BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – At 16, Rebecca DeVoid made history by being part of the first group of girls in the country to earn their Eagle Scout badge.
It was a program intended for boys only, until two years ago when Scouts BSA announced they would welcome girls 11 to 17 years old.
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“It shows me that I can do anything. If I can become an Eagle Scout, what can I not do?” DeVoid said. “I kind of wanted a change, meet more people and do more activities so that’s why I joined the Boy Scouts.”
She’d been a Girl Scout since kindergarten, but she said she wanted to do more. So when the news broke that the organization would allow girls, she signed up.
“When they, the BSA, opened it up to girls it was a no-brainer for me to become scoutmaster, start a troop,” Wayne DeVoid, Rebecca’s father and scoutmaster of BSA Troop 4373 said.
Wayne DeVoid said he’s an Eagle Scout too. The father recalled taking his two girls to Boy Scout meetings and events, adding it’s no easy task to earn an Eagle Scout badge.
“There’s no difference between what the boys are required to do and what the girls are required to do,” Wayne DeVoid said. “It’s very difficult. It’s a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of planning, a lot of learning, a lot of failing but that’s what the program is about.”
Part of the program requires the scouts to develop a community project.
“It really helped me to become a better leader, learn more about myself, about the world,” Rebecca DeVoid said.
She built a 780-gallon rainwater collection system at Erna Nixon Park, a nature preserve in West Melbourne. The four rain barrels installed in the center pavilion help with flooding issues in the park. She also made displays, so the community knows how the system works and how polluted rainwater runoff negatively affects the Indian River Lagoon.
The teen said her accomplishment is a testament to how far she can go.
“Without women, the world would be a very different place,” she said. “Women’s equality, like with the Boy Scouts allowing girls to join it like closed the gap a little bit like what we can and can’t do even with a small thing, I think full equality is on the way.”