Scouting in new directions


Sophomore Felicia Pace unpacks her backpack after a camping trip with Troop 64G. Pace started the troop with her father after Scouts BSA started welcoming girls and boys to join. Photo by Audrey Gottschild

After the first recruitment meeting for Troop 64G, an all-female Scouts BSA troop created by sophomore Felicia Pace, Pace found it funny that instead of girls interested in becoming Scouts, the meeting was mostly attended by the mothers of current Girl Scouts. 

“The Girl Scouts moms were kind of interrogating me a lot,” Pace said in a video conference. “They were asking me, ‘Why are you joining this instead of Girl Scouts?’ and I was just like, ‘Oh, because my dad was a Boy Scout.’”

In May 2018, Boy Scouts of America announced it was changing its name to Scouts BSA, and would welcome both girls and boys aged 11 to 17.

Pace’s father, Vincent Pace, said in a video conference that he and Felicia had considered setting up something similar to the Boy Scouts of America organization before it was announced that girls could join.

When Vincent and Felicia looked for local troops to join, they found that there were not many close by, and decided to form Troop 64G through the existing BSA troop at St. Norbert School, Vincent said.

According to Felicia, her dad had always told her about his time in Boy Scouts.

“I was like ‘Oh, I wish girls could do [Boy Scouts],’” said Felicia. “I never really had any interest in Girl Scouts.”

According to Vincent, the overall Girl Scouts program was not as appealing to Felicia as the Scouts BSA program due to the lack of more hardcore camping events.

According to Felicia, Troop 64G does not have many active members because she recruited many of her friends in high school who have a limited amount of time for Scouts. Because of this small number of members, Troop 64G holds meetings with Troop 57G, an all-female troop based in Glenview.

Troop 64G participates in monthly campouts, fundraising events and national events such as the World Scout Jamboree that occurs every two years, Felicia said.

Sophomore Connor Love, a Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 64B, an all-male troop, said in a video conference that his troop had a generally positive reaction to the formation of Troop 64G.

“I’m just glad that we had the opportunity in the first place for Troop 64G to happen, because it allows more people to have more fun,” said Love. “And I think that’s the most positive part, is that boys and girls together are just Scouts.

“There’s really no discernible difference between the two groups. Everyone can be a Scout.” 

According to Felicia, she thinks she is a good leader because she organizes online meetings to be interactive, and in-person meetings to be physically active through camping activities so members stay engaged.

“[Leading the troop has] been an incredible experience to meet all of these different girls and get to know them and share this experience with them,” Felicia said.