On Thursday morning at 7am EDT, Vienna, VA resident, Katie Hunter, completed her Eagle Board of Review, the final requirement for the rank of Eagle Scout. Eagle Scout is the highest achievement attainable in the Scouts BSA program. Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank. While in the history of Scouting, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by over 2.5 million youth, this candidate is particularly special, because October 1, 2020 is the first day that American girls are eligible to complete Scouting’s highest rank.
Katie Hunter is a 13-year old student at Thoreau Middle School. She joined Scouting in February 2019 as one of the founders of Girls Troop 987, sister Troop of Boys Troop 987, sponsored by Emmanuel Lutheran Church. She and four other area girls, Sarah Johnson, Annelise Sienknecht, Abby Elkowitz, and Victoria Spafford were among the first in the United States to share in Scouting’s adventure. The sister of two other Eagle Scouts, Jeffrey and Jack Hunter, Katie was ready for the challenge. She completed the arduous requirements for the Eagle Rank in 20 months, the minimum possible time, an extraordinary and rare achievement. With the successful completion of the Board of Review, an intensive interview with adult members of the Troop Committee and a District Representative, Katie is poised to be inaugurated as part of the first class of female Eagle Scouts in the country in February 2021.
The Eagle Rank has many requirements, including earning at least 21 merit badges, serving in positions of leadership in the Troop, and the completion of an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. The Eagle Scout must also demonstrate Scout Spirit, an ideal attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. Katie earned 26 merit badges, served at the Senior Patrol Leader of Girls Troop 987 (the highest Scout rank in a Troop), and designed and led a service project at Bailey’s Elementary School in Falls Church, VA, where her mother teaches. With over 285 total hours of effort from the community over two days of work, she led a team of 50 Scouts and adults to beautify the campus by installing 36 planter boxes on the school grounds. Katie supervised construction and placement of 37 garden boxes for Bailey’s Elementary School in Falls Church. They’ll be used for teaching the butterfly and plant lifecycles. It totaled more than 280 hours and three days of volunteers.
Chris Hunter, Katie’s father and the Scoutmaster of Girls Troop 987, said “I am very proud of all of our girls. They have not only founded a new Troop, but they have created a template and a culture for the generations of girls that follow.” He went on to say, “Of course, I’m particularly proud of my daughter, Katie, for this singularly remarkable achievement.”
As to what’s next for Katie, she still has many years of Scouting in front of her, since Scouts are eligible to continue in the program until they turn 18. She plans to complete a trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch, Scouting BSA’s premiere High Adventure Base. Moreover, she hopes that her achievements inspire other girls to follow her example and that some of those girls will join her at Girls Troop 987 (www.troop987.us).