Conway teen Diana Ashley made history on October 1, 2020 when she is became one of the nation’s first female Eagle Scouts – a prestigious achievement attained by some of the country’s most noteworthy figures. Diana is among hundreds of young women who will make up the Inaugural Class of female Eagle Scouts.
“Earning the rank of Eagle Scout takes hard work and perseverance, and we are honored to recognize Diana for this significant accomplishment,” said Marcal Young, Scout Executive/CEO of the Quapaw Area Council. “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.”
Young women have been part of Scouting for decades in co-ed programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), including Sea Scouts, Venturing, Exploring and STEM Scouts. The BSA expanded that legacy further in recent years by welcoming girls into Cub Scouts and then into Scouts BSA last February. Scouts BSA is the program for youth ages 11 to 17 previously known as Boy Scouts which offers single-gender troops to either boys or girls. Since then, tens of thousands of young women throughout Arkansas and across the country have joined the organization’s most iconic program with many, including Diana Ashley working their way toward the rank of Eagle Scout.
“I’ve grown up in a Scouting family with both of my older brothers earning the rank of Eagle Scout. I’ve always looked up to them and their Scouting journeys, so when the BSA opened up the program for girls, I realized I had enough time to make it to Eagle before I turned 18. Though the BSA offered me an extension, I was able to complete my Eagle before my 18th birthday. I’m so happy that I was able to accomplish that goal and become a part of this historic inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts.”
Eagle Scout is the program’s highest rank, which only about 6% 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.
Diana led a project to build a fire pit at the First Baptist Church of Conway. It was built to last with a paver stone circle and a screenings foundation. Diana and the volunteers who helped her spent over 175 hours in completion of the project.
In addition to gaining skills that last a lifetime, individuals who earn the esteemed Eagle Scout rank can reference it for academic, vocational, and military recognition, including scholarships and advanced enlistment grade.