Eagle Scout badges are not just for boys anymore.
At the May 23 Waunakee Rotary meeting, Breck Dokken, development director of Boy Scouts of America Glaciers Edge Council, talked about scouting and how this change came about.
New troops of Girl Scouts now follow the same programs as the male members, including eligibility for that most prestigious of all awards.
That’s partly due to the trend of families becoming reluctant to have their children in different programs on different nights of the week.
“The other thing is, the value system we have, the things we do, are still important to families,” Breck said.
Boy Scouts of America is proud of what the organization can do with volunteer families, he added. Waunakee serves 80 youths, and several complete Eagle Scout projects every year.
Camp improvements have been underway, as well, including the addition of a 6.5-acre pond at Camp Indian Trails. Two camps are open to children of different ages, and camp staff are trained to meet the needs of each specific age group.
Attendance at the camps has grown, prompting a need to improve infrastructure. New shower houses with flush toilets have been installed at Camp Indian Head near Janesville, and similar accommodations are planned for Ed Bryant Scout Reservation in Mauston. A tall climbing tower, the largest in the state, is also planned for that facility, Breck said.
Camp attendance has grown over the years. Five years ago, the council was lucky to see 500 campers; this year, 1,409 have already paid for sessions.  
Glaciers Edge Council is the only one in the state to end the year with a membership increase, Breck said.
Breck stressed measures area now in place for volunteers with Boy Scouts to keep youths safe. Background checks are required, and all volunteers must complete a 2 1/2 hour online youth protection course.
“We’ll err on the side of caution with kids, even it means volunteers won’t come because of the background checks,” Breck said.
He noted that reports of incidents in the media may be exaggerated. With some 2-3 million families in scouting nationwide, just 12 incidents were reported in 2018.
“Our goal is to go out of our way to protect kids,” Breck said.
Eagle Scout awards are earned by 4 percent of scouts. To attain one, scouts must earn 123 merit badges along with the big project.
“We anticipate the first girl Eagle Scout in about two years,” Breck said. “It’s an exciting time for us.”
Other News:
–Bill Erickson said school supply pickup will be Friday, June 7. Volunteers will meet at Rex’s at 12:30 p.m. then head to Prairie Elementary School. Afterwards, they will be sorted and shipped to Honduras.
–Al Dassow has an opportunity for others to join him on a charter fishing boat in Milwaukee. Talk to him if you’re interested.
Guests: None.
Corporate Associates: Jean Elvekrog, with Jim Elvekrog.
Visiting None.
Birthdays: June 2, Tom Roepke; June 2, Tom Kennedy; June 5, Ed Niebuhr
Anniversaries: May 30, Phil and Betty Willems;  June 5, Cindy and Brad Patzner.
Greeters: May 30, Tom Roepke and David Rupp; June 6, Bob Sachtjen and Troy Salisbury; June 13, Ellen Schaaf and Todd Schmidt.