National Archives News

All-Girl BSA Troops Visit National Archives, See 'Rightfully Hers' Exhibit

By Jonathan Marker | National Archives News

WASHINGTON, January 31, 2020 — As America celebrates the centennial year of the passage of the 19th Amendment, the National Archives has been a hub of activities and events honoring the occasion. For the Scouts of BSA Troops 214 and 2018—who hail from Crofton, MD, and Edgewater, MD, respectively—their January 30 visit to the National Archives Museum closely coincided with their first anniversary as Scouts BSA Troops.

refer to caption

Scouts from Scouts BSA Troop 214 (Crofton, MD) and Troop 2018 (Edgewater, MD) tour the exhibit Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, on Thursday, January 30, 2020. (National Archives photo by Susana Raab)

Why is that significant?

Well, the Scouts of BSA Troops 214 and 2018, as chartered components of the Boy Scouts of America, are composed entirely of girls. It’s apropos, then, that their visit to the institution that safeguards the 19th Amendment and many related records, comes this centennial year of the amendment’s passage.

On February 1, 2019, the iconic Boy Scouts program of Boy Scouts of America officially allowed girls between ages 11 and 17 to join the organization, and Boy Scouts became Scouts BSA to acknowledge the change. The girls from Troops 214 and 2018 joined thousands of fellow female Scouts from across the country in this change to the formerly all-male organization.

For Robert Simpkins, Scoutmaster for Troop 214, his connection to the radical shift within the Boy Scouts of America is embodied in his daughter, Chloe, who is among the founding members of the troop.

“Troop 214 was actually one of the first all-girls troops chartered by BSA,” Simpkins said as his Scouts stopped and viewed the Charters of Freedom in the Rotunda. “Chloe has been part of the troop since we stood up almost exactly one year ago on February 1, 2019.”

For Scout Athena Cochrane, joining Troop 214 was a logical choice, a continuation of activities in which she had already been engaged.

“As I grew up, I always went on campouts, and when I joined Troop 214, I learned about so many more life skills that will stay with me even when I move beyond being a Scout,” Cochrane said. “I learned about nature, how to whittle when I earned my Totin’ Chit [a card presented to Scouts who have learned how to properly handle woods tools like knives, campsaws, and axes], and how to be a responsible member of my community.”

Shay Pluta, a Troop 214 Scout whose mother, Becky, serves as the troop’s committee chair, echoed this sentiment.

“When I was younger, I used to see my brother go camping, and I always felt like I was missing out,” Shay said. “Being part of Troop 214, and learning what I have learned over the past year, I know that girls can do anything boys can do.”>

The Scouts then moved on to the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery to view the Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote exhibit. On the way, they were greeted by curator Corinne Porter, who offered kind words of encouragement and inspiration with the Scouts before posing for a group photograph. The Scouts then continued their docent-led tour of the exhibit, stopping for an inspiring photo in front of the “Failure Is Impossible” banner.



Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote is on display in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, through January 3, 2021.

Find out about upcoming events in the National Archives online calendar.