By ARDEN BASTIA Morgan Nathan, of Troop 77 Buttonwoods, has made history as a member of the Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America's first female Eagle Scout Class. She is among only a handful of young women nationwide who will make up the
Morgan Nathan, of Troop 77 Buttonwoods, has made history as a member of the Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America’s first female Eagle Scout Class. She is among only a handful of young women nationwide who will make up the Inaugural Class of female Eagle Scouts.
Other members of the Narragansett Council’s female Eagle Scout class include Regina Collura from Troop 2019 in Westport, MA and Abby Schwab from Attleboro, MA.
“I’m very proud and honored to be part of this group,” said Nathan. “We’ve all worked hard to get here. I’m proud of everyone.”
To complete Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts, Nathan organized a donation drive with Crossroads Rhode Island. Nathan and her troop placed door tags throughout the Buttonwoods neighborhood, asking for donation of household items, cleaning supplies, infant care items, and nonperishable food. Nathan received 800 donations, filling her dad’s pickup truck.
She was inspired to help Rhode Island’s homeless population after taking a class her junior year at LaSalle Academy. The class was centered on special, local concerns and focused on RI homeless.
“I wanted to help the community, especially when the pandemic started,” she said. “We collected a lot, I was very happy with it. And the woman I was in correspondence with, she thought it was so awesome and was really excited to help all the people we could help.”
Currently a senior at LaSalle, Nathan plans on studying computer science and cyber security in college.
Nathan first got involved in the Boy Scouts when she tagged along to her older brother’s troop meetings. “I went to the meetings because they were really fun,” she said in an interview on Monday.
Before she was a Boy Scout, Nathan was a Girl Scout until she was 12 years old. She explained that she liked Girl Scouts, but “my troop didn’t meet as often. I stuck with the Boy Scouts because of the family I found in my troop.”
When she was fourteen, Nathan joined the Venture Crew, a co-ed program through the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) that gives youth chances to explore their communities and the outdoors through volunteer projects and other activities.
Nathan joined the BSA in 2018. “I was hesitant at first because I thought I would be pressured into ranking,” she explained. “I thought it would be too stressful and I didn’t think I had time.”
But then, two months after joining, Nathan achieved the first rank of scouting. She was on her way.
“I was very proud of myself and wanted to see how far I could take it,” said Nathan of her accomplishment.
Tim McCandless, CEO of the Narragansett Council, is proud of Nathan and the other female Eagle Scouts.
“For me, it’s all about serving the family better,” he said in an interview. “And this allows us to serve the whole family. All three of them, including Morgan, come from scouting families. They have brothers who are Eagle Scouts or working towards it, their parents are involved scouting volunteers. This allows the sisters, who have been previously left out of the program, to participate fully.”
McCandless said he’s “optimistic” of many more girls joining the BSA. Since February 2019, when all-girl troops were allowed, there have been 21 troops for girls in the Narragansett Council, with two or three more in the process, explained McCandless. “We expect more down the road.”
To other girls who are thinking of joining the BSA, Nathan says, “to try it, even if they’re nervous about it. They might hear from other people that they think it’s ridiculous, but just ignore it. I’ve heard that a lot, and I ignore it.”
Nathan says the memories and the family she has found within her troop are more important to her. Despite the COVID restrictions, she is thankful for the creative ways her troop has been able to meet, usually socially distant at a park or on a hike.
There are currently three active members in Nathan’s troop, but five more will be joining in the spring.
While the COVID pandemic has certainly made scheduling programming a challenge, McCandless actually sees it as a silver lining. “Outdoors is the place to be during COVID, and that’s what we do best. COVID has forced us to do more outdoors than indoors. It’s easy to do indoor meetings, but the kids would much rather be outside. Kids are so pent up right now, there’s a demand to do scouting activities. I think we’re going to see a great resurgence. Scouting is uniquely positioned to get people outdoors.”