By KAROLYN GEPHART
A Pearland 13-year-old is the first girl to become a member of the Boy Scouts of America in the City of Pearland as well as in the Bay Area Council.
Mackenzie Albee has joined the Boy Scout program chartered by Pearland First United Methodist Church. The church has had a scout program for over 50 years.
Troop 4640 was activated for girls Feb. 1, the first day it was available nationwide to have girls in the Boy Scout program.
The program requires the formation of a new troop that will have all female participants.
Senior pastor and Eagle Scout, Dr. Keith Whitaker with Pearland FUMC accepted the new Charter agreement.
The new Troop 4640 meets at Pearland FUMC on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m.
Former Scoutmaster David Albee and Mackenzie’s dad is the new scoutmaster for the girls’ troop. Albee’s son is an Eagle Scout.
“The reason why I wanted to join scouting is because I have been around it my whole life. This is because of my brother who was and is in scouting. Also, I always thought it would be cool to learn all of the things that there was to learn in scouting,” Albee said. She is also a Girl Scout.
For the first time in its 100+ year history, the program of the Boy Scouts of America is now open to both young men and young women. Scouts BSA is a year-round program for boys and girls in fifth grade through high school that provides fun, adventure, learning, challenge, and responsibility to help them become the best version of themselves, according to the Boy Scout program.
The Boy Scouts program is becoming Scouts BSA in February 2019 to reflect the decision to include young women, the Boy Scouts of America announced recently.
The organization’s name will remain the same; only the program for older youth will change its name.
The Boy Scouts of America, or BSA, announced last fall that it would begin allowing girls to become Scouts.
The Cub Scouts program for younger children was the first to open up to girls. Thousands of girls have already joined under an early adopter program.
Other Boy Scouts programs for older youth, such as an outdoor adventure program called Venturing and career based Explorer Scouts were already open to girls. But those programs didn’t offer girls the chance to attain the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
Girls can now try to become Eagle Scouts, just like the boys.
“I think it is a good thing that girls are allowed in scouting, because they have a chance to learn things that they won’t necessarily learn outside of scouting. They also get the chance to meet some new people on the way. Also they can get to go to new places and get out of their comfort zone,” Albee said.
Chief Executive Director of Boy Scouts of America released a statement on the changes.
“As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in scouting in every way possible,” Boy Scouts of America Chief Executive Michael Surbaugh said in a statement. “That is why it is important that the name for our scouting program for older youth remain consistent with the single name approach used for the Cub Scouts.”