Girls who aren’t ‘girly’ find a fit in more rigorous activities of Boy Scouts

It’s Lily Rohner’s first time competing in the Klondike Derby at the Horseshoe Scout Reservation in Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania. Think of the derby as a battle of the bands for scouts. Troops pull decorated sleds filled with gear around the camp, completing scouting tasks — such as first aid and fire building — for points.

Winners get ribbons and bragging rights.

Lily, 10, and her group of friends know they’re at a disadvantage. That’s because it’s only their second day as official members of Boy Scouts of America, so they haven’t learned everything some of their male peers have.

As a result of the organization’s decision to open its flagship program to girls, the Boy Scouts changed its name to Scouts BSA on Feb. 1. The banner organization is still the Boy Scouts of America and troops within the Scouts BSA program are single gender, all-boy or all-girl, ages 11 to 17. The troops intermingle at events like the derby.

A few thousand girls have already signed up for Scouts BSA across the country, according to the organization.

But at the Horseshoe Scout Reservation on the day after the name change took effect, Scouts BSA Troop 19, based in Marshallton, Chester County, is the only girls troop visible in a sea of more than 100 boys. That’s Lily’s group — 12 girls total.

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