Since Jim and Kerri Kelley’s two sons expressed interest in joining the Boy Scouts, they have been actively involved in the organization. When their daughter Caitlin turned 13 and showed the same interest in the Scouts, the next logical step was for them to form a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troop for girls. The end result is Troop 226, Lynn’s first girl troop.
“I was already familiar with the inner-workings of running a boy scout troop, so it made sense for me to start this one so my daughter could have the same opportunities as her brothers,” said Jim Kelley. “We had the opportunity to bring our daughter into the same program as our sons and we don’t have to learn an entirely new program that only caters to girls.”
The Kelley’s aren’t the only family who found themselves in this situation. In fact, the majority of the Scouts in the local Boy Scout troops, had younger sisters wanting to follow in their older brother’s footsteps. Having seen their older siblings engage in competitive activities that centered around being outdoors, they too, wanted to work their way through the ranks and have the same experiences. Some of the many activities that they regularly participate in include: 5-20 mile hikes, The Walk for Hunger, service projects, Klondike Derby’s, and a week-long Scout Summer camp.
Since the BSA was founded in 1910, this is the first time that girls have been invited to partake in the action-oriented organization. The progressive push comes at a time when boy scout memberships are at an all-time low due to the boost in year-round sports and a lack of parental involvement.
“The program is built to protect kids, it’s formatted for youth protection, and gender simply doesn’t matter,” said Kerri Kelley.
If you walk into the Knights of Columbus building on Monday evenings, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, you will find yourself immersed in a world scouts of both genders, brothers and sisters, participating in activities that build leadership, confidence and strength.
For more information on BSA Troop 226, please contact Troop Leader Jim Kelley at: [email protected].