Molly Goff becomes first girl to join Reedsburg Scouts BSA troop
Eleven-year-old Molly Goff didn’t think she would join Boy Scouts. Now, the Reedsburg girl is the first to “bridge over” from Cub Scout Troop Pack 244 to Scouts BSA since the national organization allowed girls to join.
Starting Feb. 1, girls could officially join the newly organized Scouts BSA, a re-branded version of Boy Scouts of America. The program is open for 11 to 17-years-olds in grades fifth through high school, according to the Scouts BSA website. Goff became an official member Feb. 9 during a ceremony recognizing she had completed all of the required work to officially join the group.
Goff’s journey in scouts began when she tagged along with her family during the troop’s orientation night with the intent of her 7-year-old brother, Ben, learning more about the organization. While at orientation, a male peer of hers in the troop convinced Molly to join.
Goff, who is in fifth grade, said she never was in scouts or any type of club and felt comfortable with the idea, since she knew many of the boys from school in the troop. She also liked the idea of the adventurous side of the program. Along with younger brother, she signed up that same night of orientation, becoming a member of Cub Scout Pack 244 in Reedsburg.
“I thought maybe I should have a different experience of doing different things I hadn’t done before,” Goff said.
Since each level is based on the participant’s grade in school, Goff entered as a Webelow, the final level of Cub Scouts for grades 4-5.
New unit organizer Tracey Hansen said because Goff joined during the final year as a Webelow, she had some catching up to do with the rest of the group to meet the required merit badges necessary to join Scouts BSA. Hansen served as Cub Scout scoutmaster to Troop 244 and assistant troop master to Troop 44, and is helping start the girl’s troop.
Hansen said Goff completed two years of merit badge and required work in the five months from September to crossing over in February. Goff said it felt great to accomplish the amount of work in such little time.
Hansen said Goff is an “inspiring” and “driven” person and a giving individual.
“She’s smart, but so nice and so sweet and just inspiring to be around,” Hansen said.
Den Leader for Pack 244 Den 2 Arrow of Light Leader Tassia Holmes helped Goff obtain all of the requirements. She said she was amazed by the work Goff put in prior to joining Scouts BSA.
“I am very proud of her,” Holmes said.
Hansen said witnessing Goff’s hard work and determination inspired her become a scoutmaster for a newly formed girls troop. Because the troop is just starting out, Hansen she will not be considered a scoutmaster until the group obtains a chartered organization and the committee votes on it.
Hansen said the group still is looking for a chartered organization to provide a meeting space and a representative for the troop. Hansen said the group needs more girls to join before that can happen. She said the troop plans to have a spring recruitment day for boys and girls to learn more about joining.
Molly’s mother, Ann, said her daughter’s confidence has grown since joining Scouts BSA. Ann Goff said everyone with in the troop has been supportive and welcoming with her joining the troop.
“It’s not just about boys and it’s not just about girls,” she said. “It’s about doing things as a family and trying to get everybody involved.”
Molly Goff said she is looking forward to camp outs, trips to museums and “doing fun adventures” and “learning about different things I haven’t learned about.” She said she would like to finish all of her merit badges and in the long term and plans to obtain her Eagle Award. She also said she would like to bring other girls her age to the troop in hopes they will join.
Hansen said three girls are currently in the Cub Scout Troop who they hope will join Scouts BSA in the future. While some work between girls and boys will be separate, Hansen said the goal will be similar to the boy’s troop — achieving rank advancement and becoming better scouts.
“(We) really want it all to be equal,” Hansen said.
She encourages anyone interested in learning more about Scouts BSA or joining the troop to contact her at 608-658-1014 or firstname.lastname@example.org.