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Taylorsville Journal

Girl Cub Scouts make Utah history in Taylorsville, with female ‘Boy’ Scouts expected to follow within a year

Aug 09, 2021 01:18PM ● By Carl Fauver

Cub Scout Pack 4996 now features 32 kids, including three girls who have their own den. (Jason McDonald/Troop 1996 Scoutmaster)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

Cub Scout Packs and Boy Scout Troops across America are bouncing back from coronavirus restrictions this summer with lots of overnight camps and other activities. They are also adjusting to a “new normal” that includes girls within their ranks.

Here in Utah, Taylorsville Cub Scout Pack 4996 Cubmaster Diana Turpin claims her group is among those leading the change.

“We were the first Cub Scout Pack in Utah to include girls,” Turpin said. “We had five girls (the required minimum to create a Cub Scout den) last fall. We are down to three now but could be back up to four or five soon.”

Although five girls are required to initiate an all-female Cub Scout den, now that it is up and running, they are allowed to continue gathering with only the three girls they currently have. 

In Utah, and nationally, female scouts can meet in girls-only Cub Scout dens and Boy Scout troops. However, they do join together for larger activities such as major campouts.

“Our boys were among about 450 at the Bear Lake camp, June 21 to 26,” said Taylorsville Boy Scout Troop 1996 Scoutmaster Jason McDonald. “I would estimate about a quarter of those 450 were girls. They all camped at one end of the area, separate from the boys. But boys and girls were together for meals, flag ceremonies, merit badge work and other activities.”

St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Taylorsville (2700 West Builders Drive, about 5160 South) has sponsored McDonald’s Boy Scout Troop and Turpin’s Cub Scout Pack since the city was incorporated, in 1996. That’s why the Troop is 1996 and the Pack is 4996. There are currently 32 Cub Scouts, including three girls. The Boy Scout troop has 12 active boys, and no girls.

“We’ve had a couple of girls—sisters of one of our Scouts—approach us about starting a female troop,” McDonald said. “We fully support that, but we need at least five girls to start an all-female troop. I think that could happen, maybe within a year.”

Turpin counts one son and one daughter among her 32 Cub Scouts. Her daughter has already told her she wants to become an Eagle Scout. So, Diana has pledged to do all she can to assist the Boy Scouts in establishing a female troop in Taylorsville.

“Cameron is nine and an Arrow of Light Webelo, so he’ll be moving up to the Boy Scout Troop in a few months,” Turpin said. “His younger sister, Elizabeth, is 8 and a Bear Cub Scout. I want them to stay in these [Taylorsville] programs and will do all I can to assist them. But if a girls’ troop is not formed, I will have to move both of them to another program in a couple of years.”

For now, McDonald says the closest all-girl Scout Troop is in West Jordan.

Scout Troop and Pack members used to meet weekly inside St. Matthew’s, pre-pandemic. However, they have not yet returned to the church. During these warmer and drier summer months they are meeting across 2700 West from St. Matthew’s, outdoors, at Valley Regional Park (home of Taylorsville Dayzz, 5100 South 2700 West).

Prior to their Bear Lake campout in June, Troop 1996 spent its first nights in tents—since before the coronavirus shutdown—back in May, at Camp Tracy in Millcreek Canyon. The troop’s next overnighter will be at Utah Lake in September, followed by a District Campout in October. This month (Aug. 18), troop members will run a ropes course at the Scouting Council headquarters in Ogden.

As for the Cub Scout Pack, they too have an annual overnight campout. But because the kids are younger, these also involve a lot of moms and dads too.

“We had 23 kids and 21 adults at our family campout, June 17 to 19 (also at Camp Tracy),” Turpin said. “COVID forced us to cancel the campout last year; so, it was fun to do it again. Each family brought their own tent. The kids spent their days working to earn adventure awards.”

Those interested in getting their sons or daughters involved in Scouting can call McDonald at 801-651-0149 or email him at [email protected]. Diana Turpin is at 614-800-0271.

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