become official.
Last year, Boy Scouts of America announced that they would begin allowing girls to join the organization. This began with the Cub Scout program, and now the Boy Scouts.
The all-girl troop informally known as Sister Troop 456, has already been holding unofficial meetings and events leading up to the group becoming official on Friday.
Many question why, when there is an organization in existence known as the Girl Scouts, an all-girl Boys Scouts of America troop would be necessary. The troop’s scoutmaster, Diane Kovach, looks to the differences between the two organizations.
“Basically, the programs are totally different,” says Kovach “Boy Scouts, BSA, is geared towards camping, hiking, outdoors types of skills; whereas the Girl Scouts still do some of that, but it isn’t quite as outdoor focused.”
The all-girls program will feature the same exact skills and curriculum as their all-boys counterpart. This means that girls will now be eligible to pursue the organization’s highest rank of Eagle Scout.
Here’s an infographic from Boy Scouts of America that visualizes how troops are now organized.
Kovach’s daughter, Alexis, one of the troop’s first members, points out how scouting can now be a family activity.
“When my brother was younger and he was in Cub Scouts, my mom was the leader too, so I would be dragged along to camp-outs and stuff,” she said, “but now that the whole family is involved, we can all camp out and it will all be beneficial for us.”
Sister Troop 465 is the first of its kind in Lebanon County. Aside from them, the closest all-girls troops are some distance away; located in Hummelstown and Brownstown.
According to Kovach, there is strong interest in the troop and many of the soon-to-be scouts are looking forward to well known scouting activities like helping the community and attending summer camp.
Update 6:00pm: We wanted to share a little more information on the setup of the dual troop setup now based at Trinity United Church of Christ. Each troop is separately chartered, with the all-girl troop going into effect on February 1.
Although Boy Scouts of America remains named the same thing, the Boy Scout program is now known as “Scouts BSA,” with participants in both programs being referred to as “Scouts.”
Each troop will run their own calendar and activities, and will operate as single gender units under appropriate adult leadership.