Buchanan teen becomes one of nation’s first female Eagle Scouts

BUCHANAN — This month, Buchanan teen Emily Long will see her childhood dream come true — a dream she used to think would have been impossible to achieve.

On Feb. 8, Long, 19, will make history as she will be inaugurated as an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America. Part of the BSA LaSalle Council, which serves eight counties in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana, she will be among the first women in the nation to achieve the prestigious rank.

“Earning the rank of Eagle Scout takes hard work and perseverance, and we are honored to recognize Emily for this significant accomplishment,” said LaSalle Council Scout executive, John Cary. “Along the journey to Eagle Scout, young people gain new skills, learn to overcome obstacles and demonstrate leadership among their peers and in their communities. These benefits are invaluable for everyone, and we are thrilled that they are now available to even more youth.”

For Long, the induction will result from years of hard work and striving to achieve a goal once thought impossible.

“This feels good,” Long said. “I’m definitely excited that I got to go through that opportunity. I’m grateful that I had the chance to do something that I have wanted to do for so long.”

For much of its history, BSA was a boys-only organization. Though Long had attended Boys Scouts meetings with her brother when she was young and fallen in love with the organization, she knew she would not be able to join the organization and achieve her dream of becoming an Eagle Scout. Instead, to stay with BSA, Long joined the organization’s co-ed Venturing program when she was 14 years old.

However, two years ago, Long’s luck changed.

On Feb. 1, 2019, the Boy Scouts of America began allowing girls ages 11 to 17 to join all activities, changing the name of its Boy Scouts program to Scouts BSA. The change, which BSA officials said was spurred by parent requests, allows girls to enroll in the BSA program in separate troops than boys.

Once Long was able to join BSA, the race was on for her to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

Eagle Scout is the program’s highest rank, which only about 6 percent of Scouts achieve on average. To earn it, an individual has to take on leadership roles within their troop and their community; earn a minimum of 21 merit badges that cover a broad range of topics including first aid and safety, civics, business and the environment; and they must research, organize and complete a large community service project.

For her Eagle project, Long worked on cleaning out parts of Buchanan’s McCoy Creek to prevent erosion and promote natural water conservation.

Currently, Long studies applied ecology and environmental science at Michigan Technological University. In the future, Long hopes to continue working with the BSA program, hoping to one day guide young people like herself toward achieving Eagle Scout. Until then, she is working toward her Summit rank in the Venturing program. Summit is the highest rank in the Venturing program.

“It’s hard for me to believe that my time as a youth and in a troop is coming to an end,” Long said. “It’s gone by fast, so you need to enjoy it while it lasts.”

Before she is inaugurated as an Eagle Scout next week, Long wanted to impart some advice on other girls hoping to go into the BSA program.

“Just don’t give up,” she said. “There are definitely some hard times to go through and personal growth, but in the end, it’s all worth it, in my opinion.”

Breaking News

Two shot, wounded at Niles hotel

Berrien County

Michigan Works! announces healthcare hiring events

News

Niles Police Log: Feb. 18-25

Edwardsburg

Ontwa Township Edwardsburg Police Log: Feb. 15-22

Dowagiac

SMC graduate experiences Super Bowl

Dowagiac

Dowagiac women aim to create change through local government

Dowagiac

SMC COVID task force leader talks with Dowagiac Rotary Club

Business

Niles roller rink reopens following legal battle

Berrien County

Michigan Works! announces community wide survey to learn about COVID-19’s impact

Cass County

Cass County prepares to adjust to criminal justice reforms

Berrien County

Michiana Family Center seeks mentors for foster teens

Business

Nobo Michigan opens Edwardsburg location

Cassopolis

Businesses battle over land use in Cassopolis’ Industrial Park

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: Feb. 19-24

Berrien County

Mount Calvary Baptist to host COVID-19 vaccination clinic March 5

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien County reports new COVID-19 death

Berrien County

Berrien County Health Department, Spectrum Health Lakeland give vaccination updates

Cass County

Applications open for Cass County Sheriff’s Community Scholarship

Berrien County

Berrien County commissioners send message to state on regionalizing COVID-19 approach

Cass County

Lewis Cass ISD to host superintendent interviews Monday

Cass County

Michigan Works! to open office in Cass County administration building

Business

Dollar General, marijuana microbusiness, Iron Shoe expansion coming to Niles

Dowagiac

Silver Creek Township Planning Commission tables short-term rental ordinance draft vote

News

New SOS online, self-service options coming soon