February 1st Scouts BSA chartered the first female troops. Autumn Nichols was among those girls across the country that signed up with her local troop, Troop 7220, Heart of America Council, Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Six short weeks later she was on her way to Sea Base to participate in a Coral Reef trip registered as a Scout.
Her father and brother had gone on a Sea Base trek several years ago. In fact, Autumn has watched her scout brother do lots of adventures through scouting and has always wanted to do the same things. She was happy to finally be able to join. “Oh my gosh! I can go on a High Adventure trip? I can’t even describe how excited I was and how awesome [the trip] was!”, Autumn exclaimed when trying to put her recent trip into words.
When the troop made the Sea Base reservation, they knew female troops were on the horizon. They registered with a few open spots in mind for the new scouts. The troop formed with 13 girls and 2 immediately took the Coral Reef trip spots.
At only 13 years old, in the 7th grade, and newly elected patrol leader of the Phoenix Patrol, she has taken on new responsibilities for her troop. She has scouts in her patrol older than herself that she has had the opportunity to lead. Their first campout was in the snow. They knew snow was forecast for the campout, but they were surprised to wake up to 3 inches on the ground. Autumn says they figured out the challenges as a troop. “Our Scoutmaster is amazing. All the adult leaders are so helpful. I never had a moment when I didn’t enjoy it.”
Newly formed Troop 7220 participated in a local parade along with Troop 220. The girls refer to themselves as “Blue” and Troop 220 as “Red”. Together they passed out candy and cards in an effort to promote more girls joining. Currently, they have 15-20 girls and 80 boys. “Talking to friends at school and other places encourages them to join together. Some joined with 3 friends!”, Autumn explained.
When the opportunity came for Autumn to attend Sea Base her parents talked about who would go with her. Afterall, her Dad had participated with her brother 2 years prior. David Nichols said, “I wanted it to be all about her.” The final family decision is that Autumn would go without her immediate family members. She was shocked at first that her parents were not attending, but said, ‘it went really smooth.’
Soon the pictures and comments came flooding home of her time at Sea Base. “It was like swimming in an aquarium full of fish!” was by far her Dad’s favorite comment. When asked her comments couldn’t keep up with her thoughts-“Absolutely stunning!, Surrounded by schools of fish, So amazing, Something I will never forget, The water was the color of ice blue Gatorade.”
When asked about her future in scouting she reported that she arrived home from Sea Base on Saturday, achieved rank on Sunday and will receive it in a Court of Honor on Monday. She asked how old you must be to work at Sea Base and quickly did the math of which year she would be staff. You will be hearing this name again as a staff member in 2024.
One new Scout. One High Adventure trip. Lifelong friends. History made.
Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association (SBAFA) is open to all who love Sea Base. The website, SBAFA.org, can provide all the details about membership and the upcoming Reunion Oct 11-13,2019.