SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Pack 289, Springfield’s largest cub scout pack, held its first coed camp-out this weekend with girls alongside boys.
Both boys and girls hiked, played games and practiced survival skills at Camp Arrowhead.
Pack 289 has been around for 27 years and started this winter camp-out four years ago.
Cub master Brent Johnson said the goal of the winter camp out is different than other camp-outs they usually hold.
“It gives the scouts an opportunity to experience the outdoors, in a colder climate, as well as being able to stay in cabins, which is different than tents,” said Johnson.
The girl scouts I spoke to all told me they got to learn new skills being part of pack 289.
“This one actually you can actually start to go camping, and we can do rockets and we can cut with knives and we can go hiking on trails,” said Arianna Huggins, a girl scout.
“My favorite thing was getting my bobcat, and being flipped upside down by the fire,” said Bayta Hemphill, another Girl Scout.
And the original boy scouts said they enjoyed learning and doing activities with the girls.
“I feel good, because some of my friends can now join, and I feel good because it also allows everybody to have a chance,” said Carter Goldsmith, a boy scout.
“I learned that girls can do cub scouts as well as we can do it,” said Tyler Ward, another boy scout.
Some boy scouts even recruited girls to join them.
“She’s (Arianna) always wanting to do the fun activities and stuff, and there was an opportunity, so i recruited her to pack 289,” said Tyler Prewitt, a boy scout.
Troop leaders and parents agree with their scouts, saying their co-ed pack is beneficial for all.
“As a parent and even as a leader, I think it’s very important that girls need to know that they too can be strong, not only physically but mentally. That there are things in this world that they are going to be faced with and challenges,” said Elizabeth Huggins, the Tiger Den girls leader, and a parent.
“I think it’s fantastic. I mean having girls part of scouting is a wonderful organization. They’re going to learn a lot of wonderful things that we’ve always been able to teach our boys,” said Johnson.
“I think it’s great. You’re teaching the future leaders. So it’s really nice to see them using all the available means to become model citizens,” said Kevin Ennis, the Assistant Cub Master, and a parent.
“I was actually a little skeptical when they talked about the plan to add girls, but this is our real event with the girls, and they’ve been really great. They’re great campers, they work hard, they’re really into it,” said Matthew Henderson, a Cub Father.
Johnson said with the success of this co-ed winter camp=out he expects a lot more girls to sign up in the fall.