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Sonoma County Gazette
The Unicorns
The Unicorns

Girls in the Boy Scouts:
How a Local Groop Broke Into
the Nation's Biggest Boys-Only Club

Apr 4, 2019


“We are the new girls 
Creating a new thing
We are the Unicorns
Remember that name!
We are the Unicorns
Hot as flames!
Blazing along new trails!” 

Remember that name, indeed. That was the cheer five, brave, 5th grade girls, the “Unicorns”, gave at the closing campfire at 2015’s Camporee. The Unicorns, the first girls ever to participate, had just won 2nd place overall. Camporee is an annual, friendly, competition of Scout skills. At the time, Boy Scouts of America did not allow girls.

The girls had worked on their skills for months. I had repeatedly told them, “We’re going to have fun. If you place in even one event, that’s great.”  When “The Unicorns in second place overall!!!” was called out, I nearly cried. As those five girls ran to the front to give their yell, I wondered aloud, “What just happened?” The lady in front of me turned around and said, “You just made history. That’s what just happened.”

A scout chops wood

Some people were extremely supportive; some were not. Camporee was in April. In October, 2015, Boy Scouts of America denied the girls’ request to officially join Boy Scouts. Their reason? “Boys Only!!”, plain and simple.

Fast forward to 2019 – BSA changed their 100-plus year “Boys Only!” policy and opened their membership to girls. On February 1, 2019, the Unicorns became official members of “Scouts BSA” (Boy Scouts of America changed their name to reflect their new membership.)

In February, the Unicorns went on their first official Scout camping trip. It rained the whole time which may not have been fun, but it was important. Why? Because a boy quietly said to his Dad, “I thought the girls would be really shy and just sit in a corner or something. But they didn’t. They hung with us. They’re cool.”  YES!!!! Because another parent, upon observing the girls and boys clowning around together, said to me, “I had some questions about how this would work, but its great. They’re not “boys” or “girls”, they’re just peers.” YES!!!!!

We’re excited to share the Unicorns’ journey with you. These local girls have taken a brave first step on the path to Eagle – the Boys Scouts’ highest award. Come join them! We invite you to be a part of this historic journey.

From Ella, a member of The Unicorns:

Closing campfire at Camporee was the best moment of my life so far (o.k., I am only 13). Everyone was waiting to find out who won the top three awards. We were the only girls there. We were the only girls who had ever been to a Camporee. We had spent all day competing against boys, most of whom were older than us. “Unicorns!” had already been called a couple of times for ribbons in specific events. But the big awards for who did best overall were coming up.  

Scouts tend to fire in drizzly weather

None of us expected to hear “Unicorns”. But that’s what happened!! The announcer said, “In second place . . . it’s the Unicorns!!!” I was kinda in shock for a minute. I think everyone was. But then it hit me “We just beat a lot of boys who have been scouting for a long time. We came in second overall!!” And we ran down and yelled out our cheer in front of all those shocked boys and their shocked leaders. Wow.  

That’s why I love Scouts. You will reach and accomplish many things you never thought possible. That’s why you should join us on our adventure!

At Camporee, we were not official Boy Scouts. Boy Scouts said we could not join because we were girls. But now, they’ve changed their mind!!!  I’m super excited to be an official Scout. There are so many new adventures in front of me.

I need some more girls to join the Unicorns! Being a Scout means that you are confident in the things you do and have many life skills. Plus, its just fun. We hope to see you at a Unicorn meeting soon and include you in the Unicorn’s journey to Eagle! You could be part of history just by having fun scouting with us!

If you're interested in joining The Unicorns, contact the author at


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