CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hesper Bath, a 23-year-old woman from Salt Lake City, stood out in the sea of Boy Scouts at the organization's National Jamboree this week, but it didn't bother her.
"Being a girl here ... it's like you're a celebrity," she laughed. "But all of the guys here are such gentlemen."
This was the first time in history that members of the Boy Scouts' Venturing program, a co-ed youth development group centered on physical challenges, were allowed to attend the Jamboree.
Bath was one of an estimated 1,000 female Venturers among 40,000 Boy Scouts camped out at The Summit outdoor adventure site in Glen Jean for the national celebration.
The Jamboree, held every four years, kicked off July 15 and ends Wednesday.
"I can't express how amazing it's been for me. All of my life I've seen my brothers go to Boy Scout camp and was so jealous because they got to do all of the outdoor activities," Bath said. "Girls can't be Boy Scouts -- they never will be. And it's important for the boys to have that, but it's also very important for girls because we need to experience these kinds of things, too.
"I'll never forget it," she said.
Maggie Durand, an 18-year-old from Massachusetts, was working as a Scoutmaster at the event and has been a Venturer for years.
Durand, who got her start as a Girl Scout, said the co-ed program offers a more diverse and challenging experience for girls.
While the Venturing program has been around since 1998, "It's just now starting to get recognized," she said.
"In every other country, it's just Scouting. There's no Boy or Girl Scouts. It's just mixed in together," Durand said. "It has been weird to be the guinea pigs here, but the next time will be a lot better. I've had a great time."
Durand said that being the minority at the high-energy event is no problem, and she's used to it.