West Linn's all-girls Scout troop makes history
Just a year after it was founded, West Linn's Troop 555 — affectionately called the Triple Nickels — made waves as an all-girl troop when it was named the Scouts BSA Lewis and Clark District's Best Troop of the Year on June 11.
"What a pleasure to see this troop in action. Through outdoor activities, advancement opportunities, and providing support to other troops in need, these Scouts are certainly a beacon of Scouting in action … this troop truly exemplifies what it means to be the Troop of the Year," said Eric Wagstaff, Boy Scouts of America district executive.
Scoutmaster John Cimral said the troop didn't even think they'd be in the running for an award of this caliber.
"The Scouts were — I think they were really surprised," he said.
Cimral said winning the award was "a perfect storm" of an inclusive district and a troop that is deeply invested in Scouting.
"You've got a panel selecting us that is open to the idea that each troop should be thought of, and it has nothing to do about gender," he said.
Since the founding of the troop last February, the girls have learned many important skills and had fun in the process. Their adventures have included camping, rock climbing, snowshoeing, stargazing and horseback riding — all of which have enriched friendships and their confidence in themselves.
"I enjoy Scouting because it teaches me not only how to survive in the wilderness but also in everyday life. I feel like I have grown a lot as a person and a leader," 1st Class Scout Kylie Akita said.
Cimral said the troop is really proud to be involved in Scouting.
"They're in Boy Scouts, but there are no boys involved," Cimral said with a laugh.
The Triple Nickels started the troop with a dream of becoming Eagle Scouts, and if they succeed they'll be among the first girls in the country to bear that title.
"The older girls start to understand — around 15 or 16 — that earning Eagle Scout is a big deal," Cimral said.
He said it's something that'll turn heads in job interviews and college applications because "no girls have done that yet."
Community service is a focus for the Triple Nickels. Together they've served 180 hours at food banks, neighborhood and park cleanups, Lions Club events and individual opportunities.
Cimral, who's led Scouts for nine years, said leading an all-girls troop is unique.
"I think the difference is that these girls are very motivated because they are in the first wave; the boys don't have that sense of themselves," he said. "Are boys and girls different? Of course. But are they interested in the same things? Turns out they are."
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