GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WGFL) -- A young woman in Gainesville watched her brother excel at being a Boy Scout—and now, she gets to be one herself as the Boy Scouts of America will be accepting girls.
“I'm a girly girl,” said Olivia Foli, one of the first female members of Scouts-BSA. “I dress up in heels, I wear dresses and I’m wearing make up, but I’m not afraid to go out in the woods and get dirty.”
Girls just like Olivia Foli are getting ready across the country for the chance to join one of the nation’s most iconic programs.
Come February 1, the Boy Scouts of America will be welcoming girls—now dubbing themselves Scouts BSA.
“The things you learn in scouts aren't just specified for boys themselves,” Foli said. “I feel like females can do them too because they are so broad.”
The Scouts BSA’s historic decision will open the program to girls ages 11 to 17.
“BSA itself just means Boy Scouts of America and just changing the name to scouts makes it more inclusive,” Foli said.
Although the program will be accepting both genders, the program will not be co-ed. All single-gender troops will meet separately.
“Boys will be separate doing their own thing,” said Kim Foli, Olivia’s mom and new Troop 21’s leader. “But the curriculum is the same and the program is the same—character building, skill building. So they can do all of the same things.”
Gainesville’s First United Methodist Church will host troop 21. The church has held Boy Scouts of America troops since 1926.
“This troop has been so invigorating,” Kim Foli said. “We just have it seems like endless energy to make this work and help all the girls that want to make this work and so it is just the joy of a lifetime.
Troop 21 has 12 new scouts signed up, and will hold their kickoff celebration this weekend at Camp Shands.