The Pony Express Council Boy Scouts of America is celebrating five young women who are among the first females to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
Nationally, about 450 girls have earned the rank, Alan Franks, Scout executive for the Pony Express Council Boy Scouts, said. The Boy Scouts began allowing girls to join their membership in 2019.
“We’re very proud to say that we have five young ladies who have earned the Eagle Scout rank. Females have been able to join the Scouts BSA program since 2019, so this is a real effort, a real leadership opportunity for these young ladies to accomplish the goals of being an Eagle Scout over the past two-plus years,” Franks said.
Roughly 6% to 8% of all Boy Scout members earn the Eagle Scout rank. Franks said that group includes about 80 Scouts locally who earn the prestigious rank annually.
The local female Eagle Scouts are Elizabeth Stephenson, Adrianna Ally, Joslin Ungles, Dalylah Rybolt and Aydnn King. Franks said 65 young men in the council also earned the Eagle Scout rank.
Stephenson said she joined the Boy Scouts in February of 2019 in order to spend more time with her brother and father.
“They were always going on camping trips and I wanted to go, so it was just like a way to bond,” Stephenson said.
In order to achieve the organization’s highest honor, Scouts have to earn a minimum of 21 merit badges.
“To be an Eagle Scout is no easy task. That young person has to have proven and shown leadership throughout the years in their troop and have to have earned a minimum of 21 merit badges, of which 13 are Eagle-required merit badges,” Franks said.
In addition to the merit badges, an Eagle Scout project must be completed.
“The project itself has to be something meaningful and has to be for the community,” Franks said. “It can’t be for self or family or for the troops specifically. It has to be something that the entire community can benefit from.”
Examples of Eagle projects include cemetery improvements, building lending libraries and renovating parks, playgrounds or trails.
Stephenson’s project took place at a community building near the Maryville, Missouri, airport.
“I painted the whole inside of the building ... and then I also painted the kitchen and the bathrooms and then we redid like the trim,” Stephenson said.
Franks said earning an Eagle Scout rank can help young people with their future goals.
“Putting that on a job application or a job resume really shows a future employer that that young person isn’t a quitter, that they put a commitment in, they stuck to it, and they accomplished a goal through perseverance and leadership,” Franks said.
Stephenson said she was glad to be able to join the Mic-O-Say, an honor society in the Boy Scouts organization.
Stephenson, who currently is in school to become an BWP, said she encourages anyone who is interested to join the Boy Scouts to try it out.
Franks said the organization will be hosting a celebration of service for the first female Eagle Scouts online at scouting.org/bethechange at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21.