New Milford girls ready to join boys in Scouts BSA
NEW MILFORD — Several girls sat around a table one afternoon last week at Home Depot, hammering nails into small pieces of wood to create model racing cars, using tools they learned about while touring the store. In doing so the girls — most of them members of a Cub Scout den — took the last steps needed to advance to Webelos rank, from which they will progress into Scouts BSA — formerly the Boy Scouts. They are among the first in the nation to take this step since the Scouts officially opened to girls this year.
“We thought it’d be a really interesting experience to pioneer being the first girls in Boy Scouts,” said Nicole Cadovius, co-leader of an all-girls den in New Milford’s Cub Scout Pack 467, one of the first packs opened to girls.
The girls’ den interacts with the boys’ dens, going on hikes, park cleanups, fishing trips, campfire cookouts and service projects.
“While we have our own identity, we’re very much part of the group,” Cadovius said.
“It’s really, really fun to be a Cub Scout,” said Lilah Reguin, 9, adding she especially enjoys whittling, hiking and camping.
About 4,500 girls joined Cub Scouts nationally, according to Scouts BSA. Pack 467 was one of many invited by the national organization to consider accepting girls.
At this point in time, girls can only join Cub Scouts, but Scouts BSA will open its higher levels to girls early next year. Each Cub pack can decide whether to have all-girl or coed dens.
Matthew Reguin, a member of the committee that considered the invitation, said the pack decided to accept because mothers and daughters often ask to join during Cub Scout recruiting events. He said his wife, Amy Eliason Reguin, who co-leads the girls’ den with Cadovius, had pointed out that half of the boys in the pack had sisters attending pack events.
Lilah Reguin said she always enjoyed going to her brother’s Cub Scout activities, and now she gets to earn badges of her own.
“My brother did it and it was really fun,” she said. “At the time, girls couldn’t join, but now they can.”
Ian Reguin, who just advanced to Scout Troop 158, said it’s been nice sharing the experience with his sister.
“I felt proud,” he said. “I could go to my meetings and she would also be there.”
Cadovius’ daughter, Ava, would also join her brother at Cub events. She said it made sense for Pack 467 to open to girls because it’s always been so family-oriented.
Cadovius and Amy Eliason Reguin agreed that a girls’ Cub den could teach different skills from what girls would learn in Girl Scouts, in which both women and their daughters are still involved.
“If you look at both Scouts codes and what both organizations do, it’s really a blending of skills,” Cadovius said.
She said the Girl Scouts focus on building leadership and STEM programs, which deal with science, technology, engineering and math, while the BSA emphasizes outdoor skills. She said Girl Scouts encourages independent activity, while BSA is more team-based. Pack 467 has a long history of established community service projects.
Lilah Reguin said she loves both organizations and wouldn’t leave Girl Scouts. She said she appreciates how there’s more to do, though, at the lower levels of Cub Scouts compared to the lower levels of Girl Scouts.
Gabriella Beaumont, 8, said she joined Cub Scouts because her parents were unable to find a Girl Scout troop. She’s enjoyed fishing, hiking and learning to whittle and build.
“When Boy Scouts first opened for girls, I was really excited,” she said.