Boy Scouts of America Celebrates Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts

Jade-Ceres Violet D. Munoz

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PR Photo provided by the Boy Scouts of America

In 2019 the Boy Scouts of America started accepting young women to join the Scouts BSA, the rebranded program for older scouts. It took almost two years, but these young ladies worked hard to earn their merit badges, master scouting skills, and earn their rank requirements. Despite the difficulties of Covid-19, they continued to work hard on their scouting skills. It finally paid off. On Feb 21, nearly 1,000 female Eagle Scouts were welcomed to the ranks via a virtual celebration.

Achieving the Eagle Scout rank is a major milestone for any scout. Only about 6% of Scouts attain the highest rank – roughly 2.5 million since the award’s creation in 1911. It requires individuals to take on leadership roles within their troops and within their respective communities. They must earn at least 21 merit badges that cover a range of topics and they will need to complete a large community service project. For more than a century, the rank has been attained by the best the scouts have to offer. Their alumni Eagle Scouts include astronauts, admirals, US senators, and other important figures in society. President Gerald Ford is among the scouts who earned the award. There were only 23 scouts in the first Eagle Scout class of 1912. Every year, more than 50,000 scouts achieve the rank.

"Eagle Scout is a designation widely valued by universities, employers, and other respected institutions around the world, and we are honored to celebrate the hundreds of incredible young women who represent a truly historic class of recipients," said Roger Mosby, president, and CEO of the Boy Scouts of America. "In earning this rank, young people gain new skills, learn to overcome obstacles, and demonstrate leadership among their peers and in their communities. Scouting's benefits are invaluable, and we are elated that the opportunity to become an Eagle Scout is now available to even more youth—young men and young women alike."

The virtual event entitled ‘Be the Change’ celebrated the young women and their achievements. The first female Eagle Scouts collectively earned more than 30,000 merit badges and provided an estimate of 130,000 hours of community service.

2020 was a particularly daunting year for Eagle Scout hopefuls. The pandemic restrictions forced most of the candidates to continue scouting from home. The Eagle Scout Service projects they selected needed to consider everyone’s safety under the new normal. The Boy Scouts of America offered a limited-time extension to its Eagle Scout age requirements, giving new BSA members a fair chance to earn the highest honor before turning 18. Traditionally, BSA rules say a young person can no longer earn Eagle once they turn 18. But for 16- and 17-year-olds who are new to Scouts BSA — even those who join on the Feb. 1, 2019, launch day — there isn’t enough time to earn Eagle before their 18th birthday. Despite only having 24 months to complete the strenuous requirements to attain the Eagle Scout award, many from the inaugural female class have made it.

"This is a powerful moment for these young women, for all Eagle Scouts, and for our nation," said Jenn Hancock, national chair for programs at the Boy Scouts of America. "People recognize Eagle Scouts as individuals of the highest caliber—and for the first time, that title isn't limited by gender. This expanded opportunity will empower generations of young people as they see both young men and women earn this rank and become leaders in their communities, in business, and our country."

The Boy Scouts of America only started accepting girls into the Cub Scout program in 2018. There are currently more than 140,000 girls in BSA.

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