Three East Albemarle students become inaugural members of Stanly’s first all-female Scout BSA troop

Miracle McCauley, Mikayla Williams and Maura Flanagan were already good friends and classmates at East Albemarle Elementary School.

But the fifth graders will soon spend more time together as the trio recently made history in becoming inaugural members of Troop 4082 — the first female Scouts BSA troop not just in Stanly County but in the Uwharrie District, which also encompasses Richmond and Montgomery counties.

A crossover ceremony was held Feb. 5 at First Lutheran Church in downtown Albemarle, where the three girls transitioned from Cub Scout Pack 82 to the newly formed BSA troop. Five boys also moved from Cub Scouts to Troop 82.

The Boy Scouts program, recently renamed Scouts BSA, made it possible to include a girls troop when it started allowing girls into the organization in February 2019. Since then, more than 31,000 girls ages 11-17 have joined, according to its website.

“The Boy Scouts of America has been an important part of our church’s community outreach since Troop 82 began back in 1946, and we look forward to continuing our support for this program as they begin this new venture,” First Lutheran Pastor James Laurence wrote in an email. “For the first time, girls in our community will be able to participate in Scouts BSA through BSA Troop 4082, and will have access to all the opportunities that BSA offers.”

With McCauley, 11, Flanagan, 11, and Williams, 10, wanted to extend their Scouting experience after graduating from cub scouts.

“We wanted to continue to be able to give them the opportunity to grow in Scouting, so we formed 4082,” said Kelly McCorkle, the Scoutmaster for the all-girls troop. Her husband, Shane, is the Scoutmaster for Troop 82, which has been part of First Lutheran since 1946.

“It’s really exciting just for girls to have the opportunity to grow in Scouting and continue to learn and grow just within themselves,” McCorkle added, noting other girls throughout the county are encouraged to join the troop.

With girls now involved with Scouts BSA, they can earn the same merit badges as their male counterparts, including the much-coveted Eagle Scout — the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program.

“They will have every single opportunity that a traditional Boy Scout has,” said Amanda Griffey, one of two assistant Scoutmasters along with Marlene Rodriguez.

Troop 4082 consists of, in the front, Miracle McCauley, Mikayla Williams and Maura Flanagan and, in the back, Assistant Scoutmaster Marlene Rodriguez, Scoutmaster Kelly McCorkle and Assistant Scoutmaster Amanda Griffey.

Troop 4082 will attend the Merit Badge College at Camp Barnhardt Feb. 11 where the girls will participate in many merit badge offerings, including archery, camping, first aid and public speaking.

Flanagan credits her older brother, who has been involved with Scouts BSA most of his life, with inspiring her to join him in the program.

“He made me want to do it,” she said.

McCauley, who said she is not typically involved with activities outside of school, wanted to be part of the Scouting because “I thought it would be something different.”

Asked about what they are looking forward to as BSA Scouts, Flanagan said: “I’m excited about everything.”

Shane McCorkle is excited about the creation of the new troop and hosting joint activities between Troop 82, which has around 25 scouts, and Troop 4082.

“It’s been awesome,” he said about the formation of the new troop. “We got a really good group of young girls and Scouting is all about diversity, equity and inclusion and we want to be that.”