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Taylorsville Journal

Taylorsville Scouts BSA troops – both boys and girls – continue to grow

Mar 04, 2024 12:13PM ● By Carl Fauver

Scoutmaster David Augason (squatting in front), boys from Taylorsville’s 1996B Scouts BSA Troop camped and hiked in and around Yellowstone National Park last summer. (Courtesy David Augason)

It was just a couple of years ago when the Boy Scouts of America here in Utah took a triple gut punch, temporarily threatening the organization’s entire existence across our state. By in large, those punches came at three distinct levels: statewide, nationwide and worldwide.

• In Utah, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ended its more than 100-year affiliation with BSA. This impacted Scouts in many places – but none more than in our state.

• Across the United States, Boy Scouts of America transitioned to Scouts BSA and began to allow girls into the organization. This stirred nationwide controversy, again threatening numbers.

• Worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Scouts BSA troops to begin meeting remotely. Unable to hike, camp or do other activities together, many Scouts left the program.

But despite all these challenges, a pair of Taylorsville Scouts BSA troops have bounced back and continue to grow.

Troops 1996B and 1996G are both sponsored by St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church (2700 W. Builders Drive, about 5150 South). As you’ve probably already guessed, the “B” and “G” stand for “boys” and “girls.” The 1996 also has significance. That’s the year the boys troop was originally formed – the same year Taylorsville became an incorporated city.

A little more than a year ago in these pages, we introduced you to the newly-created 1996G Troop, under Scoutmaster Karene Svedin. At the time, they received special Scouts BSA approval to form with only four girls. The organization’s standard minimum number to create a troop is five.

The four “founding” Scouts are still active in the Troop, with four newcomers having also joined them. One of the newer girls has since decided it’s not for her. But the troop is still going strong with seven members. They are: Kylee Fox, Diana Godinez, Elizabeth Jackson, Molly McDonald, Kaitriel Svedin, Atzari Unzueta and Natali Unzueta.

“We started Troop 1996G in August 2022 and remained at four girls for our entire first year,” Svedin said. “Our fifth girl joined us last September. Then we picked up three more. We’re now at seven – and always ready to welcome more.”

Svedin’s eighth grade daughter, Kaitriel, is on pace to be the Troop’s first-ever Eagle Scout. She had a jump on the other girls, starting her Scouts BSA journey in a Las Vegas troop when the family lived in that area.

“Kaitriel and her older brother Caleb (ninth grade) are actually both very close to completing their Eagle Scout rank requirements,” Svedin said. “Caleb completed his Eagle service project last year, while Kaitriel is still deciding what she wants to do. We’ve talked with them about possibly having a joint Eagle Court of Honor. Sometimes they like the idea – and other times, they don’t.”

Caleb is a member of Troop 1996B. Although that troop has been around nearly 30 years, its Scoutmaster has been in place just a year-and-a-half. David Augason took that post at the same time Karene was starting her girls’ troop in August 2022.

“I have two sons in our Troop 1996B now, and two other kids – a son and daughter – in the Cub Scout Pack (4996) that feeds into 1996B and 1996G,” Augason said. “When I became Scoutmaster, we had about 18 active Scouts. But that number has grown to 42. We have five patrols. They meet in separate rooms at St. Matthews Lutheran Church and fill them all, with eight or nine Scouts each. We are so grateful to the Church for sponsoring us and providing meeting space.”

Last summer, Augason took his boys to the pristine Scouts BSA Camp Loll, located just a mile south of Yellowstone National Park, and only four miles north of Grand Teton National Park. This summer, their weeklong camp will return to Bear Lake.

“We do nine campouts per year,” Augason said. “In January, the boys spent a night in tents in the snow for our Klondike camp. Our next one will be in March or April in the Utah West Desert.”

Svedin’s female Scouts BSA Troop members will also spend a week on the shores of Bear Lake this summer.

“They love overnight camping,” she said. “At the Bear Lake camp last summer, my girls got to know members of another girls’ troop based in Millcreek. They worked on lots of merit badges together. Our Troop has also camped at Utah Lake, in Big Cottonwood Canyon and outside Mount Pleasant.”

Anyone interested in joining either of these Scouts BSA groups should contact Troop 1996B Scoutmaster David Augason (801-792-6916 / [email protected]) or Troop 1996G Scoutmaster Karene Svedin (801-205-2287 / [email protected]).λ

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