Making history

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  • Charles Kim photos

WEST MILFORD - A group of girls in the township may just see it as a way to enjoy some of the activities that Boy Scouts have participated in for years, but they are actually balzing a historic trail of their own.

Troop 44 recently held an information session for girls that want to become part of the first all-girl troop in Northern New Jersey since the Scouting organization opened up for that gender to join.

Scouting, formerly known as the Boy Scouts, formed in 1911 and remained an organization only for males until earlier this year.

The young ladies attending the information session at the "Scout House" on the property of the Presbyterian Church on Union Valley road said they wanted to take part in the same activities that the boys, like their siblings, do, including camping, hiking, rafting and other outdoor activities.

Troop organizers said they are excited about what the new troop can mean to Scouting, possibly being some of the first girrls to earn the coveted Eagle rank, the highest in Scouting.

Scoutmaster Peter Lippe said that the new troop, which officially begins in February, will be able to design its own flag, patches and neckerchief as well as develop its own leadership from among the members.

Lippe has decades of experience in Scouting and is also an assistant scoutmaster of the boys troop 44.

"These girls are trailblazers," Lippe said. "They are the first ones."

To designate the special nature of their troop, each of the girls joining get a special trailbalzer patch, showing that they are among the first girls to work through the program.

Lippe said there are two other adult females that will serve as assistant scoutmasters and accompany the troop on outings.

The girls attending Tuesday night's meeting had the opportunity to pitch a tent and put a camping cook stove together as a taste of things to come.

They said they are looking forward to the challenges associated with Scouting, and doing the "fun" things that the boys have done in the past.

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West Milford, NJ