Can you hear that? It’s the Midnight Wolves howling their patrol call. They should also shout, “Girls can do anything boys can do!” – maybe, even better.
Because that’s just what Bohemia BSA Girls Troop 572 did as one of the first all-girl troops in Suffolk County BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America) Trailblazer District. The troop has no affiliation to a preexisting boy’s troop or previous packs. They started from the ground up in late September 2019. Through hard work and perseverance, this year the members were also privileged to be the recipients of Founders’ bars, with unit leaders also earning the William D. Boyce New Unit Organizer Awards.
The troop has participated in several competitive events, taking home ribbon awards from Scout Camporees. In 2020, they earned third place in fire building and in the most recent 2021 Winter Camporee held at Baiting Hollow Scout Camp, they earned two ribbons: one for first place in first aid and second for third place, again for fire building.
The 11-girl troop meets once a week and learns scouting skills using methods of scouting while working on patrol methods with guidance of their scout-master Geselle Barile and support of assistant scoutmaster Kirsten Schiffer, William Robinson (aka Mr. Bill) and Dawn Robinson, committee chair and COR.
Their responsibilities include living by the scout oath and law through leadership with a program built around the outdoors. Each day, they promote personal growth and conduct troop service projects along the way, also attending conferences.
They are expected to proudly wear their uniform, demonstrating unity and minimizing the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic differences between scouts. Most importantly, they aim to develop character, citizenship, leadership and mental and physical fitness.
Scouts elect their own leaders and make their own decisions. At the helm of the Midnight Wolves, Gabby Carter is a Star Rank scout and currently holds the position of senior patrol leader and also den chief. Maggie Schiffer is Tenderfoot Rank and currently elected patrol leader. Amanda Barile is First-Class Rank Scout and holds the position of scribe, bugler and den chief. Maria Argueta is a Tenderfoot and holds troop historian position as well as assistant patrol leader and Kae-Lee Yannotto is awaiting BOR for Tenderfoot Rank and is troop librarian. They range in ages 11 to 17, with scouts from all across Suffolk County. The troop formed in 2019 and has been learning to scout through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our troop continues to grow and that has a lot to do with the way the scouts get along,” Barile said, noting that the girls are very welcoming. “Everybody looks out for one another.”
Gabby said her main goal is to make all the girls in her troop great leaders. She also looks forward to the day they are able to reconvene for hikes and camping together.
For now, they have been backyard camping and connecting through Zoom. She said she is also is looking forward to attending the campfire program and obtaining her wood-carving merit badge.
“I feel like it’s really such an honor that girls like us can learn all the things that boys in scouting can learn,” added Amanda, noting that now boys and girls can work together.
“I agree, it offers so many amazing opportunities you can’t get anywhere else,” Gabby said, noting that scouting teaches everything you need in life to be a good person.
This summer, the girls were able to design and create scrub hats, nose guards and ear savers for first responders, as well as collect food for care packages.
“We are at the point where our older scouts are teaching our younger scouts skills, and we are just in awe,” added Barile. “One of our favorite quotes is, ‘I got this.’ I absolutely love to hear that. It shows they are taking responsibility and progressing as scouts.”