KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (NewsNation Now) — Hundreds of young women across the country have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, that is the highest honor with the Scouts BSA formally known as Boy Scouts of America. To earn the honor scouts must take on leadership roles, earn a minimum of 21 merit badges and complete a large community service project.
The organization was founded in 1910, but it didn’t accept young women until 2019.
Alyssa Ross, 16, is now among the ranks of female Eagle Scouts. She is the very first in the Great Smoky Mountain Council, which covers most of East Tennessee.
She created a community garden to earn her rank.
“One of the main reasons why I wanted to be an example for all the girls that I mentor,” Ross said. “I love them so much and hopefully I can inspire them to do the same thing.”
Ross said the most challenging part of the journey was teaching herself to shoot a bow and arrow left-handedly.
“It has been a crazy experience. When I started last year on February 1, I honestly could not picture this moment and I was just looking forward to it,” Ross told NewsNation affiliate WATE. “Now that I’m actually here after all the work that we’ve done and everything we’ve been through, it’s so crazy just to think about it.”
Watch her full interview in the player above.