This Chapter has long had a relationship with scouts. We have gladly offered our Chapter House, ranges, ponds and forest to the scouts, as well as our financial support. The scouts have over the years bestowed upon us many a scout project – bridges, kiosks, and most recently a beautiful pavilion at the archery range, furnished with hand-made table and chairs (thank you Girl Scout Rachel Behrend). Too, the presence of the scouts has made us a better place for reasons more complex, and not reducible to the presence of a new wooden structure. Our respective missions have much in common, and it has been a fortunate thing for us and for the scouts. I am also glad to relay to you that the number of scouts within our Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 496 has been growing.
But many would say and have said that there was something missing. By way of example, at its last meeting the Board of Governors heard from mothers who were cub scout leaders, and whose daughters wanted to partici- pate with their brothers and friends as scouts – but could not.
The Boy Scouts of America has apparently heard this call. Last year the BSA decided to allow scout troops to include girls, reasoning that the values of scouting – trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courte- ousness, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness, thrift, bravery, cleanliness and reverence – are all just as relevant and important for young women as for young men.
But the decision by the BSA was not the last word on the issue. Instead, the BSA left to the individual chartering entities (like our Chapter) the decision of whether girls would be allowed to be part of the troop. I am happy to report to you that at its January meeting, the Board of Governors agreed with the BSA’s reasoning and unani- mously voted to include girls within Troop 496 of the National Capital Council. As I write, the formation of that troop is underway. Thank you to Ms. Zoe Welsh, who made the request, to the adult leaders of Troop 496, and to our Scout Liaison Mr. Doug McKenney. A fine way to begin the decade.