Female Scouts Klondike Derby

From left, Scouts BSA Troop 2119 members Evie Parker, 12, Allison Hemming, 12, Lena Miller, 11, Abigail Cicone, 11, Veronica Schuchart, 16, and Tara Armas, 14, go over their items for the Klondike Derby on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, at Savoy Methodist Church.

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FAIRMOUNT — On Feb. 1, 2019, girls were officially allowed to join Scouts BSA – or, as it was known before, the Boy Scouts of America.

The all-female Troop 2119 was founded that same day — hence its number.

Now, for the first time, Troop 2119, along with other all-female troops, are able to participate in the Prairielands Council Klondike Derby.

The derby — which began Friday and ends at 11 a.m. Sunday at Camp Drake in Fairmount — is a showcase event on the Scouting calendar. Held in the winter, it features Scouts pulling a homemade sled full of gear from station to station, each presenting a different challenge.

Troop 2119 consists of eight Scouts ranging in age from 11 to 16 and has five new Scouts joining from various Cub Scouts packs throughout the area.

“One year ago, when we founded the troop, (the Scouts) were fairly nervous, but most of them had grown up watching their brothers participate in cool campouts and high-adventure trips, so they were shocked that they could now have these amazing experiences,” said Tiffany Armas, Troop 2119's scoutmaster.

According to Armas, the Scouts have been practicing various skills the past year, including tent setup and tear-down; outside cooking; and using knives, axes and saws.

Along the way, she said, they’ve “gained so much confidence” and “aren’t as intimated by new experiences” anymore.

“We have spent the last three weekly meetings reviewing the basic Scout skills to prepare for the Klondike Derby,” Armas said. “We are linked to Troop 101, the troop that a lot of the 2119 Scouts’ brothers are in, and they have a sled that we are able to use.”

She also said joint committee volunteers have been helping to coach the Troop 2119 about what to expect and how to prepare for this weekend’s event.

This year’s theme at Camp Drake: Old School Scouting.

“I would say they are excited to participate in their first Klondike Derby,” Armas said.