HONOLULU (KHON) — It has been 111 years since the inception of the Boys Scouts of America, but in 2019 the organization integrated girls into its curriculum, allowing them to become eligible to earn the rank of Eagle Scout — the organization’s highest rank.
The organization will honor its first female Eagle Scouts on Sunday, two of which come from Hawaii’s local council.
Larissa Obeginski from Guam and Kimi Nelson from Oahu are part of the nearly 600 female members of the Aloha Council Boy Scouts of America.
“We are finally joining what most of the world actually has is integrated scouting programs,” says Nelson, soon-to-be Eagle Scout.
“When we think about segregation and what that would be like today, it’s so hard to think that we could think that was OK back then,” she continued. “I think this will be like that in the future.”
Nelson joined the Aloha Council in February 2019, when the Boy Scouts integrated girls within its curriculum. She will soon earn the coveted Eagle Scout rank.
“Just around 2% of all scouting members reach the rank of Eagle, so it’s a very small margin,” says Jesse Lopez, scouting executive for the Aloha Council of the Boys Scouts of America.
“Those that do accomplish that task or goal of becoming Eagle, it shows a lot of focus, a lot of dedication,” Lopez said. “So, we’re very proud of Larissa and we are very proud of Kimi for their accomplishment.”
Kimi will join her father and brother in the family nest of Eagles at the age of 15 after two years of earning more than 21 merit badges and building an 85-foot-long sidewalk at Tripler Fisher House.
“We have a phrase, ‘once an eagle, always an eagle,’ which is to say that the skills that you’ve learned and the people you’ve made connections with, you’ll know them and you’ll be able to use those skills throughout your entire life, not just the next 15 years,” Nelson said.
The virtual inauguration takes place Sunday at 3 p.m. on Facebook; you can watch the celebration here.
For more information on the Aloha Council of the Boys Scouts of America, click here.