The all-female Scouts BSA Troop 1916 from Bigfork and the all-male Troop 1910 from Kalispell will be a new presence at this year’s Cabin Fever Days. Both troops will compete side-by-side in the show class division, directly following the Barstool Ski Race competition, this Saturday, Feb. 15, on Sugar Hill in Martin City.
The two troops are participating in the event to commemorate several major happenings for their organization.
Scouts BSA, formerly known as the Boy Scouts of America, is entering its 110th year as of Feb. 8. Participating a week later in Cabin Fever Days will be a great way to publicly celebrate the anniversary, said the Bigfork troop’s committee chair Eve Lefcourt.
The event will also showcase the historic development for the organization. This February marks a year since the traditionally all-male organization began allowing females to join. Representing this monumental change will be the all-female Troop 1916 from Bigfork. The group, freshly established five months ago, is one of just two female troops in Northwest Montana, the other being from Columbia Falls. Scouts BSA began testing co-ed involvement a few years ago through their Cub Scouts division, with Bigfork being the first in the state to do so, said Lefcourt. The girls who were the first to join the Bigfork Cub Scouts are now the young women composing Troop 1916. Two of the young women in the troop are on track to be among the first class of female Eagle Scouts in November.
Additionally, said Lefcourt, the event will be an opportunity to give back to the area that has supported a cornerstone event for the district’s troops for the last 40 years: the Klondike Camporee. The camporee occurs on Forest Service land less than two miles from downtown Martin City. By supporting Cabin Fever Days, a fundraising event for first responders in the Canyon, Lefcourt and other organization officials hope to show their appreciation of the area and community.
The troops will be sliding down the Martin City hill in sleds they made for the winter camporee held earlier this January. The camporee, designed to teach survival skills, is modeled around the Klondike gold rush. Patrols from each of the troops make their own dog sled which they then fill with survival supplies. Scouts stand in for dogs and are required to pull the sleds around nearly a mile-long track, stopping at five different stations. Each station features a skill to be completed and patrols are awarded points in the form of Klondike “gold.” It’s these sleds the public will see careening down Martin City hill on Saturday. Viewers can expect Troop 1916’s to be painted pink and baby blue.