Makaylee Carlisle and Miriam Cook became the first girls in the county to earn their Eagle Scout award last month.
After much push from many young women and parents of young women, the Boy Scouts of America finally allowed girls to join in 2019.
This victory led the Boy Scouts to change the name of their traditional all male Scouting program for youth from fifth grade through high school to Scouts BSA . The first group of female Eagle Scouts were awarded in 2020.
“Some people thought it was a little weird that I was trying to earn my Eagle Scout,” said Cook, a Tooele teen. “Other people understood and thought it was cool to have some girls in there.”
The Eagle Scout is the highest rank of the BSA and is recognized across the country and throughout the world.
In order to earn this award, Scouts must be active in the troop for at least six months as a Life Scout, show dedication to the Scout Oath and Law, provide references from family, church, and other community groups, serve a minimum of six months in a leadership position, complete an Eagle service project, attend a Scoutmaster conference, and pass a board of review.
They also have to earn 21 merit badges in such subjects as emergency preparedness or lifesaving, camping, physical activity, citizenship, and more.
In 2019, only 8% of all Scouts earned their Eagle Scout rank, according to wellfamily.com.
15-year-old Cook decided to join the Scouting program because of her brother.
“My older brother was doing Scouts here at the house,” she said. “I just really wanted to do it, like my brother and ever since I got into the program, all I wanted to do was earn my Eagle Scout. That was my goal.”
For about six hours each week, Cook worked on achieving her goal and two years later, she was given her Eagle Scout in September 2020.
“It feels good to be one of the first two girls in the county to earn my Eagle Scout,” Cook said. “It feels like I have achieved a lot and done all that I wanted to do in scouting. Working hard to achieve your goals may take time but it’s totally worth doing. I loved doing all of the adventurous stuff in Scouts.”
In the future, Cook has big plans to become a baker.
“This award might help me get some jobs that I want. I want to be a baker and because I have my cooking merit badge, it will help me with what I want to be,” said Cook.
13-year-old Carlisle earned her Eagle Scout award last month, along with her friend Cook.
“I’ve loved scouting since even before girls were allowed to do it,” said Carlisle. “My dad was a Scoutmaster for our ward at church and my mom was working nights, so me and my brother kind of went everywhere with our dad. I kind of became interested in scouting by going with him.”
Determination helped Carlisle through the challenges of completing the requirements for her Eagle Scout.
“If I wanted to do something in the program, I would just tell myself that I was going to do it,” she said. I was motivated to do it, because I did it for me.”
Carlisle is already thinking about the future.
“This award will help me get jobs and show that I do work hard and I can get things that usually other people wouldn’t,” Carlisle said.
Carlisle and Cook want to encourage other girls to obtain their Eagle Scout awards.
“Girls should just do it,” said Cook. “It may take time but it’s definitely worth doing.”
“It feels really good to have done this,” Carlisle said. “I am really glad to have paved the way for other girls to show that we can do things that other [boys] youth can do. If you want to earn your Eagle Scout, work hard and keep going for it. If you make goals, you’ll get towards them if you work hard.”