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Members of Troop 314 enjoyed canoeing as part of a recent outing. Troop 314 is the first female Scouts BSA Troop in Madison. CONTRIBUTED

Troop 314, Madison’s first female Scouts BSA Troop, observes Founders Day

MADISON – Troop 314 is an all-female Scouts BSA troop chartered with St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Madison. Troop 314 is the first female Scouts BSA Troop in Madison.

For 100-plus year, Boy Scouts of America’s program for older boys has been “Boy Scouts.” With girls entering the ranks, the name will change to “Scouts BSA,” Scoutmaster Amy Strickland said.

In 2018, Boy Scouts of American began allowing Cub Scouts to enroll females into their packs. “One of our girls joined Pack 350 as a fourth-grader,” Strickland said. In late February, Boy Scouts of America celebrated the inaugural class of Female Eagle Scouts.

Scouts BSA is a year-round program for boys and girls in grades 5-12 that provides fun, adventure, learning, challenge and responsibility. The youth strive for the best version of themselves.

“One primary tenet in Scouting is based on a quote from Lord Baden Powell, founder of Scouting, ‘Never do what a (Scout) can do,’” Strickland. “Scout troops are Scout-led.”

Troop 314 celebrated its Founders Day from March 14, 2020. “The Scouts chose ‘314’ because it relates to Pi and symbolizes that their troop will go indefinitely,” Strickland said.

“Founders Day celebrates the day our troop was formed and is special to our troop. I think it’s also another excuse to eat pie!” one Scout said.

In fall 2020, Troop 314 documented an annual plan, including rock climbing, leadership training, Camporee, whitewater rafting, summer camp, canoeing and service projects. Most time goes to rank advancements for first aid, knots, cooking and navigation. In advancing with merit badges, Scouts choose topics of individual interest.

After a flag ceremony and Scout Oath and Law, regular meetings feature an instructor to teach skills for rank advancement. The instruction can include a game or activity to engage the group, a Scout said.

During patrol time, Scouts have bonding time with a patrol, a small group within the troop. “We treat our patrols like family, the ones that will always be there for you,” a Scout said. Troop 314 is organizing its third patrol. Meetings close with a flag ceremony and ‘circling up’ for announcements and a Scoutmaster minute.

The Scouts believe many Troop members will attain Eagle Scout rank. The goal isn’t easy but one they can achieve, if the motivation exists.

“Every single troop member has what she needs to reach Eagle. It’s just whether she can stay organized and determined long enough to achieve it,” Strickland said. “Knowing these people, before long we’ll have Eagle Scouts in our troop. Not everyone will make it, but many will.”

Any Scout can gain Eagle Scout ranking. “It’s a simple matter of hard work, dedication and motivation,” Strickland said. “Every girl in this troop is astonishing in her own way. This troop embodies the meaning of perseverance. I’m glad to be part of it.”

Troop 314 meets on Mondays at 6:45 p.m. at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Madison. The troop follows stringent COVID-19 policies. Girls, 11 to 17 years old, are welcome to join.

Currently, the troop’s 16 scouts are in grades 6-10. A group of fifth-graders plans to join this spring. For more information, visit about.scouting.org/girls-in-scouts-bsa.

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