Female Eagle project

Lily Morse, in uniform, and her crew work on Morse's Eagle Scout project.

Lily Morse, 15, became the first woman to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout last week. Her promotion was part of Long Beach Area Council of Boy Scouts of America becoming a member of the inaugural class of female Eagles. 

In her Eagle Scout application, Morse wrote, "I am truly grateful for the opportunities Scouting has allowed me; I really don't know the person I would be without it.  For example, the hiking merit badge allowed me to trek 23 miles across the Grand Canyon. The cycling merit badge led me to train for a 200-mile bike ride.”

She continued, “Scouting brought me closer to my dad. My Eagle Project challenged me as a leader and communicator. As I've advanced through the ranks and got new badges, I look at my uniform and feel a huge sense of pride, not only that I've become an Eagle Scout, but that I am leading the way for other young women like me.” 

The former Long Beach Polytechnic High School PACE student, joined scouting in February 2019. Her father Greg Morse, who earned Eagle Scout when he was a member of Long Beach Troop 14 in October 1992, exactly 28 years ago, said, “It was the pleasure of a lifetime to work with her on this. Watching her grow as an individual and more importantly a leader throughout this process has been a joy. It truly makes you a better human and citizen.”

Lily continued, “I dreamt of becoming an Eagle Scout, just like my dad, and show myself and other girls that they can do all the same things boys can do.  Morality, the outdoors, leadership and many other parts of Scouts, BSA have no gender."

Eagle requirements include earning 21 merit badges and planning, developing, and leading others in a service project. Morse’s project included leading a group to construct plant tables for the native plant nursery at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy.

Realtor Tessa Luckey Owen, who contributed to the project, said “Lily is a strong, intelligent, independent young woman who has opened a door that has previously been shut to young ladies. Lily is a true role model for girls and female equality in Long Beach and beyond.”

According to assistant scout executive Marc Bonner, “As of today, 30 young men have earned the Eagle this year, 2020, in the Long Beach Area Council. Lily is No. 31. Lily technically earned her Eagle as a Lone Scout, with no girl-Troop in her immediate area.”  

She did participate in a snow camp in the Sierras with Long Beach’s high adventure Troop 212. Scoutmaster John Douglas said, “Lily is one of the best scouts we have ever interacted with. She joined us for a snow backpacking trip — hiking in snowshoes, pitching tents in snow and melting the snow for drinking”.

“Historically, the first two Eagle Scouts in Long Beach, Russell Turrill and George Weese, earned their award in October 1920, exactly 100 years ago. Weese was tragically killed seven years later in 1927 while working for Pacific Electric,” according to council historian Paul Muehlebach.

Scouting officials did note that COVID-19 has impacted Eagle Project reviews and Boards of Reviews have continued throughout the pandemic via Zoom. There have been some delays in Scouts being able to complete their projects and National BSA has granted 6-12 month extensions for Scouts who have been impacted.

Locally, one Scout was actively working on his project near Sturtevant Camp only to see it destroyed in the fire near Mt. Wilson.

To learn more about Long Beach Scouting programs visit longbeachbsa.org.

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