‘Trailblazers’ form female Scouts BSA troop

Amy Groeltz
Mary Joyce, Sophia To, Lilian Mennen and Maria Knutsen show off their troop number, 2019, after crossing over from Pack 3 Webelos to the Diocese of Davenport’s first Scouts BSA troop for girls last month in Burlington.

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

Burlington is now home to Troop 2019 — the first female Scouts BSA troop in the Diocese of Davenport, and in the Shoquoquon District, which serves the lower southeast tip of the state.

On Feb. 1, the Boy Scouts of America officially renamed their flagship program, Boy Scouting, to Scouts BSA to reflect their change of policy to allow girls to join in separate troops. Troop 2019 became official May 1.

“It’s such a neat group of girls … it takes a lot to be the ones that go first, the trailblazers,” said Amy Groeltz, committee chair and charter organization representative. “I’m proud of them and I think they’re going to be fantastic young women.”


The troop currently has four members, all of whom joined in 2018 when Scouts BSA allowed female dens (groups) into the Cub Scout program for scouts ages 7-10.

Troop 2019 is chartered through Notre Dame Catholic School in Burlington, where all four members attend school. Groeltz’s daughter, Mary Joyce, is excited to be among the first female members of Scouts BSA in the region. As a Cub Scout, she learned whittling and first aid and had the opportunity to camp, canoe and swim. She’s looking forward to participating in service hours — which are required of Scouts BSA members — and working to become an Eagle scout like her father, Martin Joyce, who serves as scoutmaster. Mary hopes to demonstrate to other girls in the area that “we can do this!”

Groeltz said, “Like any parent, you hope any activity you do with your kid will help them build character, expand their horizons, expose them to new adventures and open their minds to new experiences, (all while) having fun!”

Sophia To joined Cub Scouts last year because she thought it would be “fun and interesting.” So far, camping has been her favorite activity. As a member of Scouts BSA, she is looking forward to earning merit badges and ranks.

The four girls, who are entering sixth grade in the fall, have already earned the Arrow of Light award, which must be completed before aging out of Cub Scouts. “They had one year (to do it) and worked hard,” Groeltz said. “They’re highly motivated and well rounded.”

Groeltz said more girls are interested in joining Troop 2019, and she looks forward to seeing what they will accomplish. “It’s going to be a neat group of girls to watch.”

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