Girls Can Soar Like Eagles, Too

Jasmine Gonzales, 15, Jestiny Yager, 12, and Leiah Thornes, 14.

Photos and Story by Linda Cicoira

Ten-year-old Tracy Brooke Selby, of Greenbush, wanted to be allowed to achieve the way her brothers do.

In November, after years of going camping with her family — her parents are Boy Scout leaders and her teenage siblings are Scouts — she finally got a chance. Tracy joined a co-ed Cub Scout pack in Parksley.

Ten-year-old Tracy Brook Selby.

“I like it a whole lot better because I get to earn the badges,” Tracy said. She had basically been participating since she was four or five years old. “I just wanted to earn the badges like my brothers and I was upset about it,” she said.

She turns 11 on Jan. 1, and by then will have finished work on her Arrow of Light, the highest rank and award in Cub Scouting. At that point, she will be able to join her friends.
Her next goal is joining female BSA Troop 100 with her friends above from left, Jasmine Gonzales, 15, Jestiny Yager, 12, and Leiah Thornes, 14.

Those girls were the first on the Eastern Shore of Virginia to become girls in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and are all working at becoming Eagle Scouts.

Leader Danny Jackson and his assistant, Tara Howland, are both active duty Navy at Wallops Island. Jackson, 31, earned Eagle status when he was a youth in Georgia.

“When we allowed girls last year to come into Cub Scouting, I wanted young women to be able to come in (fully) and not just start,” Jackson said.

Jackson obtained a national waiver to start with less than five young women. Troop 100 was formed right before summer camp at Henson Scout Reservation, in Salisbury,  Md., had its coed week-long event.

The girls “just have to sleep in separate campsites and have separate bathrooms,” Jackson explained. The troop started with four Scouts but one girl, though still registered, has not been back since July. “She may have decided this isn’t for her.”

Jasmine, a ninth-grader at Arcadia High School, said scouting is teaching her self confidence. She has moved around a lot because her Dad is in the military and is shy. She enjoys meeting new people and learning new things and already has badges in photography, environmental science, citizenship to the world, and archery, which was her favorite at camp.

“I don’t have a bow of my own, but I am saving up and to get a sleeve so I don’t bruise my arm.”

“I am into a lot of the sciences … and how things came to be how they are.”
According to Jestiny, “There’s more than one thing to like” about being in the troop. “It’s really fun for everybody here. We just mess around with each other all the time.” She likes the joking, but is also serious about her nature and swimming badges.

At the camp pool, the lowest depth was eight feet.

The girls spread their knowledge. After hearing about Jasmine’s love for archery, Justiny said she will take the course next summer.

A scouting emblem.

Leiah earned shotgun, climbing, world citizen, and first-aid badges.  Prior to becoming a Scout, she knew nothing about shooting. “We learned not to hold the barrel in someone’s face, how to clean a gun, (and) to keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. We had to shoot clay pigeons.”

First-aid is Eagle-required. “I like learning about health because I always wanted to be a doctor,” Leiah said.

It’s been a learning experience for Howland too. She was in the Girl Scouts for three years but never slept in a tent.

Now she is also learning about tying knots, handling knives and cooking.

To join the troop or to get more information, call Tammy Selby at 757-710-3469 or Bobby Selby 757-710-4701.
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