In Spring 2018, the T104 committee voted to support a “linked” girls troop. It wasn’t until February of 2019 that the newly named “Scouts BSA” opened its doors to girls, 11 and over, who wanted to pursue the traditional ranks and merit badges of Boy Scouts. But our troop has a long history of commitment to equality and opportunity, and so committing to support a girl troop was a natural step toward a stronger youth program.

But what is a “linked” troop? In brief, it means that when a girls troop forms in El Cerrito, our existing organization stands ready to support it, doing whatever business is necessary to support its activities with the current group of committee volunteers that support our boys. The new girl troop doesn’t need to create its own committee, and can piggy back on what the existing, boy troop has already created. Of course, the girl troop may decide it wants to do its own activities, or even eventually have its own committee. But the “linked” troop idea provides a good way for girl troops to get started. Once they have a scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster (one of whom must be a woman), they need only the minimum number of youth required to start a troop—in this case, five girls—and they’re off and running.

For nearly 80 years, El Cerrito’s troop has been part of “Boy Scouts of America.” But now that is merely history. And soon the “boy scouts” part will be history, too.

In September, Troop 104 will be hosting an Open House where people can learn more, both about forming a girl troop or joining the boy troop, as well as about our existing Venture Crew, which already is open to girls and boys between ages 14 and 21.