Troop 506, sponsored by the La Jolla United Methodist Church, went on a two-day, 9-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Warner Springs area on April 13. Scoutmaster Marne Stransky – who got involved in the Boy Scouts after her son joined – said that they learned things like orienting a map, using a compass, filtering water from streams, building rain structures, and starting a fire, which turned out to be a challenge.
“Their perseverance was incredible,” she said, smiling. “They did not give up."
She said the scouts were so enthusiastic about the trip that some of them even asked to be woken up at 5:30 a.m. to see the sunrise.
“It was a bonding experience for them,” Stransky said. “I have a really good group of girls."
One of the driving factors in starting this troop was not only to include girls so they have more opportunities but to make it easier on parents who traditionally have had only one child in the troop and not the other.
After all, what one sibling does, the other wants to do too; which is exactly how 13-year-old Charlotte Norton first got involved.
“I’ve tagged along with my brother a lot, so I know how fun the trips are. I don’t really want to tag along anymore. I want to be apart of the troop.”
“Our troop has always been family-oriented,” said Stransky, who added that siblings and family members have always been invited to go on different outings. “The difference here is that they can enter the actual program and earn their ranks.”
While BSA membership has declined since its peak five decades ago – The Washington Post reported a membership of four million boys in 1910 and a membership of 2.3 million boys in 2018 – Troop 506 has 53 members according to assistant scoutmaster Marc Jaffe. He claims it’s because of the troop’s high-adventure activities that include everything from backpacking and rafting in Montana to horseback riding in Temecula.
“We have a very healthy troop,” he said. “And the reason is because we’re active. And we’re in California, so we can do things year-round.”
So active in fact, that they’re already planning their next activity. Outings for 2019 currently include horseback riding, canoeing, and other wilderness backpacking adventures. For more information about Scouting BSA (Boy Scouts of America) Girl’s Troop 506g, call Stransky at 619-204-8194 or come to one of their meetings, held every Monday at 6:30 p.m., at La Jolla United Methodist Church.