Buchanan girl becomes one of first ever Eagle Scouts
BUCHANAN, Mich. -- A Berrien County teen has earned the highest honor of Boy Scouts and made history as one of the first young women to do it.
Emily Long’s introduction to the Boy Scouts was watching her older brother grow up in the program and even though there weren’t many opportunities for girls, she still felt a connection.
“When I turned 14, I no longer just had to tag along to his events and I was able to join venturing and do my own scouting,” said Long.
She stuck with Boy Scouts and watched the program evolve with her.
In 2017, the organization allowed girls to join Boy Scouts and eventually its most distinguished ranking, Eagle Scout.
But that takes lots of dedication, specifically through the Eagle Scout project.
“It’s identifying a need in the community and in Emily’s case that was addressing conservation for the creeks and streams,” said John Cary, Scout Executive & CEO at the Boy Scouts of America LaSalle Chapter.
Long chose to try and reverse some of the erosion at a staple in her hometown of Buchanan – McCoy Creek.
“We removed all of the natural and unnatural debris from the creek, without completely changing the ecosystem, so we left a lot of larger trees in the water but just unclogged them so that way instead of the water going around the blockage it went more toward the center,” said Long.
Monday, the hard work all paid off, as she officially joined just a handful of young women marking the inaugural female class of Eagle Scouts.
“Frankly, the Boy Scouts finally made a decision and saw this demand of young ladies, finally opening the door to allow them to have the same advancement opportunities that a young man can receive,” said Cary.
For Emily, she has a mission in all of this.
“To be able to prove that I do have a place here and so many other women, and this is not going away and there will be many more female Eagle Scouts,” said Long.
Long is now studying ecology at Michigan Technological University.