17 girls inducted into Scouts BSA in West Chester

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Saturday, February 2, 2019
17 girls inducted into Scouts BSA in West Chester
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17 girls inducted into Scouts BSA in West Chester. Jim Gardner reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on February 1, 2019.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (WPVI) -- Seventeen girls from Chester County are now among the first in the U.S. to be a part of what was once known as the "Boy Scouts."

They were inducted into their troop Friday night at the Marshallton United Methodist Church in West Chester.

Friday was the first-day girls across the country could officially join the group that is now called Scouts BSA.

It will include boys and girls between the ages of 11-17. BSA announced it would allow girls in 2017.

"It's really special," said 12-year-old scout, Lauren Leshko.

"I don't think I've really done anything that historic in my life so far - so it's really cool," added 12-year-old scout, Mariah Mattie.

The girls of Troop 19 have been working toward this day for at least 8 months. During that time, they've been camping, hiking, swimming, carving and more. But none of that will count toward any badges - until now.

In front of a crowd that included their brother troop - troop 52 - the 17 girls were each given a blue handkerchief, membership card, and a founder's bar.

They also got their very own charter. Some of the girls have biological brothers of their own in troop 52 that were there cheering for them.

The troop tells us they chose the number "19" on purpose. It signifies the year of their induction. It also reflects the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

In their eyes, it represents inclusion.

One of the things that really excites these girls is the chance at one day becoming an Eagle Scout. Lauren Leshko told us,

"That is my dream if that would happen."

She said, "Girl scouts was too easy for me, I needed a harder experience."

According to Boy Scouts of America, the first female Eagle Scouts will be recognized next year.


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