The Boy Scouts’ Western Los Angeles County Council will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the inclusion of girls into the scouting program at their Santa Clarita Valley Service Center in Newhall on Feb. 2.
The arrival of Scouts BSA, the umbrella term for boys and girls in troops together, begins on Feb. 1, introducing a massive change to the program’s 106-year-history. WLACC will introduce its first all-female troop. Called Troop 2019, it tentatively has about five girls as its members.
As the parent of a Boy Scout with a daughter involved in the sibling-oriented Venturing Scout program, Jessica Pazdernik will become the new troop’s awards chair. Her husband will serve as scoutmaster, their son will apply to be assistant scoutmaster and her daughter will join as an official member.
Leading the troop will be a way to give back to a program that’s given her family so much, she said.
“It’s fantastic for me,” Pazdernik said. “I feel honored to serve in a role to mentor new scouts that’re female. My daughter has done all of the things my son has done. Just knowing she has the opportunity to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, that’s incredible. She’s gained so much inspiration from my son.”
Jeff Shrewsbury, district executive of the Boy Scouts Western Los Angeles County Council, said he’s really proud of the changes to the scouting program. He said he plans to invite two scouts about to become Eagles to the ceremony. Both boys, Rijker Hutson and Andrew Dever from Troop 316 in Saugus, will join the Air Force Academy following their respective courts of honor.
“The fact that they both got accepted does not surprise me at all,” said scoutmaster Rob Clarke. “It’s well deserved.”
Hutson and Dever both wanted to join as early as middle school, and after experiencing scouting together, they plan to stay close.
“We’ve been helping each other on this journey,” Hutson said. “I’m so happy to be going with him and continue that friendship.”
Shrewsbury hopes the two will attend the ceremony to witness this new phase of scouting.
“(It’s) exhilarating, exciting, groundbreaking,” said Shrewsbury. “We’re all about family in scouting. So that Mom, Dad, daughter and son all can participate in the same activity, which increases family time together.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled 11 a.m. Feb. 2.