MUSCATINE, Iowa–For the first time since 2018 when girls could join Boy Scouts, two female Cub Scouts have bridged to Scouts BSA Troop 1127. Scouts Annabelle Hesseling and Lexie Liu officially bridged April 17 and will continue their scouting careers as part of Muscatine’s only all female scout troop.
For the past two years, Annabelle and Lexie have belonged to Pack 633, a coed troop. During their time as Cub Scouts, the two girls participated in the same activities as the boys in their troop and earned the same merit badges, including earning the Arrow of Light badge, the highest honor possible for scouts their age. As the two moved up to the next level of scouting, their Cub Master, Kristen Egger, felt extremely proud of their accomplishments. “I love it–it’s super cool!” she said.
As the first female Den Leader for the troop, Egger also valued the opportunity to mentor this first group of girls to bridge, and looks forward to helping the other two girls in her troop reach the same point when they get old enough to do so. “With me being there as a leader, it shows that girls can be leaders–it doesn’t have to be just men,” she said. “I love to be a role model to the two girls in the troop and several who may join this year.”
Troop 1127 leader Mike Hartman welcomed the two new members and considered their previous achievements outstanding for any bridging Cub Scouts, whether boys or girls. “The challenges may be a little different but the requirements and achievement is the same,” he emphasized: “With that in mind, these two young ladies are still incredibly special and are blazing the trail for other females to follow. They both earned the Arrow of Light, which is an amazing accomplishment–we are fortunate to have them head our way.”
After the girls completed their bridging ceremony, Troop 1127 welcomed them by immediately including them in several troop events, including camping overnight and completing a challenging night hike. At their next several meetings, the girls will practice useful outdoor skills such as rope tying and fire building. Annabelle and Lexie will also get to go on the troop’s next several hikes, giving them opportunities to practice the outdoor skills they have learned. “The next few campouts will focus on hiking and exploring, maybe some fishing and first aid, and honing those outdoor skills,” Hartman Elaborated.
As the girls begin their time with Troop 1127, Hartman knows they will work with the troop’s founding members to distinguish themselves and show how scouting has benefits for all children. “We have been lucky that the females who stepped up to start this had a strength and focus to enter and succeed in a historically male organization; their success has led to the program becoming more accepted and our troop becoming more like any other troop in town,” he reflected: “Scouts BSA is an amazing program to develop leadership, personal mores, and just really good people, regardless of the life situation of the youth involved.”