Local Virginia Scout Emma Bazemore, 17, completed her Eagle Scout Service Project earlier this month, putting her on track to join the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts, and become one of the first female Eagle Scouts in the National Capital Area. The eldest of five, Emma watched as her younger brother advanced in Scouting and became an Eagle Scout. When the Boy Scouts of America opened the Scouts BSA program to female members eighteen months ago, she signed up immediately and began her BSA journey.
“Recognizing limited time for me to accomplish my goals, I worked fast to get organized. I was excited to learn more about leadership and to advance in ranks like my brother did,” said Bazemore. Joining Troop 1533G in 2019 not only built Bazemore’s skills in leadership, but also her confidence. “The fact that you interview with adult members of the troop when advancing ranks or earning merit badges really helps to build some confidence as you share what you’ve learned. While each step can feel a little intimidating, you keep going, and it gets easier the more you practice.”
Bazemore credits such experiences in Scouts BSA with developing her confidence as a leader, saying, “The experience I’ve gained from leading a troop of 15 girls gave me the confidence to run for election and become the president of the WT Woodson High School’s choir program for a group of 200 students.”
When asked if she would recommend the Scouts BSA program to other girls, Bazemore responded, “I would say if you like hanging out with other girls, doing hands-on activities, and learning new skills, then Scouting is for you. Girls in our troop go camping, earn merit badges, build new skills, and gain new experiences. Some favorites for me have been emergency first aid and kayaking. If you have the opportunity to join Scouting, I think it’s great. It teaches you about leadership, skills like wilderness survival, and independence.”
To earn her Eagle Scout Award, Bazemore must hold leadership positions in her troop, earn 21 merit badges focusing on important life skills such as first aid, camping, and personal finance, and lead a service project in her community. For her Eagle project, Bazemore organized volunteers from her troop to make snuffle mats and blankets for a local animal shelter, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. The shelter staff requested the snuffle mats because they stimulate dogs’ brains and encourage slower eating habits. She raised money to purchase the supplies and also collected material donations, like dog and cat food, from her troop. As a result of the pandemic, she had to accomplish all of this digitally to maintain social distancing. “Thankfully, it was fairly easy to transition the demonstration of how to make the blankets and snuffle mats online. Although I am not set on a specific career path yet, I am very interested in veterinary medicine, so I wanted to do a project I was both interested in and could tie into my love for animals.”
Less than 5% of Scouts BSA members will achieve the prestigious Eagle Scout Award. Next month she hopes to complete her application and join this select group. This level of achievement is not new to Bazemore, however, as she is also a recipient of the Girl Scouts highest award for Seniors and Ambassadors, the Gold Award, making her one of the first to achieve both titles.
Bazemore will be one of the first female Scouts BSA members to have her Board of Review – a final review and approval of her Eagle Scout application – in October. The Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts will be officially announced in February of 2021.