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For first time, girls join Boy Scouts camp at Broad Creek

For first time, girls join Boy Scouts camp at Broad Creek
A group of Scouts both boys and girls, talk and share a few stories as they sit around the table working on their leather projects Tuesday afternoon at the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America Summer Camp in Whiteford. This year was the first time girls attended the camp as scouts. (Matt Button / The Aegis / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Even though she has two at home, Maya Davis got in a kayak for the first time this week at Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation in Whiteford.

She pushed off the dock along Lake Straus at Camp Saffran and began paddling around.

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Elena Lederman, 11, stumbled a little getting into her kayak, but she slid into her seat Tuesday for her second kayaking adventure of the week.

Maya and Elena, from Columbia, are members of Scouts BSA Troop 361 and are attending Broad Creek this summer for the first time.

Scout Maya Davis moves her kayak into position to head out onto the lake with the others Tuesday afternoon at the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America Summer Camp in Whiteford. This year was the first time girls attended the camp as scouts.
Scout Maya Davis moves her kayak into position to head out onto the lake with the others Tuesday afternoon at the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America Summer Camp in Whiteford. This year was the first time girls attended the camp as scouts. (Matt Button / The Aegis / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

This is the first summer girls have been invited to Broad Creek since they were permitted to join Boy Scouts, since renamed Scouts BSA.

The girls — 19 of them this week — are loving it.

“Nobody treated us differently than the boys,” Elena said.

There are physical separations between the girls and the boys —separate bathrooms, sleeping areas — but otherwise the same things are expected of both genders.

Elena is going into sixth grade at Hammond Middle School.

“I joined Scouts because I feel like it has a lot of good opportunities for me to have a better future,” Elena said. “I’ll have more experiences than in other things.”

At Broad Creek, she’s been working on her merit badges and, in addition to kayaking, one of the subjects she discovered she enjoyed was basketry.

“I was not expecting it to be as interesting as it was,” Elena said.

Maya’s brother was in Cub Scouts and she saw the things he was able to do through Scouting. She was a Girl Scout, but said it wasn’t really her thing.

In Scouts, she gets to learn about things she never did in Girl Scouts — "like kayaking.”

“This gives me the opportunity to do those things,” Maya said.

On Tuesday, the group of Scouts had gotten a brief lesson on shore before climbing into their boats, then meeting out on the water, where a camp staff member began giving them their next lesson.

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Evita Takiyama, from the all-girls Troop 160 in Glen Burnie, was at the leatherworks station, making a wallet with a group of boys and two other girls in her troop.

While she joined Scouts BSA in February, she had been in Cub Scouts with her younger brother. She crossed over to Scouts BSA earlier this year.

“I enjoy the outdoors and all the camping they did,” Evita said.

A soon-to-be sixth-grader at MacArthur Middle School, Evita said she’s been working on first aid, leatherwork, canoeing and wild survival merit badges “that could help me get to Eagle [Scout].”

She would encourage any girl to join Scouts.

“I’d tell them about the troop, the fun stuff we do, the planning, trying to get their interest,” Evita said. “And it’s not all about camping — you don’t have to camp if you don’t like it.”

Scout Allison Mueller talks about her experience as a girl in Scouts Tuesday afternoon at the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America Summer Camp in Whiteford. This year was the first time girls attended the camp as scouts.
Scout Allison Mueller talks about her experience as a girl in Scouts Tuesday afternoon at the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America Summer Camp in Whiteford. This year was the first time girls attended the camp as scouts. (Matt Button / The Aegis / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Allison Mueller is in Girl Scouts and Scouts BSA – also in Troop 160. The 15-year-old from Hanover will be in 10th grade at the Catholic High School of Baltimore.

The first two days of camp were really good, she said.

“I get to do a lot of things I wouldn’t have been able to do with other organizations,” Allison said.

She joined Scouts BSA because her older brother was involved for a long time and she saw what he was doing.

“I wanted to expand my field of knowledge,” she said.

She was interested in the Eagle Scout and High Adventure experiences and when Allison found out she could join the boys, she jumped on the chance, she said.

Allison wants to earn the Gold Award and Eagle Scout — the highest levels in Girl Scouts and Scouts BSA, respectively.

She has a few ideas for each project, but hasn’t decided on what she wants to do.

At camp, she’s studying subjects more in-depth than she does in school. Working toward merit badges is helping her explore different careers.

“They talk about education you need, how to get experience,” Allison said.

The biggest challenge of being with the boys is the boys getting used to have girls around, she said.

Allison was at Camp Rodney in Cecil County earlier this summer and there was no bathroom for the girls.

Other than that type of thing, everyone is the same, she said.

Anthony Hansen from Carroll County is an Eagle Scout who’s working at Broad Creek this summer.

He thinks it’s “perfect” that girls are at camp.

“It’s 2019, I think we should all be together more,” Anthony, 16, said. “A lot of times the girls work harder than the boys.”

The boys take it for granted, that camp is handed to them.

“The girls are very enthusiastic and often finish before the boys do,” Anthony said.

He’s working at the trade skills station, which the girls love, Anthony said.

“One Scout got to solder for the first time, she thought that was really neat,” he said. “I think it’s a new experience for them and they think it’s so cool.”

Bill Martin of Essex has been spending his summers at Broad Creek since he retired. He was a Boy Scout many, many years ago and his son, who’s 26, is an Eagle Scout.

Seeing girls at what, until this year, had been an all-boys camp is great, he said.

“We’ve got some real go-getter girls — it really looks like they will accomplish a lot,” Martin said.

Scout Annabelle Death of Pasadena works on her leather craft wallet at the leather working station Scouts Tuesday afternoon at the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America Summer Camp in Whiteford. This year was the first time girls attended the camp as scouts.
Scout Annabelle Death of Pasadena works on her leather craft wallet at the leather working station Scouts Tuesday afternoon at the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America Summer Camp in Whiteford. This year was the first time girls attended the camp as scouts. (Matt Button / The Aegis / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

His role is to input merit badge information — who has done what for what badge — and at the end of each week, some of the really intense boys have fulfilled the requirements for four to five badges.

“Nearly all the girls have four to five badges,” he said. “They’re outperforming a lot of the boys.”

The girls have been pent up, waiting for the opportunity to do things the boys do in Scouts, Martin said.

“Now they’ve got it. The people who get out in front really, really want to do it,” he said. “And they’re going to use it to their advantage as much as possible.”

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