Who is a female role model in your life? She might be a family member, a friend, or a prominent figure in our society. But sometimes when we talk to the person waiting in line or sitting beside us at the spa, we are surprised by how many inspirational women are all around us.
At Jlounge, we are passionate about supporting women-owned businesses and female trailblazers. We recognize the importance of elevating female voices in our community, which is why we want to highlight the accomplishments of our friend, Emilie Johnson.
Emilie was one of the first women to become an Eagle Scout, which is the highest rank of the Scouts BSA. We had the chance to speak with her about her journey.
Being born a girl was the reason Emilie always believed she couldn’t join Eagle Scouts. It was for boys only and that was something set in stone since the Scout rank was established in 1911. It was clear to Emilie that her journey with the program was ending while her brother had the ability to move up in the ranks.
She watched as her brother packed for a trip with his troop. While he embarked on his thrilling expedition, Emilie and her troop sat inside and made starburst bracelets. It broke her heart to know her brother was on an epic trip to becoming an Eagle Scout while she and her adventurous spirit were left behind.
But the stars aligned just in time for Emilie. In 2019, it was announced that girls were finally permitted to join Scouts BSA (formerly known as the Boy Scouts). Emilie jumped on this opportunity but it was no walk in the park. It takes years of determination, hard work, and service to achieve the prestigious milestone of Eagle Scout. Eagle Scouts have become astronauts, United States Senators, athletes, and CEOs, so it takes an incredible attitude to follow through with the program. Unfortunately, Emilie discovered she was faced with an added challenge that the boys did not have.
There was quite a bit of pushback from the men about women joining. Some men even dropped out of Emilie’s troop. They claimed it took away from the overall experience and the troop dynamic. Emilie recalls one night at Scout Camp many of the men were speaking poorly of the female Scouts. Emilie stood up. She reminded them of the Scout Oath, how they were not following it, and that women have just as much of a right to be there as men do.
With time and an open mind, many of the men stopped doubting Emilie and other women’s participation in Eagle Scouts. In fact, some of the men are now her life-long friends. Eventually, there was a greater overall acceptance and compassion amongst the troop members.
While it’s impressive that Emilie became an Eagle Scout, what might be more notable is her perseverance and courage to stand up for what is right. By speaking up and holding her ground, Emilie showed Scouts BSA that women are just as capable as men.
Emilie’s advice is to do your best anyway. Fight for what you believe in because that’s what makes a change. Don’t be a bystander, and while it’s not going to be easy there are support systems out there so keep trying. Keep going and don’t let other people stop you.
We are motivated by Emile and other women who are going after their dreams no matter the challenge. We hope this inspires you, too!