PHOENIX — The first-ever class of female Eagle Scouts will be honored and recognized at a national, live-streamed ceremony on Sunday.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank within Scouts BSA, part of the Boy Scouts of America organization. The organization allowed girls to become members in 2019 and then changed its name to Scouts BSA.
"My personal opinion on what the message should be is definitely you belong wherever you want to belong," said Savannah Hafer, 17, an Eagle Scout from Prescott, Arizona.
She told ABC15 that she enjoyed the opportunity to work toward the rank of Eagle Scout.
"It was so much fun having that bond with the other girls going through this and knowing that we're going to become some of the first female Eagle Scouts," Hafer said. "That really, really was wonderful."
The rank of Eagle Scout requires earning 21 merit badges and, at minimum, takes 19 months to achieve.
"I have often found myself as the only woman in a room and doing unexpected things," said Scoutmaster Sarah Sokiveta. "Personally, I've never had a problem with it. I am so excited that this is just one more thing that if you want to do something, we have enabled this to happen."
Another scout from Mesa, Deon Bryant, 18, said she was excited to have the chance to work toward Eagle Scout after participating in another co-ed program within the organization.
"I was dealing with a lot of gentlemen who were like, 'I'm an Eagle, and you're not, you're never going to get there,'" Bryant said. "Then, being able to say, 'I did it too, but I did it quicker'...being able to say that is really awesome."
Bryant told ABC15 she hopes to inspire others.
"That is why I wanted to get my Eagle; to be able to show those younger girls that they can do it too," she said.
Hafer said she believes the first group of female Eagle Scouts sends a message.
"I was always told you're not allowed to and then it opened up and I was like, you know what, 'yes I am," Hafer said. "I'm allowed to be here. I belong here and I can keep up. I can do everything that you can do and I have every right to be here."
The ceremony will be live-streamed on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) at www.scouting.org/bethechange.