News & Features

Bigfork Teen Will Join Inaugural Female Eagle Scout Class

Gabrielle Thorsen is among hundreds of young women nationwide and only a handful in Montana to reach rank for the first time

For the first time in history, hundreds of young women will become Eagle Scouts with the inaugural class of females, including Gabrielle Thorsen of Bigfork and potentially three others in Montana.

“As soon as Scouts opened for females, I was excited, and I signed up on the first day,” Thorsen, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Swan River School, said. “Scouting has impacted my life in great ways with opportunities for me to learn leadership skills, community service and to work with great people.”

As the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) highest rank, only an average of 6% of Scouts achieve the Eagle Scout status. Scouts must earn at least 21 merit badges covering topics ranging from first aid to community service projects.

For Thorsen’s project, she organized volunteers to sew masks and used a 3D printer to make and donate more than 1,300 masks to essential workers locally and internationally.

“After completing my Eagle Scout project, I felt like some of the masks I donated helped or saved someone that I don’t even know,” Thorsen said. “This project is and was very important and maybe even made a small difference that we don’t notice today but affected someone’s future in some way.”

While BSA has offered co-ed programs for decades, it has recently expanded to welcome girls into Cub Scouts and last February began allowing girls into the Scouts BSA for youths ages 11 to 17, previously known as Boy Scouts. Thousands of young women have started joining state and nationwide to work toward the Eagle Scout rank.

“We are honored to recognize these accomplished young women as the inaugural class and we are immensely proud of each Scout achieving their Eagle,” Montana Council Scout Executive Dirk Smith said. “Eagle Scouts are some of the world’s finest leaders, demonstrating strong ethics and morals and making direct and lasting impacts in their communities. We are thrilled to see these female Scouts BSA members exemplify this adventure.”

The window for boards of review of the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts is from Oct. 1, 2020 to Feb. 8, 2021. All Eagle Scout credentials will be dated Feb. 8, 2021 to commemorate the milestone alongside the recognized “birthday” of the Boy Scouts of America, according to the National Council.

The Montana Council aims to help young people make ethical and moral decisions over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. For more information, visit www.montanabsa.org.

The Boy Scouts of America organization is composed of more than 2.1 million youth members between the ages of 5 and 21 and approximately 800,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.scouting.org.

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