She wanted to become an Eagle Scout, the highest honor achieved by about 6 percent of Boy Scouts.
She accomplished the rare feat when she completed her Eagle Board of Review on Jan. 13, and along the way, became the first female Eagle Scout from the Dan Beard Council that serves about 23,000 families in 12 regional counties, including Butler.
Call Renee Bauer a trailblazer, a glass-breaker, or a pioneer, though those titles weren’t her driving force.
“I never thought about being the first,” she said. “I didn’t even know that until they told me.”
Bauer, 18, a junior at Oldenburg Academy in Sunman, Ind., will be recognized tonight when the Boy Scouts of America host a virtual celebration for the hundreds of young women across the country part of the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts.
She became the first female Eagle Scout in Troop 1974 chartered to the Nazarene Church in West Chester Twp. just two years after girls were allowed to join the Boy Scouts of America.
To earn an Eagle Ranking, an individual has to take on leadership roles within their troop and community; earn a minimum of 21 merit badges; and research, organize and complete a large community service project.
Bauer earned 51 merit badges and completed her Eagle Project at the American Legion Post 464 in Brookville, Ind. She identified a lack of on-road signage and formed a proposal. She sourced materials, added lighting, and obtained an engraved rock honoring those who have served. She also spruced up the Post’s entrance by adding greenery and rocks to showcase the sign.
The project was dedicated on Sept. 11, 2020.
“Very proud,” she said when asked about her Eagle project.
Two years ago, Bauer was in the Girl Scouts in Indiana and her younger brother, Aaron, was a Scout in a BSA troop there. When Aaron, now 13, attended a Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge Training activity in the Cincinnati Museum Center, he was joined by his sister.
That’s when the family met Ron Bacu, Scoutmaster of Troop 1974. Since there were no female troops near where the Bauers lived, about 50 miles from West Chester, Bacu invited her to join Troop 1974 and her brother to transfer to Troop 974.
Those who want to become Eagle Scouts must achieve the rank before their 18th birthday. But since girls weren’t allowed to join the Boy Scouts until Feb. 1, 2019 when the program became Scouts BSA, they were given a three-month extension to become Eagle Scouts.
In addition to earning her BSA Eagle, she earned the Girl Scouts Gold Award, the highest award offered by the Girl Scouts. So she’s a Golden Eagle, right?
Andy Zahn, scout executive/CEO of the Dan Beard Council, said he respects the opinions of those who believe females shouldn’t be allowed in the Boy Scouts. But he believes the life skills learned though Scouting are “just as important” to young women as they are to young men.
He said the council was honored to recognize Bauer for this “significant accomplishment.”
While Bauer was the first, she won’t be the last female Eagle from Troop 1974, according to Bacu. He said two other females, Delaney Metzger and Sydny Schmidt are on course to became Eagle Scouts this year.
Bacu, 52, involved in Scouting for 20 years, called Bauer “an incredible young lady” and said the troop was “extremely happy she met this milestone.”
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