Whitehall boy scouts to welcome girls

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The Whitehall Boy Scouts troop is looking to expand their numbers and will allow for girls to join.

Angela Benson, a den leader for the Cub Scout pack, explained that they are looking to expand their numbers this year.

“We are doing fantastic! We are getting more people coming in here and there and the kids have a fun time with it,” she said.

Girls were officially allowed to join Boy Scouts in 2018 and the Whitehall troop will be having a girl join on May 7 at their crossover event at Whitehall Legion Post 63. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and Benson’s daughter, Saige, will be moving from Arrow of Light to Boy Scout.

“I’m very proud that my daughter is going to be the first one crossing over as a girl into the troop, but we won’t be official until we get a second girl to join,” she said.

Benson said the troop has been seeking new recruits recently outside of New York. With Fair Haven, Vermont not having a troop of boy scouts, they are hoping to invite kids to the Whitehall troop to continue their growth.

“We’re going to be collaborating with Fair Haven because they are dwindling in their membership, so we are going to draw their members over to us and expand the troop,” she said.

Shelley Duell, who is the chairperson of Troop 6083, said there is also a troop in Granville and people are welcome to check out both before they choose where they want to be.

“If a girl wants to join the pack, they can join at any age. But if they want to join the troop, they have to be 11 to 17,” she said.

Along with Fair Haven, the troop has been expanding with new members joining from the Fort Ann area. Benson says the more kids that join, the more hands there are in helping the Whitehall community.

“I’m going to be dropping off flyers in Fair Haven and Benson to try to bring some of the kids this way and hopefully some girls,” she said.

Something that the troop recently started doing was cleaning up a local trail that had been used as a trash dumping spot. Benson said she is proud of the kids for all their hard work in the community and it does not go unnoticed.

Duell said that they have been busy with the spot.

“They have been picking up so many bags worth of trash,” she said. “Even my son was here (South Bay) today and was like ‘pollution’ and pointed at trash in the area. The kids know better.”

Benson stressed that even though the “idea of joining the boy scouts may seem expensive,” it isn’t as costly as one may think. She said a lot of money is raised for things like scout camp by the sale of popcorn and meat sticks.

“I think something that might be on the minds of people is the cost and there really isn’t one,” she said. “The Legion helps a lot and almost anything else we have going on is a minimal cost and I can’t think of anytime that we ever asked any of the kids to pay more than $10,” she said.

If community members are interested in enrolling their children in either the Cub Scout pack or the Boy Scout troop, Benson can be reached at 518-369-5961 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/angela.barberbenson.