We love seeing Latinas prove that they can do anything that men and boys can do. Many young Latinas are inspired to be the change they want to see in the world. After the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that girls could join the program in 2019, Celeste Rios from Sylmar in Los Angeles jumped at the opportunity. As of this past Friday, a now 18-year-old Rios has become the first girl to achieve Eagle Scout rank in the 76 year history of Sylmar Boy Scouts Troop 94. She found out girls could join in Dec. 2019 because her brother was in the pack, she told the local ABC Eyewitness News. Having joined at 14 years old, Rios had less than four years to achieve Eagle Scout and was originally one of the only three girls in Sylmar BSA Troop 94.
“Earning Eagle meant to me that I was now able to face the world as an adult who has all the skills and tools necessary for success,” she told the San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol.
There are seven Boy Scout ranks, with the last three being more leadership-based roles: Scout, Tenderfoot, First Class, Second Class, Star, Life, & Eagle, Rios explained to ABC. After three and a half years of hard work and dedication, Rios, who earned a total of 43 merit badges, was finally honored with the Eagle Scout title. Many girls have tried to join the BSA in the past but were turned away and advised to join the Girl Scouts of America instead, so this is a huge win for our future youth and what they can achieve in their childhood. When she joined the troop, she was the third female and now there are seven.
“I’ve heard stories about girls who wanted to join, but weren’t able to. And now that she was able to join and reach Eagle Scout, there’s a lot of pride in that,” Rios’ brother Juan told ABC.
Despite balancing college applications and completing her merit badges, Rios was able to complete her Eagle project, which consisted of building an eco-friendly garden at her local high school, graduate from Saugus High School. In the future Rios hopes to take on a leadership role and inspire more young Latinas to join the BSA. She’s also majoring in biology at California State University Northridge and is passionate about preserving and protecting the environment.
“I hope to eventually work doing research in our national parks or with the state [doing] conservation work, like for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife,” Rios told the SFV Sun. “I always like just being outside, and I would really like to [help maintain] our environment, to make sure it’s still available for the future generations.”