By: Rose Sutkowski, Publicity Chair, Constellation District
Boy Scouts of America and hundreds of councils nationwide officially begin Scouts BSA on Feb. 1. Scouts BSA, the name given to the BSA’s former program for boys ages 11 to 18, is now a year-round program for boys and girls in fifth grade through high school that provides fun, adventure, learning, challenges, and responsibility to help them become the best version of themselves.
The Cradle of Liberty Council will start the first day by welcoming Troop 176 in Narberth, Pa., one of the nation’s first female troops under the leadership of Maria Cengel, Scoutmaster.
Troop 176 BSA is the sister troop to 176 in Narberth and invites girls ages 11 through 17 years of age to join them and become official members of the BSA. To celebrate this milestone, Scouts BSA kickoff activities are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2.
Troop 176 BSA and two other Troops from the Cradle of Liberty Council will raise the flags on the grounds of the Valley Forge Military Academy on February 2 at Scouting University. A weekend-long celebration at Camp Jarvis in Devon, PA is also planned. From 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Troop 176 BSA will participate in archery, rifle and tomahawk throwing. They’ll also practice Scout skills like knot tying, fire building, cooking and administering first aid. Interested females are welcome to attend Camp Jarvis at this time to get involved and meet the troop.
In 2017, Cengel learned that the BSA would be chartering female troops. As the Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 176, Cengel had the opportunity to watch many boys mature into confident citizens and become better prepared for the college application process and future employment. After the announcement, Cengel knew she wanted to bring the same opportunities to young women like her daughter, Elena.
Cengel became involved in Scouting during the fall of 2006 after her oldest son joined Penn Valley Cub Pack 247, a very active unit within the Constellation District. She and her husband were quickly engaged in the world of Scouting. Much of their free time was spent attending events and activities, and bringing along their younger children, Elena and Nathan.
Elena Cengel was exposed to Scouting at a young age and became known as an honorary Cub Scout. She enjoyed participating in the family race at the Pinewood Derby and was happy to receive a trophy just like the boys. She always tagged along on her brother’s Boy Scout adventures and is thrilled to officially join the program on Feb. 1.
“I’m excited to become a Scout, bond with the girls, go on trips to Philmont Scout Ranch and attend summer camp,” said Elena.
All female and male troops will participate together in local, national and council-wide programs; however, troops will remain single-gender to allow for equal leadership opportunities.
While Scouts BSA will welcome both boys and girls, it will not be a co-ed. Troops will be single-gender and will meet independently. The BSA recognizes and celebrates that boys and girls develop differently, and there are times that single-gender learning is the most appropriate.
If your daughter is interested in joining the Narberth troop or would like to meet the troop at Camp Jarvis, please contact Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org.