In October 2020 Sydney Ireland ’23 became part of the first cohort of young women to earn the Eagle Scout rank from the Boy Scouts of America, now called the BSA. Her Eagle Scout project was “Connect a Vet with a Pet.” Here she is, in her own words.
Since I was 4 years old, I wanted to be part of the Boy Scouts. My brother was a Boy Scout. He’s a couple of years older than me, and I followed him around until I was about 11. I unofficially achieved the highest award in the Cub Scouts, which is the younger program of the Boy Scouts, but then I wasn’t able to continue officially. So I wanted to change that.
My family and I wrote resolutions and created a petition. The resolutions got passed by the National Organization for Women—New York City and the New York Presbytery. From there we created a Change.org petition that now has over 10,000 signatures, asking the Boy Scouts to open to young women.
I was young and didn’t really think to join the Girl Scouts, because I’d found a program that I liked, and because I was with my brother. I always wanted to do everything he did. Almost every other country in the world has coed scouting. And the opportunities that come from being in the Boy Scouts are unmatched. The Eagle award opens so many doors.
I had to do two Eagle projects. The Boy Scouts wouldn’t count the first one [because she was not an official Scout when she did the work]. In my district, New York, I’m one of two women in the first cohort.