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Group becomes first female BSA troop in Lancaster County

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East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County -- A group of girls braved the bitter cold to make history in Lancaster County!

The girls of Troop 82, out of Brownstown, became the Boy Scouts of America's first female troop in the county.

The snow, ice, and bitter cold wasn’t enough to deter girls from making history Thursday night during a ceremony in East Lampeter Township. Flanked by friends, family, and a fife and drum corps, the girls of Troop 82 made their way down a scouting trail to begin their bridging ceremony.

“I was thinking, oh crap, this is really happening and it’s amazing," said Caris Daneker, the Senior Patrol Leader. “I never expected this much and this many people to come out and support us.”

Troop 82 performed tasks, administered by Eagle Scout brothers, fathers, and friends, which were needed to officially earn their scout rank. Before Thursday’s ceremony, Troop 82 hiked four counties, canoed over 100 miles, and pursued and achieved a variety of awards.

The bridging ceremony isn't just symbolic. It's helping to break down barriers.

“I’m one of the only girls on staff and all the guys are scouts and many of them have eagle and I feel like now I have the opportunity to get scout and to get eagle and show that scouts is learning for everyone and it’s not just for guys”, said Jenna Oechslin, the Assistant Patrol Leader. “Girls can really benefit from this program, too.”

The activation ceremony concluded as the troop made their way across the covered bridge; literally and figuratively bridging them into their scout troop

“Girls aren’t always allowed to do the same things that boys are allowed to do, like use pocket knives or build fires,” Daneker added. “With Boy Scouts, it opens new opportunities for everyone and gives equal opportunity whether you’re a girl or a guy.”

Despite a long night in the cold, the girls will wake up bright and early to go to school Friday morning.

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