Kaitlyn Brown Earns the Title of the Area’s First Female Eagle Scout

by | Apr 2023

SOPHOMORE KAITLYN Brown is paving the way for young girls in the local Scouting community. In 2019, she joined Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 1581. Her membership came after a nationwide inclusion of girls that started with the Cub Scout program in early 2018. In May 2018, the National Executive Board announced, as of February 1, 2019, girls would be able to join Scouts BSA, officially paving a trail to Eagle Scouts for girls.

Following her membership with Troop 1581, Brown became the first Eagle Scout in her troop and the first female Eagle Scout in the Elk River District of the Middle Tennessee Council Scouts BSA. She is also the first female Elk River District member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national camping honor society.

Being a Scout was something that ran in the family with her father and brother both participating as Scouts and achieving Eagle Scout rank. It was something that also captured Brown’s interest. 

“My brother was in Cub Scouts, and I would go on outings with him,” said Brown. “I wanted to join, but girls weren’t allowed at that time. When I got the chance to join Scouts BSA in 2019, I immediately joined. I enjoy all the things that we can do through Scouting, such as outings, camping, canoeing, and a lot of opportunities to earn badges.”

To add to her credit, she achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in under three years. She has also earned over 50 merit badges, including all 21 Eagle-required badges and additional elective badges focusing on her areas of interest. She has earned five Eagle Palms to date, which are bronze, gold, and silver awards presented to young men and women for each additional set of five merit badges beyond the 21 required to become an Eagle Scout, along with continued leadership and activity requirements. She continues seeking opportunities of interest to further her knowledge and experience as she earns additional merit badges and Eagle Palms.

It’s important to note that it isn’t easy to become an Eagle Scout. According to the BSA, becoming an Eagle Scout is a rigorous process. A candidate has to earn 21 merit badges varying in subject from first aid to business, assume leadership roles, and execute a large community service project. All of this has to be done before turning 18. The BSA website states that because of the difficult requirements, only six percent of Boy Scouts worldwide become Eagle Scouts, BSA. 

Participating in several projects as a Scout, Brown said that one of her proudest moments was completing a Sensory Trail Communications Board for Horse Play Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization offering horseback riding opportunities to individuals with special needs.

For the project, Brown designed a board that contained laser-cut wooden graphics that were hand-painted and epoxy covered. The graphics were attached to metal trays that were magnetically mounted to the board. According to Brown, the shapes allowed non-verbal students to make choices and communicate what activities they would like to participate in.

“It was so good just to see them using it and enjoying it. They now had the freedom to pick what they would like to do and not have to repeat the same activities. [Having] that freedom to choose — I think we take that for granted.”

Brown and her fellow volunteers also designed the trays to be easily changed, moved, or removed for off-season storage.

Brown has no plans to slow down in her Scouting journey. She has served in various roles in her troop, including senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, chaplain’s aid, and Order of the Arrow (OA) Chapter Secretary. She currently presides as OA Representative in Troop 1581. She is also the Elk River OA Chapter Vice Chief and E-News Coordinator for the Wa-Hi-Nasa Lodge for OA for the Middle Tennessee Council.

She hopes to inspire other females to join and make a difference. 

“It feels good, and it just makes me want to encourage more girls to join,” said Brown. In fact, Troop 1581 in Tullahoma has grown to 14 Scouts after starting with just four in 2019 under the leadership of Scoutmaster Elaine Posanka. Unequivocally, Brown encourages other young women with this admonition. “It’s challenging but worth it. You can do many great things and make many friends and relationships.” GN

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