When given the opportunity in 2019, two local teenage girls, Lauren Morley from Mansfield and Felicity Norlin from Attleboro, jumped at the chance to join Scouts BSA. Today, they achieve the highest honor bestowed by the group – the rank of Eagle Scout.

Surrounded by scouting while growing up, Mansfield junior Morley is now the first woman in town to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

“Girls could start joining (BSA Scouts) in February 2019,” said Morley, 17. “After hearing girls could join, I decided I wanted to join because my brother was in the scouts, my dad was a scout leader, and I just saw what they were doing, and I wanted to be involved. .”

Shortly thereafter, in May 2019, Morley, who had been a Girl Scout since she was five, said her troop of Scouts 51 had formed.

As described on its website, “BSA Scouts is the traditional scouting experience for fifth graders through high school. Service, community involvement and leadership development become increasingly important elements of the program as young people pursue their own activities and progress towards the highest rank in Scouting, Eagle Scout.

Shortly after forming his troop, Morley earned the title of Senior Patrol Leader – the sole scout overseeing the needs of other scouts as well as the troop’s overall operations.

“I was basically the founding Senior Patrol Leader, so it was a bit difficult to learn how to lead a troop and train a troop at the same time, but I loved doing it and I love being able to share my opinion .to help give back to the scouts and the troop, Morley said.

She held the position for two years before recently stepping down and passing the job on to someone else as she prepared for Eagle Scout, which involves carrying out a project to benefit a local organization or from the community. For his project, Morley created a pollinator garden at the entrance to the Great Woods Conservation Area, a network of trails in Mansfield.

“I’ve always been very passionate about the environment and what I can do to help, and from the Girl Scouts, I actually know a few people who have helped me with some of the environmental projects I’ve done there, so I kind of reached out and just asked if they had any ideas of what I could do,” she said. “One idea I liked was to start a pollinator garden.

Morley said she and others, including her mother and other scouts and scout leaders, initially carried out between 20 and 30 hours of research into pollinator gardens and the local environment from late March 2021.

“We had to research what plants are native here and what plants go well together, and then what kind of environment is good,” Morley said. “I found all the native plants that would attract more pollinators, like bees and butterflies, to the area. After doing all the research and doing the landscaping plan, it was pretty easy, then it became more manual labor.

“We definitely underestimated how heavy things like the loom were going to be, so it took longer than expected, but I had a lot of help from scouts and my parents, so it worked. went pretty well,” Morley said.

With all planting complete by mid-July 2021, Morley’s 2,000 square foot pollinator garden was complete, and her official Eagle Scout review board was February 8, after which she became Mansfield’s first female Eagle Scout. .

“I’m very proud of myself for all the work I’ve done,” she says. “I got Eagle very quickly. Most of the time it takes people years to do it, but I really wanted to do it at a slightly faster pace.

Along with earning Eagle Scout status, Morley also earned the Girl Scouts’ highest honor.

“Thanks to girl scouting, I won bronze, silver and gold medals. I was the 10th girl to win a gold medal in my city, and for that, I adopted a rule banning the vending of straws,” Morley said. “So I’m both the highest rank of Girl Scouts and I have the highest Girl Scout award, we like to say Golden Eagle, but that’s not official .”

Now Morley, who credits Scouts BSA for helping her develop strong leadership and organizational skills, as well as confidence, said she currently acts as a Troop Guide for Troop 51.

“Basically, for all the new Scouts that join, I’m going to be the one to help them find their place in the troop and learn what Scouting is,” she said.

Morley said she is still looking to earn additional Eagle Palms before she turns 18 and no longer participates in the program.

“In addition to Eagle, if you earn more merit badges you get palms. I believe I have one, but I will work to try to get more merit badges to earn more palms” , she said.

“I just hope to set an example for all the other girls – and even the other boys – in the troupe, just that you can get Eagle, it’s doable, and the girls can do whatever the boys can,” Morley said.

In Attleboro, another Girl Scout, Felicity Norlin, 18, earned an Eagle Scout rank.

Similar to Morley, Norlin was a founding member of his 1846 troupe, joining it when it was first licensed in 2019.

As a scout, Norlin served as quartermaster – the head of troop supply – patrol leader and senior patrol leader, which is the highest leadership position one can hold within of his troop. In these roles, Norlin said she gained both confidence and leadership skills.

When it came time to brainstorm ideas for his Eagle project, Norlin first considered bat boxes, which flying mammals use for roosting.

“I (started) with bat boxes, and when I couldn’t find a mentor who needed it, I moved to see what was needed who could still deliver the same experience” , Norlin said.

She then decided to pursue a project to benefit the Attleboro Land Trust, a voluntary organization dedicated to preserving land and nature and creating walking trails for the local community.

With the help of other scouts and volunteers, Norlin built three large display boards placed at the entrances to the Joseph and Margaret O’Donnell Nature Preserve trails off Bishop Street, Vaughan Memorial Forest and the Colman Preserve , both on Steere Street, in Attleboro. Each sign contains necessary information for visitors to follow, helping to maintain the reserves.

Norlin completed her Project Eagle earlier this year, her favorite part of the experience being the challenge of having to take charge and lead, she said. Shortly after completing his project on March 24, Norlin was officially granted the rank of Eagle.

Although she has now left Scouts BSA, Norlin said she credits the organization with teaching her important lifelong lessons, including the value of giving back to others, and that she intends to continue to be involved with scouts in the future.

“I plan to stay with the troop and work closely with scouts through merit badges, camp, or (even) just saying hello,” Norlin said.