ALPENA – Girls ages 11-17 are invited to attend an open house to learn about joining BSA Scouting, formerly Boy Scouts of America.
The open house will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. tonight at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 727 S. 2nd Ave. in Alpena.
Girls who want to learn outdoor skills, team building, survival skills and more are encouraged to attend the open house. Women leaders are also encouraged to attend.
In February 2019, the Boy Scouts of America switched to BSA Scouting and began accepting girls into the program, Troop 92 assistant scout leader Steven Donajkowski said, adding that many people may not have known. Again.
“We’ve had girls who are interested, but the most important thing is that we have to separate them from the boys,” Donajkowski said. “On camping trips, they would have their section, we would have our section, but we would still work together.”
He noted that they needed at least five girls to start with, an adult leader aged 21 or older and an assistant leader aged 18 or older as well.
“We follow two-deep leadership, so…our scouts are never alone,” Donajkowski explained. “There are always at least two adults with our scouts at all times. This is part of the youth protection training that we have to follow.
The girls would be included in the boys’ activities and programs, but they would have a slightly different workbook than the boys, Donajkowski noted.
“The girls would meet in the same place, at the same time,” he said. “They would interact, work alongside the boys. We wouldn’t treat them any differently. Once they register, they are a scout. They are held at the same level as the boys.
He explained why allowing girls to participate in BSA Scouting would not take anything away from Girl Scouts.
“We are more outside, we do more practical training,” Donajkowski said. “We’re not taking anything away from the Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts have their program, it’s a good program. We know there are girls who like to go out, who like to be tougher, who like to be challenged, and that’s what we offer.
He added that being a Scout involves physical training and also requires strength and endurance.
“We go on long hikes, we go on long canoe trips, we go on long camping trips,” Donajkowski said. “You have to be in good physical shape.”
He said Scouting teaches many lifelong skills and values.
“Our primary goal is to transform these young men and women into productive citizens in the community in which they live,” Donajkowski said.
“We’ve talked to other troops, and they’re not removing girls from Girl Scouts,” he added. “We’re looking at a different crowd than Girl Scouts do… We think we’re going to attract more.”
He said BSA scouting presents a fun, challenging and competitive opportunity.
“We have an outdoor adventure program that girls can participate in if they want to,” Donajkowski said.