Boy Scouts who have reached the rank of Eagle Scout are part of a very exclusive club, with only six percent of scouts ever reaching that level. But two New York City teens have joined an even more exclusive club within that rank.
They among the first-ever girls to become Eagle Scouts, breaking a barrier that has been around for more than 100 years. Before now, no girls had even gotten a chance.
"Definitely going into the program — there's a girl, she's new, probably won't make it," Beatrix Bisceglia said of what others said of her when she joined the Boy Scouts. "And now I'm Eagle before a lot of the boys in my troop, which is kind of ironic."
Bisceglia and troopmate Sydney Ireland, both from Manhattan, will stand before the Eagle Scout review board Thursday — and make history. The 2020 class of Eagle Scouts will be the first to include girls.
"It just means a lot to be part of a program that can see young boys and girls equally and give us both these stepping stools of life," Bisceglia said. The 16-year-old has been working for this since female troops were first allowed to join the Boy Scouts in 2019. She's used to being underestimated, but now she wants to show other young women what they can achieve.
"When the girls come in, kind of frightened, they're just like, 'I don't know what I'm getting myself into," Bisceglia said.
After climbing six ranks, the teen spent 200 hours on her Eagle project, making hand-sewn masks for a Lower East Side church. She said she got the idea after trying to think of something that "right now can directly impact my community."
The Boy Scouts of America says the number of female troops is growing, with 10 now in the New York City area. Bisceglia and Ireland served as pioneers for others who wish to follow in their footsteps.
"The first two of what will no doubt be more Eagle Scouts to come down the road," the organization's Joe Schiltz said.
For now, Bisceglia is proud of her accomplishment, and is happy to follow in the footsteps of her father and brother — both Eagle Scouts as well.
"I'm proud of myself and I know my family is too. To break this glass ceiling along with other girls across the country and finish," she said.