By Nancy Vigran
Special to the Sun-Gazette
VISALIA – If you think the novelty of girls being admitted to Cub Scouts has worn off in the past year, it hasn’t. Pack 1920 formed in 2018 is an all-girl pack and it’s growing. What started with four members a year ago, has now grown to 12. Early in March, Pack 1920 received a proclamation from Visalia City Council honoring them as the first all-girls pack in California.
Last Saturday Pack 1920 invited Visalia’s Pack 310 to a Pinewood Derby at the Visalia Masonic Lodge. Pack 310, which has been around for years, is now co-ed with two girls participating out of a dozen or so members.
It isn’t that there is anything wrong with Brownies, it’s just that Cub Scouting, well, it’s a little more adventurous, according to Pack 1920 members and their parents.
There may be a Pinewood Derby among some Brownie activities, although traditionally woodworking hasn’t been something girls have participated in. Times they are a-changing.
Rodney Blaco started Pack 1920 because of his 7–year-old daughter Maeve. They explored the possibility of her joining a Brownie club, but it didn’t involve camping which was a big disappointment for her. It was about the same time there were rumblings of girls soon being admitted into Cub Scouts, so Blaco explored those options. He went over how each club worked with his daughter and shared the handbooks of each.
She reviewed them – decision made. She chose Cub Scouts.
“It’s great,” Maeve said, now a year into it. And, her favorite activity is, naturally, camping. She also likes fishing which is a part of the camping experience. And, the Pinewood Derby, it’s pretty fun, too.
Maeve’s pinewood vehicle won 2nd place among the 1920 Pack.
Maeve also enjoys meeting new friends, it is, after all, a pretty social atmosphere.
Her sister being only 2½ years old is too young for scouting yet. You have to be six, although at the leader’s discretion those a bit younger may be able to join as a Tiger, the youngest age group in the pack.
Pack options now can range from all boys, to co-ed, to girls only. Pack 310 is one of a few co-ed packs in Tulare County, which has about a dozen Cub Scout packs altogether.
But, Blaco’s choice was for girls only because, “it’s all about the girls,” he said. He didn’t want to gender competition involved.
“Girls learn differently than boys,” he added, sharing he’s had experience coaching football and baseball for many years.
“Co-ed would be harder” he said.
Pack 310 leader Josh Farmer, said he has found no problems with his co-ed pack. The boys and girls seem to get along fine and participate in the various activities well together, he said.
Zonia Sevilla’s 7-year-old daughter, Sofia, joined Pack 1920 as it was forming.
“She was more willing to do Cub Scouts because it has a lot of good programs,” said Sevilla, a former Girl Scout herself.
“It offers more life skills including camping and outdoor cooking. It’s a very different program than Girl Scouts. I am so glad these girls aren’t restricted,” she said. “They learn not to be afraid to do what they see boys doing. They aren’t limited.”
Beth Robinson concurs. Her 9- and 6-year-old daughters, Kyra and Kenzington, have also been in Pack 1920 since its inception.
“My brothers grew up in Scouts. I always wanted to do it. We decided it would be a good fit for them,” she said of her daughters.
At last year’s Pinewood Derby, Kyra came in dead last. This year, she not only won the 1920 pack title, but also won the overall competition.
“This year I am really excited,” Kyra said. “Me and Kaylee, we did it together.”
Kyra and Kaylee Munyon are the only 1920 Pack Webelos, which are comprised of fourth- and fifth-graders and the oldest members of a Cub Scout Pack.
Kyra, too, enjoys campouts and the experiences that come with them such as knot-tying. But, just maybe right now, the Pinewood Derby is her favorite.