OAK RIDGE, N.C. — Three Triad teens are now some of the first girls in the country to be Eagle Scouts.
16-year-olds Selby Chipman and Caroline Ruppel and 17-year-old Alex Santiago are a part of all-girl Troop 219G.
"The number one thing that we have learned is many many leadership skills and that will help me no matter what I'm doing whether in my home life or my work life," Alex Santiago said.
All three were involved in the Girl Scouts, but when news broke in 2017 they could join the Boy Scouts, they said they signed up for Scouts BSA, formerly the Boy Scouts of America, instantly.
"I've always loved Scouts my brother was in it. He just recently earned his Eagle," Caroline Ruppel said. "And I've always just thought it was a great way to learn who you are to explore everything about you and to learn about the wilderness and other activities."
Troop 219G was formed on February 1, 2019. And since then Chipman, Ruppel, and Santiago worked towards achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. The three teens did it in less than two years. According to their Scoutmaster Mike Matzinger, it usually takes around 4-5 years.
"I feel like it's a role model and a big responsibility because we get to look at younger girls and we get to inspire younger girls to do things like this too," Selby Chipman said.
In 2019, only 8% of Scouts reached that rank. One needs at least 21 merit badges, a minimum of 6 months as a Life Scout, and completion of a leadership service project.
Selby Chipman led the design and construction of a nature observation platform on the Oak Ridge Mountains-to-Sea Trail for her Eagle Service Project. Alex Santiago started a Blessing Box Free Food Pantry for Hope Chapel in Greensboro. And Caroline Ruppel built a mobile information kiosk for Guilford Battleground Park.
"I had to do it just to prove all the people who did not support girls joining and he did not believe this was something that we should be able to do," Ruppel said.
The teens say they hope other girls will see it's something they can do too with determination and hard work.
"I think my main message is to try it. A lot of people may feel intimidated or scared or something like that but it's really not that bad. we all like to have fun. we really want younger people. we love to teach," Chipman said.
"I think they should come and try it out because even if you're unsure you'll never know if you don't try it out," Santiago said.
All three girls have bright futures ahead of them! Chipman wants to get involved in biomedical engineering or biochemistry. Ruppel wants to become an environmental lawyer. And Santiago wants to become a veterinarian.
Head to www.troop219g.com to find out more information about Troop219G.