210923ind scouts

Braydon Blanchette, 14, of Boy Scout Troop 152 North Kingstown, performs a stretching challenge with the help of assistant scoutmaster Dale Preston during the physical fitness portion of the troop’s meeting on Sept. 21 at Hamilton Elementary School.

Girls interested in scouting can attend a Scouts BSA meeting at Hamilton Elementary on Tuesday nights at 7:30 p.m. as North Kingstown troop 152 embraces the Boy Scouts addition of girls to their program by working to start a sister troop.

The Boy Scouts of America officially adapted their scouting program to Scouts BSA in 2019 when they officially opened up membership to boys and girls. Now both sons and daughters can experience the same curriculum focused on leadership, survival skills and teamwork that was only available to boys for over a hundred years.

“I think the boys have been very positive and super helpful so far,” said Scoutmaster for the sister troop Jess Kutcher. “They have volunteered to become troop guides so once we have our troop they will help the girls learn all they need to know to be scouts.”

The troop is still in the recruiting phase and currently allowing girls to attend their boy’s troop meetings in order to give them a chance to see what scouting is about according to the boy’s scoutmaster, Catherine Campbell. The troop needs five girls signed up in order to charter with the council and be officially recognized.

“It’s going to be a distinct linked troop,” clarified Campbell. While both troops may work together or do activities concurrently each will be a distinct single gender entity, though linked troops may share a troop committee. This separation of genders is an official guideline in the Scouts BSA family scouting policy.

“One of the reasons I wanted to do this was because I have a daughter and I have a son already in the troop,” Kutcher said while discussing her decision to volunteer as scoutmaster for the new girl’s troop. “This means they can be having the same type of experience on the weekends and we can all go and do the same thing.”

Kutcher explained that during the pandemic her daughter’s girl scout troop wasn’t doing much to keep active, and she realized her son’s boy scout troop had a full calendar of events. She became excited when she found an opportunity to provide her daughter with the same opportunities and was able to give her daughter a chance to visit the meetings and experience scouts. Interested girls and boys ages 11-17 are welcome to come to a meeting of troop 152 and see what they are all about without having to worry about committing to joining the organization up front.

“Our troop has been around since the early 70’s,” Campbell said. “There are 3 assistant scoutmasters that have served in my role previously so there’s a deep bench of knowledge and experience to lean on to help both myself and Jess. If it was just starting a whole new troop from scratch that would have been really tough. Really we’re standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Those looking to find scouting opportunities for their daughters or sons outside of the North Kingstown area can find more information by searching for local troops on beascout.org. The website offers the ability to search for cub scout packs and scout troops as well the BSA’s venturing, sea scout and STEM scout programs.

Kutcher pointed out that because the sister troop has not been officially chartered they will not appear in searches on the site that specifically target girl’s troops but that when finding troop 152 it will specify that they are building the sister troop. This may also be the case for other troops and should be taken into account when searching.

Scoutmasters Campbell and Kutcher can be reached for more information by email at scoutmasternk152@gmail.com.

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