Putnam County girls to join the first class of female eagle scouts

Published: Mar. 28, 2021 at 6:32 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - When the first all-girl Boy Scouts of America(BSA) troop in Interlachen joined in February 2019, they got straight to work.

Taryn Hoffman-Rocha has earned 137 merit badges, since the historically male organization began accepting women.

“We started earning the merit badges from the beginning as soon as we could start on that,” said Hoffman-Rocha. “The very first weekend we just started.”

Now because of their hard work, six women in troop 394 will be recognized in the National Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts.

Samantha Surratt said it was tough for them at first.

“There were people in the community coming up and telling us ‘oh why are you scouts? Why are you here? you’re not supposed to be here, you’re a female,” said Surratt.

Related story: Gainesville girl sets her Eagle Scout project in stone at UF Children’s Hospital

Despite those odds, they didn’t give up. They have worked on many projects from handmade bat houses, a free library that doubles as a pantry, conservation trail maintenance to remove invasive plants and more.

“The benches behind us are here for the community to come and sit and read books in the shade and kind of like watch as the butterflies fly around the garden in the spring,” said Surratt.

With projects like creating gardens or building benches for the community to enjoy, these ladies have been busy over the past years. They said they’re excited to see the impact they’ll have on the troop of girls to come.

Grace Bunch says being a part of this troop has built her confidence and she hopes it does the same for future troops.

“I hope it shows that women are supposed to be here,” said Bunch. “We are going to keep doing our thing and it’s good for young women to see that.”

The troop will continue a new legacy of paving the way for young women in boy scouts.

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