On the 111th birthday of Scouting in America, we like to recognize a member of the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts, Lauren Swenson-Lennox. Lauren earned her Eagle from Troop 998G of Pleasanton back in October. However, all members of the Inaugural Class of Female Eagles will share February 8, 2021 as their official date. She is currently a student at Foothill High School and plans on studying sociology upon graduation.
Tell us a little bit about you…
I live in Pleasanton, California, and I’m a senior at Foothill High School. Next year, I plan to go to a 4-year university in California to study sociology.
I have always been very involved in extracurriculars. My favorites include dance (I do a variety of styles for a competition team, and I am the captain of my school’s team this year), writers’ club (I enjoy writing poetry), DAJA (A criminal justice program I am a part of), Scouts (of course), and various sports I have done throughout the years such as ice hockey, lacrosse, and gymnastics.
There are several members of my family involved in Scouting besides me. My Dad, my two brothers, and my younger sister all participate in, or have participated in, Scouting. My oldest brother and my Dad have always achieved the rank of Eagle.
When and where do you earn your Eagle Scout?
I earned my Eagle on October 30th, 2020 at 17 years old from Troop 998G in Pleasanton, Calif.
Any female who completed their Eagle boards of review between October 1, 2020 and February 8, 2021 is considered apart of the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts. As such, all inaugural Eagle Scout credentials will be dated February 8, 2021 to commemorate this milestone.
What did you do for your Eagle Project?
I built two free-standing wooden benches for Hart Middle School’s PE department.
Did you have a favorite merit badge(s)? Did any merit badges(s) lead to a hobby or profession?
My two favorite merit badges were shotgun and theater, both of which I completed at Camp Royaneh. With the exception of a couple, I enjoyed doing the majority of the merit badges. I loved learning new skills and being exposed to a wide variety of topics.
I wouldn’t say Citizenship in the World led to a hobby or profession, but it did fit nicely with my Human Geography class, which is one of reasons I knew I wanted to study sociology
Do you recall an experience or situation that being or becoming an Eagle Scout aided you in?
Completing the project has instilled greater confidence in my leadership abilities. I am now more comfortable being a leader in other areas of my life. I wasn’t particularly lacking confidence before, but I simply had no practice or any opportunity to be a leader. Now, with that practice, I’ve become a better leader in school in extracurriculars, and in Scouting. Completing the rank of Eagle gave me the push to become even more involved, and to take charge on projects I may have shied away from or passed on to someone else before. For example, I organized an in-person meeting during COVID-19 (with safety precautions and following all guidelines) to help Scouts complete requirements that are hard to do remotely, such as lashings and campfire building. Meeting in person allowed new Scouts to finally have an in-person interaction with Scouting, start making progress, and become more involved in the Scouting community. For older Scouts, it gave them a chance to finish off the last few requirements standing in their way to advancement. Organizing and leading this meeting was the first time I felt completely confident in my ability to do so, and it was because I had the wonderful experience of achieving Eagle under my belt. Organizing and leading this meeting may not seem like much, but it is something I wouldn’t have done before leading my Eagle project.
Do you have any advice for your fellow Eagles, or for those working towards becoming an Eagle? Or is there common advice that you think should be ignored?
Opportunities like this are rare, and the process of becoming an Eagle Scout can teach you a lot. I encourage everyone to consider it; However, I also want to stress that it is a lot of work and a big commitment and that one should only undertake it if they feel it is something that will bring them joy or add something meaningful to their life. It’s not worth it if you spend the whole time hating it, being stressed out by it, or cheating through it to put it on a resume. Becoming an Eagle can be meaningful and worthwhile, just maybe not for everyone.
The second piece of advice is that you shouldn’t feel pressured to get your Eagle. Eagle isn’t the end of one’s Scouting journey, nor should it be the goal behind one’s entire time in Scouts. Scouting can be meaningful without attaining your Eagle, and, as I said above, make sure that becoming an Eagle Scout is right for you and your situation.
That being said, for those who want to attain Eagle, don’t give up. It’s going to get tedious, and frustrating, and hard. But, if it is something you want then you have to push through because the rewards and benefits are worth it.
Lastly, take the opportunity for your Eagle project to learn something new. My project involved wood-working, a subject I could say very little about previously. Your Eagle project is a great way to learn a new skill.
If you could add a thirteenth point to the scout law, what would it be?
Hard-working. It is one of my most valued traits, and I truly believe that hard work can get one to amazing places.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?
Being in BSA Scouts has been an amazing time in my life. It has opened up countless opportunities to try new things and to grow. There are several things I did in Scouting I never would have done outside of it like writing and directing an eight minute play, shooting a shotgun, and going on a backpacking trip.
Scouting has also given me access to a wonderful community of people who are determined, supportive, and amazing, all in their own ways. I feel so lucky to have met the people I have and to have gotten a chance to work with them, grow with them, and laugh with them.
I’m so grateful for everything Scouting has added to my life.