Meet Some Of The First Girls Ever To Become Eagle Scouts
Congratulations to these inspiring young women!
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is a rare accomplishment. And, for decades, it was an honor only achievable by boys in the Boy Scouts of America. However, this year, the organization welcomed nearly 1,000 girls to the top of the Boy Scouts of America’s ranks, thanks to a lot of hard work and a never-give-up attitude.
The inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts was formally recognized by the BSA last month in a virtual, live-streamed event on YouTube as “a celebration of service, leadership and the groundbreaking accomplishments of the first female Eagle Scouts.”
The young women who make up the first female Eagle Scouts had to overcome many obstacles to reach this milestone. First, it wasn’t until 2017 that the BSA decided to allow girls to join the organization.
Once they overcame that hurdle, girls who wanted to reach Eagle Scout had to meet the rigorous guidelines set by the BSA to earn the prestigious rank.
This includes being active in a troop for at least six months as a Life Scout, demonstrating a commitment to leadership, and earning a total of 21 merit badges including those for first aid, cooking, personal fitness, lifesaving and others. Finally, a service project must be approved by the BSA and completed in order for a scout to be raised to the Eagle Scout rank.
In a normal year, only 4% to 8% of Scouts earn an Eagle Scout rank.
So, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the challenge to meet all those goals became even harder. Some of the girls looking to break the glass ceiling wondered how this would affect their dream.
“It seemed pointless to continue,” 18-year-old Justine Cole of Livonia, New York, revealed in the BSA-oriented blog Bryan on Scouting. “I had to learn to work through personal doubt.”
Cole regrouped and proposed a service project that was COVID-19-compliant. As a result, she completed her requirements and joined her brother Trevor and her uncle as an Eagle Scout.
Over in New Hampshire, new Eagle Scout Valerie Ann Johnston has caught the attention of members of Congress, including Rep. Ann McClane Kuster, who tweeted her congratulations.
Congratulations to Valerie Ann Johnston — a young New Hampshire trailblazer — for becoming the Granite State’s first female Eagle Scout!
Way to go, Valerie!https://t.co/LofxyFDWb0
— Ann McLane Kuster (@RepAnnieKuster) March 2, 2021
Johnson joined Scouts BSA back when she was 14 years old as part of a program that allowed girls to participate prior to the BSA’s decision. But, in 2019, after the official admission of female scouts, she joined a troop (where her father is a scoutmaster) and planned her journey to Eagle Scout.
“I had to prove myself,” she told the Manchester Union Leader. “I had always wanted to rank up in Scouts and it was to show myself I could do it. My goal was to get it done before college and I worked back from there.”
Johnson earned 22 badges by October 2020 and completed a service project, which was a food-and-fundraiser to help the New Hampshire Humane Society.
One of the newest Eagle Scouts in Indiana has not only hit a milestone in being one of the first females to reach the highest rank in the Scouts but is also one of only 21 young Black women to do so.
Here’s a tweet from the BSA’s Golden Empire Council in California, which posted a CNN article for its followers:
From CNN. COm:
—– An Indiana teen is one of the first Black female Eagle Scouts
"Officials are still finalizing the number of female Eagle Scouts but said Jackson is one of 21 Black women known to have reached the rank."
— Golden EmpireCouncil (@gecbsa) February 24, 2021
Kendall Jackson told CNN she tagged along with her brother and mother on her first Boy Scout camping trip back when she was a toddler. So, when the opportunity came up for her to join, she seized the moment.
“I was just ready to go. I was eager to get started and be able to have this opportunity,” she said. “I was overwhelmed with joy and I was ecstatic to be able to join.”
Sisters Jenny and Jessica Hosken both celebrated reaching Eagle Scout status after they helped create Troop 1965 in Fairfax County, Virginia in 2018. Their brother had already become an Eagle Scout and they wanted to follow in his footsteps.
“You can do anything that you want if you just believe you can,” Jessica told WJLA.
Here’s a tweet from a supporter in close-by Washington, D.C. acknowledging their achievement.
'You can do anything you put your mind to': Fairfax teens in 1st female Eagle Scouts class https://t.co/ye3x2XTcIb
— Jason (@mrjason_kz) March 1, 2021
“I am so honored to be able to light the way for future generations of female Eagle Scouts,” her sister Jenny, added.
The girls’ mom, Erica Hosken, happens to be a Scout Master. She said she is proud of all the girls who worked so diligently to reach their goals.
“I am so enormously proud of all of these girls,” she said. “I mean, they have just worked so incredibly hard and shown so much determination.”
14-year-old Carley Seabrook of Shelby County, Alabama, has always loved community service and decided to put that passion towards earning her place as an Eagle Scout.
Her accomplishment was reported on by Birmingham journalist Sarah Killian in the tweet below:
Meet the first female Eagle Scout in Shelby County! This Helena teenager is using her love for hands-on community service to help one of her favorite non-profits. https://t.co/aDqXXohg7e
— Sarah Killian (@SarahWVTM13) March 2, 2021
For her service project, Seabrooke decided to focus on her favorite nonprofit organization. She built an information kiosk for the Kitty Kat Haven and Rescue organization.
“People get to see my work and all of the effort that I put into it,” she told WVTM 13. “And they get to see that this organization is evolving and it’s going to be better and greater.”
Like many others, Seabrooke’s family has roots in the Scouts. Her older brother is a Scout and her father is a Scout Master. However, the newest Eagle Scout in the family achieved something incredible in her journey to the top rank she earned 42 merit badges, which is double the normal requirement to be an Eagle Scout.
“I’m very proud of that, that she made Eagle Scout,” her father said. “She put a lot of hard work in.”
Congratulations to all of these amazing young women. They have certainly been an inspiration to those who may now follow in their footsteps!