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LI Boy Scout camping event includes girls as members, in a first

Zachary Hertlein, 9, of Oyster Bay, left, in

Zachary Hertlein, 9, of Oyster Bay, left, in Pack 153; Alexandra Manashirov, 9, of Wantagh, in Pack 189; Alex Kohn, 8, in Pack 189; Sullivan Knox, 9, of Oyster Bay, in Pack 252; Sarah Scotch, 9, of Massapequa, in Pack 189; and Juliana Manashirov, 6, of Wantagh, in Pack 189, play ball together as the Nassau County Cub Scouts hold its Cuboree spring event at the Schiff Scout Reservation in Wading River on Saturday. Credit: Veronique Louis

Sarah Scotch has been camping with her family since the age of 4, but this weekend marked a new kind of camping adventure for the 9-year-old.

Sarah was one of 19 girls participating in a three-day Boy Scouts of America “Cuboree” camping event, held by the Theodore Roosevelt Council at the Schiff Scout Reservation in Wading River.

This weekend was the first council event to include female Cub Scouts as members, allowing the girls to wear their uniforms and compete alongside the boys.

“It’s fun. Now when I do things, I can get the awards, I’m with the boys and I’m not just off to the side,” said Sarah, a Webelo Scout with Cub Scout Pack 189 in Wantagh. “I’m doing the things that everyone else is doing and I can keep up.”

Sarah’s father, J.J. Scotch, 47, of Massapequa, noted how his daughter was able to instruct fellow campers on how to set up a tent.

“[Sarah] has been loving it since the very beginning, this is what she wanted to do,” he said.

Scouts participated in a range of activities, including an “Indiana Jones”-themed treasure hunt, archery, field games, arts and crafts, a pushcart derby and, of course, camping overnight.

The all-weekend campout drew roughly 700 people from around Nassau County — including Cub Scouts, parents and siblings, said Pete Shields, commissioner of the Massapequa-based Theodore Roosevelt Council.

Sarah’s friends and fellow scouts Alexandra Manashirov, 9, and Juliana Manashirov, 6, were also enjoying scout activities.

Alexandra, who had never gone camping before, said she was “glad to have her first time [camping] with the Scouts and in nature, because I love nature.”

The girls’ excitement, Shields said, was contagious.

“The exciting part is that the girls just fit right in,” Shields said. “I’ve seen girls who have been wearing their uniforms all day and they seem to be beaming with pride that they can wear their badge and be a part of what’s going on.”

“I feel like we’re making history,” said Maya Manashirov, 42, a Wantagh resident and Alexandra and Juliana’s mother. “The Boys Scouts are a very big organization and we’re kind of honored for girls to be a part of it.”

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