In February 2019, Boy Scouts of The us, right after 110 several years of boys-only programming, for the to start with time in the organization’s record permitted girls to make the rank of Eagle Scout.
From there, the race was on. And Emerson Domke, then a senior at Mountain Watch High College, was prepared.
Just after plenty of hrs of tricky work, she has come to be 1 of the 1st female Eagle Scouts in the U.S. and the to start with in the Bay Region to move the overview board necessity to gain the rank, according to Michelle McIntyre, spokesperson for the scouting organization’s Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council. An Eagle Scout position is the optimum rating obtainable to youth inside the corporation.
Whilst Domke was new to being element of Scouts BSA — the new identify that Boy Scouts of America adopted after it commenced to acknowledge women in just its ranks — she was by now acquainted with lots of broader elements of scouting. She had been involved with Woman Scouts from 1st by way of 8th grade, worked at a Boy Scout summer time camp, and participated in a co-ed scouting system by way of the White Stag Leadership Academy in Monterey, she mentioned in an job interview.
She made a decision to join BSA for many factors, she mentioned. Domke desired to established an instance and serve as a leader and mentor for youthful woman scouts, who could be far more intimidated when they joined. She also has a amount of male spouse and children customers who are Eagle Scouts, she claimed. But at the time she acquired it would be probable for her to get paid an Eagle position — by conference all of the needs in a mere 19 months, the least volume of time probable — she turned even a lot more fired up about the thought.
“I realized I wished to be a part of once I realized I could access Eagle,” she claimed.
From there, Domke developed a thorough and bold program to make up for lost time — usually, scouts have from about age 11 until eventually their 18th birthday to meet up with the numerous specifications. BSA mandates that each and every Eagle Scout invest six months as a Life Scout, generate 21 merit badges, serve in his or her troop for at the very least 6 months, and complete the notoriously difficult Eagle Scout Services Undertaking, all by or shortly after the scout’s 18th birthday.
The Boy Scouts group had operate for almost 110 many years right before allowing any women in, and coming into an firm with this kind of a potent boys-only tradition as a substantial faculty senior felt unusual at initial, she said.
“You surely stand out as a woman,” she explained. “It is really unquestionably overwhelming if you are not utilized to it.”
But getting the only female, or just one among the a tiny minority of women, was not a thing new for Domke. As an engineering college student, and as a participant on her internationally-aggressive robotics crew, she said she is utilized to remaining outnumbered by boys in functions she liked.
Thankfully, she said, as a younger girl pursuing engineering and robotics she’d felt supported and provided by academics and mentors, which gave her self esteem in signing up for other male-dominated actions.
Being one of a modest minority of female personnel at a Boy Scout summer season camp, the place she was a benefit badge teacher training topics this kind of as pictures and ceramics, also served her get utilized to the dynamics of boy scout troops.
“I truly feel a lot additional cozy than I believe a large amount of my friends are,” she reported.
When asked if she most well-liked Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, she said that it truly is a rough dilemma. She participated in the applications at different ages, and the matters just about every method teaches are unique. Woman Scouts, which she participated in from initially by means of eighth grade, is focused on females empowering young women, though BSA is much more centered on empowerment as a result of the unfold of understanding, she claimed. They’re equal and persons who do each get pleasure from them the two, she reported, but individually, she favors BSA.
It was not considerably into Domke’s scouting journey when a important obstacle emerged: school. Soon after graduating from Mountain View Superior School in 2019, she enrolled at the College of Colorado Boulder to review mechanical engineering. In an energy to manage both equally a rigorous higher education workload and fulfill her accelerated scouting aims, she spent the bulk of last summer season doing the job ahead on the specifications, leaving about the very last 3rd of the work, which includes her Eagle venture, to do this summer season.
For her Eagle Venture, she and volunteers assembled 500 private well being kits for homeless students in the San Jose Faculty District. Every single kit involves a reusable cloth mask, paper mask, hand sanitizer, thermometer, facial tissues, gloves, and a observe with CDC rules, in accordance to a push release. Assembling these kits required arranging about 20 men and women to lead a complete of 160 volunteer hrs — all even though the pandemic and the CZU fires were less than way, Domke said. She explained she experienced to invest quite a few additional several hours organizing COVID-19 basic safety actions and examining in with volunteers to make certain they were being healthier right before they arrived.
Ultimately, she wrapped up the prerequisites about mid- to late-September, she claimed. And when Scouts BSA strategies to announce the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts nationwide in February, Domke explained she is the 1st in the Bay Area to attain the rank.
“Earning the rank of Eagle Scout usually takes tough perform and perseverance, and we are honored to recognize Emerson Domke for this major accomplishment,” mentioned Jason Stein, CEO of the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council of Boy Scouts of The united states, in a assertion. “Alongside the journey to Eagle Scout, young people acquire new capabilities, master to overcome road blocks and show leadership among the their peers and in their communities. These rewards are a must have for every person, and we are thrilled that they are now available to even extra youth.”
Domke mentioned there’s a lot from the software she designs to acquire with her into adulthood. In addition to fond recollections of backpacking and tenting trips in the Sierras and Huge Basin, she said, she values abilities she’s acquired like cooking, camping, getting care of oneself, and figuring out how to prepare a journey.
Her biggest takeaway from the software, she extra, is learning how to make a very long-time period prepare and adhere to it.
Domke claims her scouting times are significantly from about, nevertheless. She has about a yr and fifty percent to hold out right up until she’s 21, at which issue she’ll be aged plenty of to take part in scouting as an grownup leader. The troop she joined continue to maintains different male and feminine leaders for just about every team, although they take part in pursuits collectively. For feminine troops in certain, there has been a scarcity of females to lead vigorous outside outings — and she’s hunting ahead to getting that leader for youthful feminine scouts.
She reported she ideas to continue on to participate in outdoor excursions in close proximity to her higher education in Colorado and proceed to set an case in point of how to thrive in male-dominated spheres.
Whilst Domke may be the initial local feminine Eagle Scout, the rising range of female BSA scouts signifies she will never be the past. Though her troop has about 40 to 50 boys and 17 women, the number of women enrolled now is up substantially, from six about a yr and a 50 percent ago, she stated. The recruitment time period for new scouts ordinarily transpires all-around February.