By Kayla Holt
Denton: Ellie Tong has become the first girl in Denton to earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout since the Boy Scouts of America began allowing girls to join in 2019.
According to the Longhorn Council’s website, “Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America. Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process.” At just age 12, Elle Tong is among the 2.5 million youth who have achieved such status. Elle was inspired to join the organization from watching her older brother be a cub scout and being invited to their meetings.
When asked what made her want to be a part of the organization, Elle stated, “Well the first thing was I saw how much he was having fun with all of his friends and how much other people were having fun. I used to always join him at campouts and join him in activities that his troop used to do, so I wanted to see what it was like to do it and once I joined I just really got into it, I really wanted to continue.”
Once initiated into the organization, it took Elle two years to move through the scout ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life, before achieving an Eagle ranking. Elle endured a lot of hard work and preparation as she prepared to present her final Eagle Scout Project to her scoutmaster and the Committee Chair for approval. Her project consisted of making four benches for the Crownover Middle School tennis court. Elle recalls construction taking close to 9 hours to complete.
Elle has goals of becoming a doctor and believes that her scouting and the process of achieving Eagle Scout has prepared her for her future. She mentions that learning how to take care of herself and taking care of others if someone encounters an injury will be a helpful skill for her future career choice. Elle is seen as a role model for the other girls in her troop as she encourages them in their journey of moving through the ranks.
Her family is very proud of her accomplishments as well as the values that the Scouts BSA has instilled in their kids. Mr. Tong states, “The requirements help them, I feel like it's something that builds character, confidence in them, and so I wanted that in my children.” Elle is among several other young females to achieve Eagle Scout ranking and is a part of the Inaugural Class of the Longhorn Council Female Eagle Scouts. A virtual celebration was broadcasted online where the Eagle Scouts were initiated, along with guest speakers honoring the scouts and issuing words of encouragement and personal stories.
The celebration can be viewed at https://www.longhorncouncil.org/inaugural-class-of-female-eagle-scouts/.