TACOMA, WASHINGTON – Nine local teens will be recognized by the Pacific Harbors Council, Boy Scouts of America as part of its inaugural class of Eagle Scouts on February 8, 2021. This once-in- a-lifetime milestone is the result of the countless journeys that make this celebration unique and inspirational.
The young women will be honored in a national telecast to be broadcast on Facebook on Sunday, February 21 at 5:00 p.m. (PST). There will be a local ceremony honoring the young women on Monday, February 8, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at the Creighton Scouting Center located at 4802 So. 19th Street in Tacoma, Washington. February 8 also marks the 111th anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America.
Colleen Fanning, 16
Bethel High School, GPA 3.6
Parents: Christopher & Tracy Fanning Hometown: Roy, WA.
Troop 1932 – Yelm, WA. Chartered by Yelm Lions Club
Colleen’s Eagle Project involved the construction of a bench for use on the main road in Steilacoom known as the “Tunnel of Trees.” The area along Steilacoom Boulevard is part of a long-term municipal environmental improvement program and provides a rest stop for people admiring the newly planted landscape along an adjacent trail. The Tunnel of Trees project includes new utilities, sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides of the street, storm water improvements, and a new asphalt roadway. Colleen says the bench will allow people to take a break after hiking through the area.
Plans on attending college and pursuing a career as a linguist.
Allison Hilliker, 19
W.F. West High School, GPA 3.65
Parents: Rich & Hollie Hilliker
Hometown: Chehalis, WA.
Troop 9373 Chehalis, WA. Chartered by Twin Cities Rotary Club-
Allison’s Eagle Project was to create 100 toiletry kits for teens in foster care, something which children in foster care desperately need. Her toiletry kits included hygiene essentials such as bars of soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and others like scrunchies or washcloths, among a few other items. This allows the teens to have their own toiletries when transitioning between homes.
She is currently enrolled at Centralia College and plans on transferring to Washington State University to major in communications.
Amy Miseli, 17
Lakes High School, GPA 3.9
Parents: Jason & Charlene Miseli
Hometown: Tacoma, WA. Troop 216G
Chartered by St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by The Narrows.
Amy’s project was to renovate a playroom for the Tillicum Youth and Family Center, which provides tutoring, snacks, community meals, a healthy environment and strong sense of self to kids who would otherwise have nowhere to go after school and on the weekends. It supports the community of Tillicum – one of the poorest communities in the state.
Amy is applying to the military academies and college ROTC programs. She is interested in the military as a career.
Brianna Powe, 17
W.F. West High School. GPA 3.601
Parents: Brad & Julie Powe
Hometown: Centralia, WA.
Troop 9373 Chehalis, WA. Chartered by Twin Cities Rotary Club
Her Eagle Project was installing a new flagpole at historic Fern Hill Cemetery and the cleaning of the cemetery headstones. She was aided by her family and her Scouts BSA troop. “The goal was to brighten up the cemetery and draw people back to it,” said Brianna. The cemetery dates back to 1885 and many Lewis County pioneers have their final resting place here.
She is a Running Start student at Centralia College. She plans on becoming a teacher.
Kaitlin Riggan, 19
Tacoma Science & Math Institute, GPA 4.0
Parents: Rob & Christine Riggan
Hometown: Tacoma, WA. Troop 216 Tacoma Chartered by St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by The Narrows.
Kaitlin’s project consisted of designing and constructing a custom greenhouse for the Franklin Park Community Garden in Tacoma. This greenhouse was specially designed to meet the unique needs of the garden. The greenhouse will be used to provide a healthy growing environment for the garden’s vegetable starts. The garden also consistently donates fresh produce to local food banks, so the greenhouse will provide an environment for these vegetables to grow as well.
She is attending the University of Puget Sound, majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Kaitlin’s career objective; Science Journalist, Bioethicist
Allie Smith, 15
Bonney Lake High School, GPA 4.0
Parents: Kami & Alex Smith
Hometown: Bonney Lake, WA.
Troop 525G, Edgewood, WA.
Chartered by Mountain View Lutheran Church
At Midtown Park in Bonney Lake, Allie fixed up and redid a trail that was part of the previous trail system that had become overgrown and disorganized. Part of the work included widening the walkway, spreading bark and adding signage.
Brigham Young University; Pre-Law. Allie plans on becoming a lawyer.
Tayler Thomas, 17
Yelm High School Parents: Josh & Lisa Thomas
Hometown: Yelm, WA. Troop 1932 – Yelm, WA. Chartered by Yelm Lions Club
Tayler’s Eagle Project was to create several sensory tables for the Yelm Learning Tree pre-school. The school needed additional tables to support the growing student enrollment and to follow social distancing guidelines. The tables are constructed for outside use so that children will have a place to play while the indoor classroom is being cleared for other activities.
Tayler has her eyes set on college and becoming a military nurse in the U.S. Air Force.
Emily Turbeville, 15
Yelm High School Parent: Julie Turbeville Hometown: Rainier, WA. Troop 1932 – Yelm, WA. Chartered by Yelm Lions Club
Emily’s Eagle Project was to construct a pinwheel obstacle course for the use of veterans at the Hope for Heroes Horsemanship Center. The horses are used as therapy to help military vets with PTSD.
Emily plans on going to college to become a nurse or veterinarian.
Mackenzie Ward, 18
Spanaway Lake HS, GPA 3.99
Parents: Wayne & Lisa Ward
Hometown: Tacoma, WA. Troop 692 Summit, WA. Chartered by: Summit- Parkland Youth Association
Ward built and installed several dog agility course obstacles at Meridian Habitat Park on Puyallup’s South Hill. Meridian is one of the only dog parks in the area that has dog agility features. This obstacle course will benefit all dog lovers who bring their pets to work out at the park.
She currently attends Montana State University studying chemical engineering.
The Scouts Speak
“Scouting has taught me many valuable life skills that I believe everyone should have. I have learned how to act in a professional manner, contact people, and organize events. There have been many leadership camps that I have attended, in which I learned how to be a servant leader and reaching out to the people who I am leading. My appreciation for nature and the outdoors has also grown tenfold. I was able to get the hiking and backpacking merit badges, which meant I spent a whole summer camping and hiking around Western Washington, and during that time I saw some incredible sights and got to live in the woods for days on end. In doing that, it has made me want to protect the outdoors.”Allie Smith, Troop 525 Edgewood
To know that I got to accomplish what so many other girls dreamed of doing before girls could be in Scouts BSA is just absolutely amazing and I will make them proud.Emily Turbeville, Troop 1932, Yelm
“I joined Scouting because of my brothers. Scouting is a large part of my family while I was growing up and I quickly got involved when there was an option for girls in my community. When Scouts BSA started including girls, I jumped at the opportunity to rise in the ranks alongside my younger brothers and be a positive role model for young girls.”Allison Hilliker, Troop 373 Chehalis
“Becoming an Eagle Scout to me means that I have lifelong values, lifelong friends, and lifelong lessons to carry with me.”Amy Miseli, Troop 216G Tacoma
“The true value of scouting is not summed up by earning a bunch of merit badges or awards but by the journey that gets you there. I learned a lot from Scouts that I never expected to. Now that I have become an Eagle Scout, it means that all of the work I put into scheduling and completing hikes, campouts, swims, and many other events has paid off.”Mackenzie Ward, Troop 692 Summit
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who made it possible for females to enter into Scouts. It is an amazing opportunity to learn leadership skills, good morals, and how to work with one another. Although there were some pretty rough campouts, they made the best memories.”Briana Powe, Troop 9373 Chehalis
Eagle Projects Benefit Southern Puget Sound Region
Community projects are part of the requirement of earning the Eagle Rank. Some would argue it is the most difficult task to accomplish. Eagle Scout service projects must be evaluated primarily on impact—the extent of benefit to the religious institution, school, or community, and on the leadership provided by the candidate. There must also be evidence of planning and development.
During 2020, Scouts and adult volunteers contributed nearly 10,000 hours of volunteer time to support 76 community projects in the South Sound. These included food, shelter and healthy living projects, among others.
“This is what we do,” said Karen Meier, Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Harbors Council. “Eagle Scouts give back to our communities in many different ways because they learn and understand the value of community service and the type of character it takes to be an effective leader and an agent of positive and constructive change. They do this with honor and integrity. This is our task and our privilege to teach them these attributes.”
The Challenges of Becoming an Eagle Scout
The young women are part of the Pacific Harbors Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which includes Lewis, Thurston, Grays Harbor, Pierce and Southern King Counties. In 2019, 251 local Scouts earned the coveted Eagle Rank in the South Sound area. About 150 are expected to do so in 2020 because of decreased activity due to the pandemic. Eagle Scout is the highest achievement and rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process. The Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2.5 million young people.
Scouts BSA opened membership to girls in 2017. During the first 12 months that membership opened, 120,000 young women joined.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is a valuable experience that’ll lead to numerous benefits for the recipient. These include lifelong friendships, increased confidence, and leadership experience. Eagle Scouts will also have a competitive advantage in college admissions, job applications, and military service.
A Rigorous Program
To get there, the candidates needed to earn 21 different merit badges. They needed to work hard to advance from Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and on to Life Scout. They needed to demonstrate camping skills, leadership, environmental responsibility, first aid, citizenship and family responsibility, among other qualities. (Earning merit badges may influence a future vocation). The Scouts need to demonstrate that they are trustworthy, reverent and of good moral character. And they had to have outstanding community, scholastic and Scouting references.
“These young leaders should be commended for their hard work and sacrifice in attaining this coveted goal,” said Meier, who, herself is the first female CEO in the Council’s more than 100- year history. “We should applaud all Scouts, regardless of gender or ability, for their accomplishments in a very difficult environment and to make a difference in all the communities we serve,” she said.
“Eagle Scouts show us we can overcome any hurdle we encounter. Our responsibility is to continue to teach our young people the value of servant leadership in making our communities better places to live. It is about truth, honor, partnerships, critical thinking, planning, respect and hard work. These are the values of strong communities. These are the values of Scouting,” said Meier.
In their journey to Eagle, the Scouts were exposed to many valuable experiences such as:
- Learning valuable morals and life-lessons alongside friends, as they work together to overcome challenges.
- Serving as a leader within their troop by taking charge of a patrol.
- Learning to independently plan itineraries for campouts, backpacking trips, and troop excursions.
- Competing as a unit against other troops in exhilarating, large-scale scout camporees.
- Coordinating and leading a large-scale volunteer project for the betterment of their community (An Eagle Project).
- Involving themselves in service, by volunteering with local organizations and making valuable connections with community leaders.
The Pacific Harbors Council of the Boy Scouts of America supports Scouting Units across the South Sound from Federal Way to Centralia and from the Washington Coast to the Cascade foothills. This includes, Cub Scouts, Venture Scouts, Scouts BSA, Sea Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Nearly 4,000 young people participate in Scouting locally. The Mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. For more information on Scouting go to: beascout.org