Just days after the Boy Scouts of America welcomed girls into their new program with Scouts, BSA, history was made in Berks County as Hawk Mountain Council’s Order of the Arrow, Kittatinny Lodge held its inaugural election in a Venturing Crew in Reading recently.

There was one candidate who had completed all of the requirements to enable her to be on the election slate for Venturing Crew 5.14, who meet at Reading Rocks. Ripley Price, 19, of Blandon, was elected by a group of her peers to be an Arrowman in the Order of the Arrow.

When the BSA announced in October 2017 that it would open its doors to girls through their linked-troop program, Scouts, BSA, Ripley was just weeks away from turning 18 and aging out. While many thought she would be disappointed to never have the opportunity to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, in fact, she was excited for the announcement as she was one of the youth working towards the goal of having girls involved in the Scouting program.

From the age of 14, Ripley was a Venturer, a co-ed program for youth between the ages of 14 and 20, and knew very well the leadership development, the ethical and moral guidance, and the amazing high adventure opportunities that Scouting offers. She had followed her brother, Griffin, through Cub Scouts, participating where she could on the periphery, like many other girls, wanting to be part of the program, but there was no official way for her to do that.

Feb. 1, 2019 was the official launch date of Scouts, BSA. The BSA’s honor society, Order of the Arrow could now begin holding elections for Venturing Crews and for females participating in Scouts, BSA, allowing girls to be elected to the Order of the Arrow for the first time in more than 100 years.

Ripley is the first female youth in Hawk Mountain Council to be elected to the Order of the Arrow, and one of the first in the Northeast Region. She is the immediate past president of the Northeast Region Venturing Officers Association and is currently working towards her Summit Award, the highest award a Venturer can earn (the lesser known equivalent of the Eagle Scout rank). She is also a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient.

Kittatinny Lodge Chief, Andrew Simmons, 20, of Muhlenberg was excited to conduct this inaugural election and welcome the first youth female into the Order of the Arrow in Hawk Mountain Council.

The Hawk Mountain Council serves more than 6,500 young men and women supported by over 2,000 trained adult mentors in Berks, and Schuylkill Counties. The BSA’s goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.

The Scouting divisions are Cub Scouting for children in grades K-5, Scouts BSA for youth ages 11 to 17 and Exploring, Venturing and Sea Scouting for young men and women ages 14 to 20.

For more information, go to www.hmc-bsa.org or call 610-926-3406.

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