New female Boy Scout troop inaugurated in Ortega

New female Boy Scout troop inaugurated in Ortega
Charter members of Scouts BSA Troop 465 include Sydney, Addison, Brooke, Myra, Alexis, Nina, Kaylee and Kendal

Scouts BSA Troop 465, a new girls-only Boy Scout troop, enjoyed a welcome aboard ceremony Feb. 11 when Boy Scout Troop 522 presented the girls with their own troop flag and a U.S. flag.

The troop’s charter organization will be Ortega United Methodist Church, 4807 Roosevelt Blvd. Scoutmaster is Sean Deese and assistant scoutmaster is his wife, Nichole. The couple’s son, Nathan, belongs to Boy Scout Troop 522 and their daughter, Brooke, is a founding member of Troop 465. Both Nathan and Brooke took part in the ceremony.

The new troop’s founding verse is Psalm 46:5, “God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day.” During the ceremony, Scoutmaster Deese shared a brief history of “firsts” for women, noting the 100th anniversary in 2019 of women’s right to vote was a fitting comparison to the Feb. 1, 2019 launch date of the Boy Scouts’ decision to open its ranks to female Scouts.

Troop 522 Scout Nathan Deese with Troop 465 Scoutmaster Sean Deese and Scout Brooke Deese
Troop 522 Scout Nathan Deese with Troop 465 Scoutmaster Sean Deese and Scout Brooke Deese

The BSA made the decision in October 2017 to open the Boy Scout program to both boys and girls ages 11 to 17. Renamed Scouts BSA, the program welcomes both genders, but will not be co-ed. Troops will be single-gender and will meet independently.

In 2018, the BSA opened up the Cub Scout program to both boys and girls ages 5 to 10.  Within the North Florida Council, more than 800 girls joined Cub Scouts putting the local council in the top 10 in the southern region. 

The Scouts BSA girls-only troops will have the same curriculum as the current program and will earn the same merit badges and achieve the same ranks, including the prestigious Eagle Scout rank. Girls who join by the end of 2019 will be granted an additional two years to achieve the Eagle rank, said Nichole Deese. The male and female troops will have separate scoutmasters. Serving Troop 522 is Jim Steele, who was assistant scoutmaster under Deese.

Boy Scouts of America, North Florida Council has approximately 14 girls-only troops across its 17-county area, including Troop 465 in Ortega, which is the first female Boy Scout troop in the council’s Great Muskogee District, according to John Wiegert, district executive, who attended the ceremony.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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