Shepherdstown welcomes changes to Scouts BSA with new club for girls
SHEPHERDSTOWN – When the Boy Scouts announced in 2017 they would begin allowing girls to earn the honor of Eagle Scout, the organization was hoping to increase opportunities for girls, without competing with the Girl Scouts organization.
“The Boy Scouts have tried to make this clear, this is not intended for them to be in competition with anyone. This is to expand the choices for young Americans to choose either or both of them,” said Scoutmaster David Fogelsong, of Shepherdstown, who is currently working on establishing a girls troupe in parallel with the boys troupe at New Street United Methodist Church.
For Fogelsong’s daughter, being able to join the same organization her father and brothers were a part of, was like a dream come true.
“I have two older boys who have both been boy scouts, and my daughter, because I was their scoutmaster, she accompanied me on many scouting events because our troupe was very family-inclusive,” said David Fogelsong, of Shepherdstown. “She would go on hikes and campouts and visits to the Naval Academy and the New York trip. She developed an affinity for those kind of things, so she’s looking for opportunities to do that kind of thing.”
According to Fogelsong, his daughter’s desire to remain in the Girl Scouts and become a member of Scouts BSA was based on the family’s knowledge of both organizations, which encourage different kinds of development in youth.
“They’re different programs and they offer, in some cases, complementary things,” Fogelsong said. “The Girl Scouts, from my perspective as the parent of a Girl Scout, enjoy very active support from the commercial sector, with opportunities for girls to go and learn about potential career choices. They certainly learn about service.
“The Boy Scouts focus a lot again on leadership, but also on individual character development, developing young Americans to have strength of character and strength of conviction. I think they do a good job of conveying to young folks the importance of being courageous in your convictions – moral courage is something we talk a lot about, which I think is important. The Boy Scouts spend a lot of time outdoors and learning outdoor skills,” Fogelsong said. “Really, those are intended to help young people embrace that they can do things and learn to do things- they don’t have to be dependent on someone.”
On Thursday evening, Fogelsong held an informational meeting at New Street UMC, to see if any other girls in town would be interested in joining the troupe. During the event, he explained how the girls troupe and boys troupe would interact. For events like hiking, the troupes would hang out together. At camps, they would sleep in separate campsites, but would participate in events together.
“We’ll meet once a week for an hour-and-a-half, and then we’ll try to do one outing a month, one camp-out a month and then some months we’ll also have a service project,” Fogelsong said, mentioning leadership of the club will be carefully handed over to the girls in the troupe. “Initially, what we’re going to do, is we the adults will set a schedule for what the meetings will focus on. As soon as that is practicable, we’ll turn that schedule over to the young ladies, to decide what the meetings will be about.”
For more information about joining the troupe or to volunteer, email or call Fogelsong at firstname.lastname@example.org or 571-236-0866.