Nine-year-old Holly Girard had an itch for Boy Scouting long before making it official.
The Attleboro youngster started attending scouting activities when her older brother, A.J., joined Troop 314 at the Foxborough Regional Charter School.
Both siblings attend the local charter school, which obtained a charter for Troop 314 (a sly reference to the value of pi) five years ago — incorporating both Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts
While she wasn’t an official member, all the siblings of scouts were invited to join in on the fun and activities since the troop was formed five years ago.
“We called them ‘honorary scouts’ for a long time,” said Holly’s mother, Susie Girard, scoutmaster of Troop 314. But two years ago, after several years participating on the down low, Holly and two other girls registered for the Cub Scout pack as boys, longing to earn badges and awards.
“It was just quietly registered and we didn’t really talk about it too much,” Susie said.
But when the Boy Scouts of America decided to officially welcome girls to the program last year, Girard simply called up the registrar to switch Holly’s gender in the system, making her the first girl Boy Scout in Foxboro.
Holly was a member of the Girl Scouts for two years while also participating in her brother’s Boy Scout activities, before ultimately deciding to focus on Boy Scouts. Perhaps due to its affiliation with the charter school, Troop 314 was more focused on STEM and outdoor skills, a departure from the typical Girl Scout program.
“It’s really dependent on who is running the program,” Susie Girard explained. “Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have really great programs, but the local groups decide how they want to tailor it and what they want to focus on.”
The first official badge Holly earned was the whittling patch. While she had been earning badges for some time, it felt different to earn one as an official scout, Holly said.
“It felt good because I knew it would be signed into the scout book and people could see it,” she said.
Holly’s favorite badge so far is the STEM Nova, a patch she earned by conducting several math and engineering experiments.
She also loves the service hours a scout has to put in. Last Friday, she helped replace the flags for Veterans’ graves at Rock Hill Cemetery in Foxboro in time for Memorial Day.
“It’s really fun,” she said. “You get to look at all the gravestones and see which one is your favorite.”
While there are other girls in the troop, Holly has the most regular attendance, and sometimes is the lone girl. But being a girl in a Boy Scout troop hasn’t been a big deal for Holly or her peers.
“We really don’t care,” she said. “It doesn’t really matter.”
Holly is the most decorated scout of the entire unit, and has earned almost every medal she could, including the extra ones. She has her sights set on becoming an Eagle Scout, for which she would have to earn 21 merit badges at minimum to qualify.
“I don’t want to earn just 21,” she said. Earlier in May, Holly attended her first Eagle Scout court of honor, where she saw a complete list of the 120 different merit badges a scout could earn and wrote down each one she was interested in on a napkin.
Holly hopes to finish Cub Scouts a little early to get a head start on those merit badges. If she finishes all her required badges, she can move on to Troop 314 at the age of 10 and a half instead of 11.
“You can only go until you’re 18, and I don’t want to miss out on being an Eagle Scout,” she said.