Starting this month, a new Scout troop will meet in La Jolla to welcome girls to the program conventionally offered only to boys. Known as Scouting BSA Troop 506, the new girls-only troop will have the same programming as its brother-Troop 506 and also be based in La Jolla.
An introductory meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11 at the La Jolla United Methodist Church, 6063 La Jolla Blvd. The first scheduled event is a visit to the Green Acres Ranch in Temecula to give the Scouts an opportunity to earn a horsemanship merit badge and for parents to meet the leadership team and learn more about the program. The outing is noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24 and costs $35. RSVP to Scout leader Marnie Stransky at (619) 204-8194.
“(Boys) Troop 506 has a history of high-adventure activities,” said Assistant Scoutmaster Jacques Naviaux. “We have at least one adventure a month, or an opportunity to spend a couple of nights in a tent or attend a summer camp for a week. We went to Montana for what a pack-rafting trip, where we spend a few days white-water rafting with our own little rafts packed into backpacks. The girls program will be similar.
“There is nothing wrong with local Girl Scout troops, but this programming is something we provide that may appeal to the population of girls that enjoy outdoor activities and character-building in accordance with Scout Law.”
Scout Master Stransky added: “This will be a high-adventure Troop, with a lot of backpacking, hiking and canoeing; and the girls will have the same opportunity as the boys to earn merit badges, develop their leadership skills, and work their way up to an Eagle Scout rank (the highest rank offered). It will be very structured and serve as another option for those who want to explore Scouting.”
Not to be confused with La Jolla Venture Crew 506, which is co-ed, Scouting BSA Troop 506 will be girls only.
Describing it as “fun with a purpose,” Naviaux added: “Scouting provides the opportunity to explore the outdoors, and there’s purpose and character-building training. If you do your best to live your life according to Scout Law, you are going to be a better citizen and member of your community and handle life as it comes to you.
“When you take youth into the outdoors, you’re going to experience some form of adversity, hopefully, just a little. You could get lost ... or you could be hot and tired. You will struggle, and when you survive and can get past that, you learn you can accomplish any goal.”
He continued: “Scouting can appeal to those who are not the best at organized sports, which was the case for me. I wasn’t good on the field, but could backpack and hike. I gained a lot from being a Scout as a youth. The program creates resilience, which is huge. And now both boys and girls have the opportunity to advance in the series of skills we want them to learn, such as navigation and first aid.”
In Girl Scouts, the highest achievement is the Gold Award, obtained by identifying an issue and creating a sustainable action plan that educates the community about it. In Boy Scouts and Scouting BSA, an Eagle Scout rank is earned by demonstrating that the Scout lives “by the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law,” earned 21 merit badges and completed a community service project.
“For those that make it to Eagle Scout, it’s a huge deal; not many kids have the opportunity to do that,” Naviaux said. “Those that make it to Eagle Scout show they can set a goal and accomplish it. Along the way, you’re going to have some failures and you learn how to deal with them. Now that we have girls coming in, they can reach Eagle. For those who strive to earn it, that’s a high point in your Scouting career.”
Want to know more? Visit scouting.org/scoutsbsa