COLUMBIA, Md. — A new era is beginning for the Boy Scouts of America. For the first time in its 100+ year history, the iconic program has opened up to young women and some in Columbia are taking advantage.
"This is a huge step," 9th grade Scout Shriya Menon said.
"This is something that many people have wanted for years, wanted their whole life like me and it's amazing to see it finally happen," 8th grade Scout Jenna Wilson said.
Tonight, 9 young women walked across a ceremonial bridge, got their handkerchief and were inducted into Columbia Female Troop 361. They call themselves 'Flying Pigs Patrol.'
"Because a lot of people said girls will join Boy Scouts when pigs fly," 10th grade Scout Ellie Zoller-Gritz said.
Starting February 1st, the Boy Scouts of America are opening up their iconic scouting program to girls, now called Scouts BSA, for 5th grade through high school.
"It shows, in my opinion, that girls and boys can both be under one roof and both be in one thing and do things equally," Menon said.
Scouts BSA is co-gendered, meaning girls and boys will meet separately for the most part, but share troop meeting openings and closings. They wear the same uniform, follow the same program, earn the same merit badges and can achieve the same ranks, including the prestigious Eagle Scout.
"I've always wanted to be an Eagle Scout," Wilson said.
Many, like Wilson, grew up watching their brothers in the program and dreamed of inclusion.
"We have the Girl Scouts program but you can't always do the same things or have the same kind of trips so this is really an experience where not only can a girl do everything that a boy can, like her brother can, but you can really go out as a family properly and do these kind of events and you can have a family kind of camping trip," 11th grade Scout Juliet Bosilovich said.
"I'm really glad that we get to start this off and become a part of something bigger than ourselves and just show people who said that you can't do that that we can do it and we are gonna be just as good as everyone else," Zoller-Gritz said.
Their first order of business? A camp out tomorrow, their first official day. Come tomorrow, 111 girls will be part of Scouts BSA in the Baltimore area.