I'm a girl. It's time I become a member of the Boy Scouts.

I have found my space — and that is with Boy Scout Troop 414 in New York City. Contrary to what some might think, the Boy Scouts is not specifically tailored to boys. Its mission is to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.”

With the Cub Scouts, I went on camping trips, built my own wooden car for the pinewood derbies, learned about what firefighters do and even earned the highest award, the Arrow of Light. With the Boy Scouts, I have been able to learn and teach first aid, earn merit badges, earn lifeguard certification, complete the mile swim (twice) and even take on the role of patrol leader at camp. These opportunities were available to me because of the Boy Scouts, and although I am not yet officially recognized as a member, I would not have been able to learn or teach these life skills without the program.

While the Girl Scouts provides a great program for many girls, I want young women to have equal opportunity to earn merit badges, ranks and eventually, the Eagle Award, which opens future opportunities.