Last year, the Boy Scouts of America changed the organization to begin including girls as scouts. Now, Wilton has its first group of girls who have formed a Cub Scout den, the youngest designation in scouting for participants in Kindergarten through 5th grade.
Currently there are six girls who are part of the den–five are Wolves (2nd grade) and one is a Tiger (1st grade). Traditionally, kids in different age groups would be grouped in separate dens, but right now there aren’t enough 1st grade girls taking part, although den leaders say they’re actively recruiting.
The effort to include girls involves a transition for the organization, which is keeping the same overall name but has changed what it calls the program–Scouts BSA. Both boys and girls are referred to as ‘scouts,’ and dens or troops are single-gender.
The six girls who have joined as scouts in Den 7 (part of Wilton’s Cub Scouts Pack 22) are (pictured here, L-R) Muskan Kalra, Freya Pandey, Anaya Uttamchandani, Advitia Maheshwari, Sejal Gupta and Ria Vadhera. Ria’s older brother, Varun Vadhera, is part of Boy Scouts Troop 20, and he’s giving his time as Den Chief.
The sibling relationship is part of why Namita Vadhera, co-Den Leader for the girls, wanted Ria to join Boy Scouts.
“I wanted my daughter to have a lot of camping experience and Scouts of America had a more robust program around outdoor activities. This gives Varun an opportunity to mentor his little sister through the Scouts program.”
Ruchi Kalra, Muskan’s mom, said, “The activities in Cub Scouts are more adventurous and fun. They teach life skills and are more involved within the community.”
While there is a very active Girl Scouts organization in Wilton, which likely would say they offer all of those things as well, for this group of girls selling popcorn in early October for the Wilton Boy Scouts’ annual fundraiser, the gender difference didn’t seem to matter. They were just enjoying the experience and group activity.
Families interested in joining the Cub Scouts or getting involved can email Pack 22.