On a recent day at Liberty Bell Middle School, Troop 360 of the Boy Scouts of America was busy completing a service project.
The troop worked feverishly to pack 140 bags full of pencils, paper and other school necessities so they could be sent to Liberty Bell students learning remotely from home. If you saw the troop in action, it might be hard to believe the project would not have been possible before last spring.
That’s because Troop 360 is one of a handful of all-girl troops in our region. When the Boy Scouts opened their ranks to girls last spring, many responded looking for the challenge provided by the outdoor-oriented activities the BSA provides.
Among them was Jordan Havert, who now has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of many of her family members as a fifth-generation Boy Scout. While Havert said it was a bit awkward at first, she is on track to become one of the first female Eagle Scouts.
“If I become an Eagle Scout, I’ll be a fifth-generation because everybody else in my family has been an Eagle Scout,” Havert said. “I’ve been motivated to be the first girl Eagle Scout in the family.”
Havert’s mother Nicole is a teacher at Liberty Bell, which helped attract the scouts to the school to help complete the project that will benefit many Liberty Bell students learning from home. Jordan said many of the supplies came from teachers at the school who wanted to be sure their students had everything they needed at home to succeed.
John Vermillion, Scoutmaster of Troop 360, said the inclusion of girls into the BSA has been a positive development all around. Vermillion was a Boy Scout growing up in Florida, and he’s thrilled that his daughters Evelyn and Elizabeth – who are both involved with Troop 360 – finally get a chance to follow in his footsteps.
“People were afraid it was breaking tradition and somehow going to do something bad to BSA,” Vermillion said. “It did nothing bad. Now it’s just like all the guys’ sisters that looked over their shoulders and wanted to do this stuff, now they can.”