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Las Cruces’ first female Boy Scout to earn Eagle Scout rank

Las Cruces scout Valerie del Plain has completed her final project as she works toward becoming an Eagle Scout. (Las Cruces Sun-News)

LAS CRUCES – Las Cruces is about to see its first female Boy Scout receive her Eagle Scout award after completing her final project.

Valerie del Plain is one step closer to receiving the highest award in the BSA, the Eagle Scout award, just two years after the program – traditionally a boys-only program – began allowing girls into the program.bright spot

“Our troop has only been here for two years. We are the first female troop in Las Cruces, and this is our first female that is going to earn her Eagle Award,” said Alejandra del Plain, scoutmaster of Troop 934 and Valerie’s mother.

“We’re just really proud of our scout, our female scout. She’s worked so hard to get to this point,” Alejandra said.

The Boy Scouts of America officially dropped the word “boy” from the name of its signature program for a gender-neutral name, Scouts BSA.

Since 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has been known simply as the Boy Scouts, and only allowed boys in its ranks. That changed in 2018, when the organization changed its name and announced it would allow girls into troops beginning in 2019.

“I’ve been working to get my ‘Eagle’ since girls were allowed into the Boy Scout program in February of 2019, so it’s been a lot of working getting here – and I can’t believe it’s actually here,” Valerie said, while completing her Eagle Scout project on Saturday.

“I was part of Girl Scouts in kindergarten, and both of my brothers were in the Scout program. They’re both Eagles, so the day they finally said, ‘girls can join the program,’ I was really excited to get my Eagle, and to be a part of scouts just like my brothers were,” she said.

The program for older boys and girls is largely divided along gender lines, with single-sex units pursuing the same types of activities, earning the same array of merit badges and having the same potential pathway to the coveted Eagle Scout award, according to the Associated Press.

Valerie’s project consisted of cleaning off graves at Hillcrest Cemetery in Las Cruces and taking pictures of the headstones so they can use an app to log those photos for people to look up their ancestors.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Valerie said. “I didn’t really think I’d be the only one. I’m excited for girls to come see that it’s definitely possible for them to do it, too.”

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