Two Girls from Lehigh Valley Among the First in Pennsylvania to Become Eagle Scouts | Local News

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Parkland High School senior Jenaye Saunders has the utmost respect for Girl Scouts, having been a member since she was in first grade.

In fact, 17-year-old Saunders, from Allentown, is working on a project to earn the Gold Award, the organization’s highest rank, which involves building a bee house and ecological information signs at Camel’s. Hump ​​Farm in Bethlehem.

But, while she respects the Girl Scouts as an organization that makes future female leaders, she has always dreamed of joining the Boy Scouts.

“I am the youngest of five and have four older brothers,” Saunders said. “My three older brothers are Eagle Scouts and the youngest is working on his Eagle project.

“I grew up watching them do all of those fun things that I wasn’t allowed to do as a girl, like going on outdoor trips,” she said. “There weren’t really that many opportunities for Girl Scouts to do that.”

So when the Boy Scouts opened their doors to girls in February 2019, changing his name to BSA Scouts, Saunders jumped at the chance to make his dream come true.

Now she is part of a growing list of girls from Pennsylvania who have gone on to become Eagle Scouts, the organization’s highest ranking.

17-year-old Cassidy Feuerstein is also on this list from the Minsi Trails Council, which includes the Lehigh Valley and Poconos.

Like Saunders, the high school student from Pocono Mountain West High School, a member of Troop 97 in Tobyhanna Township, was once a Girl Scout, but she was looking for something else.

“I have always been drawn to the adventure of the outdoors [kayaking, whitewater rafting, rock wall climbing, etc.], which Scouts BSA has more, ”said Feuerstein, who is interested in a career in occupational therapy. She is also a member of the Student Government and the Pocono Mountain West Robotics Team.

Girl Scouts offer similar adventure activities, such as ziplining and sailing, said Kim Fraites-Dow, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania.

“If a girl feels like there are experiences that she would like to have and that she is limited in one way or another, we are very open to working with each girl to find adventure. that she is looking for, and we encourage girls to make the best choices. appropriate and exciting for them, ”said Fraites-Dow.

She congratulated Saunders and Feuerstein for their achievements.

“These girls are doing amazing things, and we are happy for them and proud of their accomplishments,” she said.

Feuerstein grew up volunteering at the Akelaland Cubs’ summer camp in Kunkletown, where his father is the principal, and participated in Venturing, the camp’s outdoor adventure and leadership training program.

This gave him an edge in becoming an Eagle Scout, which typically takes around seven years, from 10 to 17 years old. The girls have done it in just two years since they were allowed to join BSA Scouts.

“She already knew a lot of skills,” said James Feuerstein, Cassidy’s father and scout leader.

A BSA Scout member goes through six ranks before reaching Eagle, learning various skills and how to work as a team, serve their community and become leaders. Becoming an Eagle showcases leadership qualities by requiring Scouts to create, plan, and implement a community service project.

The Saunders Eagle Project involved leading more than 20 fellow Scouts, relatives and friends in painting a mural on the walls of the waiting room at the Sixth Street Homeless Shelter in Allentown.

She and her team started the mural, titled “Outside Magnified,” in April and finished it in June. It is a field of flowers with bees and butterflies, all enlarged to a giant size.

“I came up with the idea because I love the outdoor scenery and wanted to do something else at the shelter,” said Saunders, who is with Troop 519 in Allentown. “I had already done other projects with the Boy Scouts there, such as weeding and cleaning the playground and garden.

Saunders, who is a wrestler and a member of the Parkland Fitness Club and Key Club, is also involved in United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s TeenWorks program. She plans to join the Air Force or the Marines after high school.

Feuerstein completed its Eagle Project in November, designing and installing 17 signage on nature trails at the Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center in Hamilton Township. Signs provide facts about plants, animals, a shale pit, and other features along 2 miles of trails on the center’s 166 acres.

“It was one of two projects I did at the center,” said Feuerstein, who participates in the National Conservation Foundation’s annual Envirothon academic competitions. “The other was restoring a water garden that another Eagle Scout had planted there. This project was for [the Venturing program]. “

Feuerstein spoke at a recent BSA Scout Dinner, describing her learning experiences within the organization as a series of exciting assignments and how she looks forward to the next experience after becoming an Eagle Scout.

She and Saunders, another Venturing participant at a summer camp in Walnutport, will turn 18 in February and November, respectively. They will become leaders and mentors in BSA Scout programs such as the Order of the Arrow and the National Youth Leadership Training.

“Girls are finally able to do everything boys have been doing for over 100 years,” said Becky Essig, Saunders Boy Scout Leader. “I have personally seen some of our girls in Troop 519, who started out as shy young women afraid to try new things, to make friends, to lead or even to express their own opinions, to become some of the strongest and most respected young leaders in our troop. “


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