When the Boy Scouts of America announced last year that the organization would start welcoming girls into its ranks for the first time in its 100-plus years of existence, it garnered a lot of attention.
It was welcome news to Kim Brennan, a mother of two teenage Boy Scouts and a daughter who just happens to be 11 — the age when girls can join the new Scouts BSA program.
Brennan and fellow Hopkinton Scout leader Matt Peters are wasting no time in getting the program off the ground. They’ll hold an information session on Monday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Community Covenant Church (2 West Elm St.), and they plan to submit their paperwork right when the national organization allows, on Feb. 1.
“One of the things that my boys have loved about being involved in Boy Scouts has been the opportunity to be really engaged in the outdoors and really engaged in the community, and I think that my daughter has always seen them engaged in a lot of different activities and she’s excited to participate in similar types of activities,” Brennan said.
While there already is a Girl Scout program in town, that is a separate, unaffiliated organization.
“The Girl Scout program and the Boy Scout program really are structured differently,” Brennan noted. “And I think that both are incredible organizations for people who are looking for the right opportunities — wherever their interests lie.
“I’ve actually been collaborating with people who are involved in Girl Scouts, because we really want this to be an additive program that provides girls with another opportunity. This might be a program that suits some families and some girls, and Girl Scouts might be a program that suits some families and some girls. And so hopefully this will just create another opportunity.”
Like Brennan, Peters has two sons and a daughter, although his daughter is in college and is too old to participate. Nonetheless, he said his daughter expressed excitement for the program in a recent phone conversation.
Said Peters: “She called and she said, ‘Really, you’re working on a girls troop? You know, I can finally say, Dad, now that it’s in the background, I was always jealous of the trips that the boys got to take.’ So, I really want to make it such that we do good trips and things that will excite them. That’s kind of the hook, the hook are the trips. And then we say, all right, well, you’ve seen how it goes, now you guys lead it.
“The mission of Boy Scouts of America is to help young people learn to make moral and ethical decisions throughout their lives. We’re really making sure that the culture in these troops is the kind of culture that we want for our young people, and teach them those kinds of things. It’s fun, and when they have fun they learn great values and great leadership, and I’m excited to be able to give that to girls as well.”
Brennan noted that the new troop will be a girls-only troop and will only participate in activities with boys if the participants express an interest.
“It’s very much Scout-led,“ Brennan said of the overall program. “I anticipate that this girls troop will also be Scout-led. So, the girls will be very involved in determining what trips we take and whether or not we engage with other troops. We could do activities with other Girl Scout troops, we could do activities with boy troops. We could do activities independently. It’s really going to be up to the girls who decide to join how they want this troop to operate. And we really will use the program to help deliver strong outdoor skills, helping to build character, helping to build leadership.”
Added Peters: “I feel strongly that the girls deserve all the opportunities that the Boy Scouts offer. And I want to make sure that we build a troop that is everything a good troop can be. I’m fully committed to this.”
Liu to perform with BYSO
Hopkinton 15-year-old Andrea Liu will play the violin as part of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra’s annual opera performance on Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre. This year, for the organization’s 12th consecutive full-length opera, the BYSO will perform Puccini’s “La Boheme.”
Liu is one of more than 100 young musicians in the BYSO, which claims to be the only youth orchestra in the United States that annually performs a full-length opera.
“The performance of a full opera by a youth orchestra is a remarkable and rare accomplishment of which I am very proud,” said BYSO music director/conductor Federico Cortese. “Opera is a fantastic tool for the musical and personal growth of our students because of the rich and intricate musical and psychological storylines that weave in and out of the music in ways not seen in a standard symphony.”
Time for census, dog license renewal
Town Clerk Connor Degan has a lot on his plate this time of year. In addition to publicizing the nomination papers for town offices (see cartoon at left), he is reminding residents that the annual census will be in mailboxes soon and should be returned as soon as possible. The census collects population data that assists town departments in applying for grant funding, helps track how the town can improve services, and maintains voter registration information.
Also in the census envelope is information on how to obtain or renew a dog license. The deadline for a 2019 license is April 1, after which time a $25 late fee will be assessed. Residents over the age of 70 can have their licensing fee waived (but not the late fee).