For over 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America taught survival, building and general life skills only to America’s young boys. That all changed last year, however, when the venerable organization rebranded as Scouts BSA, opening the door for girls to become full scouts. When that happened, an Arizona teen leapt at the chance to join her local BSA troop. Now, Victoria Rader is on track to become one of the very first female Eagle Scouts in history.
The former Boy Scouts of America organization had been floating the possibility of allowing girls for a few years before the official change. Back in 2017, the BSA announced plans to admit girls to troops within the next few years.
“The values of Scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women,” Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh said of the announcement. “We strive to bring what our organization does best — developing character and leadership for young people — to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”
When the change went into effect in February of 2019, Rader saw a golden opportunity.
“I was really excited about it,” the 17-year-old told CBS News. “Girls being able to do the same activities, the same merit badges, the same amount of work.”
Eagle Scout is the highest rank a scout can achieve, and requires that they achieve all lower ranks first. Reportedly, only about 6% of scouts achieve the honor.
Rader, however, has completed all the Eagle requirements, including the final community service project. For her project, Rader designed and built a stone bench at Scottsdale’s Pinnacle Peak Trail. Rader led a socially-distanced team of Scouts to complete the bench.
“I wanted to do something in the outdoors and really give back to the community and have something that definitely lasts,” she said. “It’s going to be here for a long time.”
Rader said her time in the Scouts was essential in helping her develop useful life and leadership skills.
“I always try to tell my friends how it’s a great program and it really helps build character,” she told AZFamily. “It shows you how to be a good person and helps me communicate and learn so many things about planning and preparing — and just really getting ready to work with other people in the future and become a leader.”
Rader is set to go before the Scouting board for final approval of her Eagle rank in October.