SAVOY, Ill., (WCIA) — Camping in all kinds of weather, spending days at a time on a boat and hiking for miles in the mountains might not be at the top of your bucket list, but for many girls in Champaign County, it’s all they’ve dreamed of.
Because of that, Tiffany Armas took it into her own hands and created an all-girls scouting troop four years ago.
“When I was given the opportunity I was like .. oh my gosh yes! It was never something I thought I could’ve come up with,” Tara Armas, a founding member, and Tiffany’s daughter, said. “I want to be a Boy Scout, but it was crazy to me cause I’m not a boy.”
She didn’t let that stop her. Tara was one of the first ones to join Troop 2119, a subsection of Troop 101.
“In Boy Scouts, it’s okay to let that guard down and I didn’t expect that to be part,” Tara said.
It started with only eight girls in 2019. Now, there are 26 members.
“Every scout has grown in their own way. Some came in with certain outdoor skills, some didn’t like camping and learned to embrace it,” Tiffany Armas said.
It continues growing, and the girls are proving they can run the world.
“I wanted the adventure in my life. I wanted to go hiking, I wanted to go camping,” Gail Cicone, one of the members, said.
They’re gaining experiences and meeting people they wouldn’t have otherwise.
“I think it really helps me kinda understand dynamics of a group and be able to lead,” Evelyn Schuchart, another member, said. She got involved after seeing everything her siblings were doing while they were in the troop.
The scouts learn leadership skills, cooking skills and teamwork skills when meeting weekly in Savoy. They’re transferrable when they travel nationwide.
Cicone traveled to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico last summer. She hiked nearly 100 miles in 11 days.
“It was really challenging though. Especially mentally, having to be there hiking 24/7. Your feet hurt, you’re carrying 40, 50, 60 pounds on your back,” Cicone added.
But, they said it was all worth it, and a favorite memory.
Tara Armas said one of her best times was while traveling too. She went to Seabase, a high adventure trip in Florida. It helped her fall in love with science.
“I’m learning biology, and now I want to study physics. It kind of evolved from there,” she said.
They’re proving they can do anything they put their minds to.
“I see these young girls joining the program and they’re shy,” Tara Armas said. “Now that they’ve been in the program a year, I see them turn into these confident young women that are going after things.”
Many of the girls joined after seeing their siblings in the program. Now, they’re also earning their Eagle Scout awards, the highest rank in scouting. It’s something most of them wouldn’t have imagined doing a few years ago.
The troop meets Thursday nights at United Methodist Church in Savoy. If your child is interested in joining, you can contact the troop’s membership chair at email@example.com.