MONTGOMERY CO., Ky. (WKYT) - Camp McKee in Montgomery County has been known for decades as a memory maker for thousands of Boy Scouts in central and eastern Kentucky acting as the areas only Boy Scout camp. However, because of a new ruling made in February by the Boy Scouts of America, all-girl troops are now taking advantage of the fun and memories the camp has to offer.
The Jeffersonville camp is hosting two all-girl troops during their second week of the 2019 scout camp season. The girls will go through the same program boys take part in with the goals of earning merit badges and rank advancements – all steps towards earning the rank of Eagle Scout.
In February of 2019 the Boy Scouts of America launched a new program and rebranding called Scouts BSA. The new program allows for all-girl troops to take advantage of the same program boys have used since 1910. The troops are not co-ed and allow girls from the ages of 11 to 17 to take part.
Lexington’s local scout office, the Blue Grass Council, says all-girl troops have been on the rise since the decision. Troops are active in Lexington, Cynthiana, Richmond, and Frankfort with other cities trying to launch troops.
"I’m very glad the Scouts BSA program is very scout led,” said 16-year-old Emily Reed, a scout with troop 1281 in Frankfort. “It means everybody gets the chance. Me and these other ladies get the chance to lead themselves in way we haven't got to do before.”
Reed’s troop of eight are taking part in the first-year camper program. There they have been working toward rank advancements and becoming acquainted with the new territory that is Camp McKee.
“They're wearing their complete uniforms, they are wearing it proud, and they are carrying their patrol flags,” said camp counselor Mark Marraccini. “It’s a lot like scout camp when I was in scout camp and that was a long time ago.”
Another troop from out-of-state is also taking advantage of Camp McKee’s open doors.
Leaders with the Blue Grass Council say they hope this trend continues, with more and more interest on the program. The council says steps are taken to ensure male and female scouts are separated including different campsites and bathing facilities. Staff and leaders are also required to take part in special training to watch for any situations that could put scouts at risk of potential abuse or breaking of BSA policy.
With the all-girl troops now making tents and campfires their new views, they are also making history as the first Scouts BSA all-girl troop to take part in the program. The camp has seen past international scouts consisting of co-ed and all-girl troops visiting.