Clever's Emily Schmidt made history on Feb. 4, when she became one of the first female scouts in the nation to reach the rank of Eagle Scout.
Some of the country's most notable achievers were Eagle Scouts in their youths. Schmidt and Kailey Smith of Marshfield are the first young women in the Ozark Trails Council, which serves the Springfield region, to attain the rank of Eagle.
“Earning the rank of Eagle Scout takes hard work and perseverance, and we are honored to recognize Kailey and Emily for this significant accomplishment,” said John Feick, Scout Executive of the Ozark Trails 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.”
Schmidt and Smith are both members of Troop 208 in Springfield.
Schmidt's Eagle project was to repaint all the fire hydrants in the city of Clever. The hydrants are now more visible for residents and for Clever firefighters. Because Schmidt conducted her project during a time of stay-at-home orders across Christian County in the spring of 2020, she took her leadership skills virtual and guided herself and some of her assisting fellow youth to complete 45 service hours for her project.
Young women have been part of Scouting for decades in co-ed programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America, including Sea Scouts, Venturing, Exploring and STEM Scouts. Boy Scouts of America expanded its offerings further in recent years by welcoming girls into Cub Scouts and then into Scouts BSA in February 2020. Scouts BSA is the program for youth ages 11-17, previously known as Boy Scouts. Since then, tens of thousands of young women throughout the Ozarks and across the country have joined the organization.
Eagle Scout is the program’s highest rank. Only about 6 percent of scouts achieve the rank. To earn it, an individual has to take on leadership roles within their troop and their community; earn a minimum of 21 merit badges in a broad range of topics and skills, and they must research, organize and complete a large community service project.
In addition to gaining skills that last a lifetime, individuals who earn the esteemed Eagle Scout rank can reference it for academic, vocational, and military recognition, including scholarships and advanced enlistment grade.
The Ozark Trails Council services 31 counties and more than 7,500 youth. The Ozark Trails Council provides the scouting program to young boys and girls starting in Kindergarten all the way until 21 years of age.