A live online celebration of the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts, including five in Anderson County who joined Boy Scouts of America in 2019, airs Sunday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. on Facebook and Youtube. A local celebration of the girls’ achievement will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. at Oxbow Hollow Sunday, March 7.
The first class of female Eagle Scouts includes Aven Alexander, Reagan Sokolowski, Shian Trible, and Sidney Veneris of Palestine and Hayleigh Chapin of Elkhart.
The youth completed service projects ranging from building stands for golf bags at the Wildcat Golf Course to coordinating gifts for hospitalized children and nursing home residents.
All five joined the newly-formed Troop 101 in 2019 with the planned goal of earning the Eagle Scout rank.
They are all concurrent members of Palestine Ship 1 Unique, a local chapter of Sea Scouts, a co-ed division of BSA that teaches skills in leadership, boating, and navigation.
BSA bills the online presentation as a historic event that honors all female youth in the inaugural class at the same time. All members completed requirements in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills by the deadline earlier this month.
To be part of the inaugural class, all five girls completed 21 merit badges, a service project, and passed a board of review in two years or less.
“Congratulations to all of these young women," said Larissa Loveless, director of public relations for Palestine Independent School District. "They made history as the first girls to become Eagle Scouts. The Wildcat Nation is proud of these history making leaders in our community.”
Scoutmaster Scott Nicholson of Boy Scout Troop 440 said that earning the Eagle Scout rank shows strength of character.
“It says they’re a motivated person who can meet goals and obligations,” Nicholson said. “They’re following a certain path of life and I hope they will continue to abide by those ideals as an adult.”
Four Boy Scouts in Palestine’s Troop 440 are eligible to become Eagle Scouts in 2021: Hunter Brown, Aiden Nicholson, Ethan Kniedecken and David Oliver, out of nine total participants.
More than 2.5 million scouts have earned the Eagle Scout rank since 1912, one of the most prestigious honors a youth can earn. Yet until 2019, girls were not allowed to participate in Boy Scouts, and therefore could not earn the Eagle Scout rank, barring them from scholarships and other opportunities.
“I can’t wait to see all the amazing things they continue to accomplish,” stated Ann Sokolowski, Reagan’s mother. “The sky is the limit for them.”
February marks the 111th anniversary of the BSA, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Irving, Texas.