AnnaLyn Cooper of Loxahatchee made history on Dec. 2 when she became one of the nation’s first female Eagle Scouts — a prestigious achievement attained by some of the country’s most noteworthy figures. Cooper is among hundreds of young women who will make up the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts and the first to earn the rank in southeast Florida’s Gulf Stream Council.
“Earning the rank of Eagle Scout takes hard work and perseverance, and we are honored to recognize AnnaLyn for this significant accomplishment,” said Terrence Hamilton, scout executive and CEO of the Gulf Stream Council. “Along the journey to Eagle Scout, young people gain new skills, learn to overcome obstacles and demonstrate leadership among their peers and in their communities. These benefits are invaluable for everyone, and we are thrilled that they are now available to even more youth.”
Young women have been part of scouting for decades in co-ed programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), including Sea Scouts, Venturing, Exploring and STEM Scouts. The BSA expanded that legacy further in recent years by welcoming girls into Cub Scouts and then into Scouts BSA last February. Scouts BSA is the program for youth ages 11 to 17 previously known as Boy Scouts. Since then, tens of thousands of young women have joined the organization’s most iconic program.
“I have had to prove myself to others every step of my scouting journey,” Cooper said. “Not only am I among the first females to join a Scouts BSA troop, but as an Eagle Scout, I consider it my responsibility to be a role model to younger girls and uphold the scouting principles.”
Eagle Scout is the program’s highest rank, which only about 6 percent of Scouts achieve on average. To earn it, an individual has to take on leadership roles within their troop and their community; earn a minimum of 21 merit badges that cover a broad range of topics; and they must research, organize and complete a large community service project.
Cooper’s Eagle Scout Project benefited local nonprofit Horses That Help, an organization dedicated to helping at-risk, foster and special needs children by teaching horsemanship skills, at the same time rehabilitating horses that have been neglected or abused.