Sparta, NJ (Feb. 21, 2021) – The inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts was officially recognized by Scouts BSA in an online webcast by the National Council of Boy Scouts of America, titled “Be The Change,” Sunday night. In Sparta, Troop 1150, the first all-female troop in the area, honored seven local girls, unofficially the largest group of new Eagle Scouts from any troop in the country, said Bob Brady, scoutmaster, whose sixteen-year-old daughter, Bridget, was one of the seven.
In February of 2019, Boy Scouts of America, for boys age 11 through 17, welcomed its first female scouts, and in turn, rebranded to Scouts BSA. The Cub Scout program, for youth between 7 and 10, went co-ed in 2018.
Troop 1150, friends, family and members of brethren troop 150 gathered in the parking lot of the Sparta United Methodist Church to watch and participate in the event. Scouts of all ages sat in lawn chairs to watch the festivities on a large movie screen, apparently oblivious to the frigid temperatures, while others stayed warm and cozy in cars, parked drive-in movie style.
“We’re happy, excited and relieved to be at this point,” said Brianna Conlon, a seventeen-year-old from Sparta, who spoke about how the girls were feeling.
Lindsay Pugliese, 17, echoed that sentiment. “We’re all just very happy,” she said. Pugliese and Conlon are seniors at Sparta High School and both are preparing for college in the fall.
Emily Brothman, 19 and a resident of Andover, is a freshman at Penn State, and participated in the ceremony with her fellow Eagle Scouts via Zoom.
Also honored at the event were Jasmine Lutz, 15 from Byram, Zoe Rizzo, 16, from Stanhope and Katelin Hanifan, 15, from Andover.
The girls, who all joined the troop at the same time on February 1, 2019, fulfilled the requirements needed to earn the rank of Eagle Scout in just two years. This included the completion of at least 21 merit badges, rising through the ranks and demonstrating proficiency in areas of leadership, service and outdoor skills.
About a half hour into the webcast, the live feed was sent to Bridget Brady, who introduced her fellow Eagle Scouts and conducted a short interview with Derek Porter from Troop 104 in Scotch Plains. Porter was just elected the 2021 National Chief of the Order of the Arrow and was a guest of Troop 1150 at the evening’s ceremony.
Brady’s first question to Porter? What does he think of girls in scouting?
“I think girls in scouting is fantastic,” he said, adding that “every youth in the country should be a part of our program and now that’s a reality. The seven Eagle Scouts in Troop 1150 are proof that the boy scout program works.”
Troop 1150, which has close to 40 members, is chartered to the Sparta United Methodist Church. Any girl between 11 and 17 is eligible to join. For more information email Bob Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: To read more about Troop 1150, go to the home page, click on the Holiday issue of Lake Hopatcong News and see pages 12 and 13.