Scouting out a new path

Rich joins Inaugural Class of female Eagle Scouts


Rich sports her hard-earned badges in her Scouts BSA uniform. She recently joined Scouts BSA and became part of the inaugural class of Female Eagle Scouts. The Eagle is the highest rank in Scouts BSA. photo provided by Kimberly Rich

Campbell Harris, Assistant Opinions Editor

Junior Caroline Rich has made history by becoming the first in her troop and district, and one of the first in the nation, to join the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts.  

“It’s pretty exciting to be a part of something like this,” Rich said. “It’s a really unique experience and even historical – for all of the years to come, when there’s even more female scouts, I’ll be proud to be able to say that I was among the first.”

Girls have only been eligible to join Scouts BSA, formally known as Boy Scouts of America, for two years.  After passing her Eagle Scout Board of Review on Oct. 5, Rich joined the select few in the inaugural class. Rich already earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts, in 2019.

The class includes all girls who joined Scouts BSA, completed their path to the Eagle scout rank, the highest achievement in the Scouts BSA program and passed their Eagle Board of Review by Jan. 31.

The board of review, the final step on the path to receiving the Eagle rank, is a board of BSA troop members and district officials who ask questions about each applicant’s Eagle project, scouting career and merit badges. 

Before an applicant is eligible for the board of review, they must complete all of the Scout ranks except for Eagle, hold leadership positions in their troop, earn at least 21 merit badges and complete the Eagle project.

“I worked with VNA Meals on Wheels for my Eagle project, which I completed from May through August,” Rich said. “With the help of more than 50 volunteers, my Eagle project focused on VNA’s immediate need to protect its clients from COVID-19, by sewing 150-plus face masks, and to connect its clients with support by making 600-plus uplifting cards.”

While some people take four or more years to achieve Eagle rank, Rich achieved it in one year and eight months. However, she never thought that she would be able to join Scouts BSA and the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts. 

“Prior to girls joining, I think there had also been a narrative within Scouts BSA that hard work, wilderness survival skills and a spirit of adventure are unique only to boys,” Rich said. “The fact that there are already so many girls and young women who have not only joined but thrived in the Scouts BSA program is proof against this.”

Rich said she gained knowledge, skill, insight and leadership through both Scouts BSA and Girl Scouts. As a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient, she hopes to show girls the Girl Scout program has a lot to offer, while simultaneously showing girls they can succeed in Scouts BSA. 

“I know from experience that it can be daunting to join an unfamiliar program, but it can also lead to a really valuable experience,” Rich said. “ The opportunity to join Scouts BSA has finally been extended to girls – take advantage of that opportunity.”