One Virginia teenager always wanted to join the Boy Scouts. Now that the organization has opened up to girls, she’s celebrating achieving the highest rank.
She wasn’t able to join the Cub Scouts when she was younger, but Katie Hunter, 13, from Vienna, Virginia, jumped in the minute she could put on a Boy Scout uniform.
She has now become an Eagle Scout, which is the highest rank available in the Boy Scouts.
“Girls have the same capability to fulfill all of the requirements and do the same things and we deserve the same opportunities,” said Katie, an 8th grader at Thoreau Middle School.
Girls were banned from joining the Boy Scouts of America program until February 2019.
That’s when Katie’s dad, Chris, started Troop 987 out of Emmanuel Lutheran Church with five of her friends. The troop now has 10 girls.
“It’s super fun, we work well together,” Katie said.
Chris had been a scout leader for several years, and he was thrilled that his daughter could have the same opportunities as his sons.
And now she just became one of the first girls in the country to achieve the highest rank in scouting.
“I’m so proud of her. This is an amazing group of girls and it’s great to see them experience new things and hone their leadership skills,” Chris said.
Katie’s brothers are also Eagle Scouts, and she said she always wanted to learn how to safely use a knife, go rock climbing and explore the area through camping trips.
“I watched them go through scouting and have that journey and I was so excited when they decided to let girls in,” Katie said. “I’m just excited to be a part of this and excited that I get to be here.”
In order to reach the highest rank, scouts need to plan and complete a major project. Katie led a team of 30 volunteers in putting together 37 garden planters for a local elementary school.
She said that she wants to use the skills she’s learned to be an art teacher in the future.
She’s also looking forward to being a troop leader.
“It’s amazing. I’m very lucky to be in the right place at the right time.”