Minneapolis teen becomes 1st female in state, 1 of 2 across US, to achieve Boy Scout eagle rank, earn all 137 merit badges

Jessica Miles
Updated: October 02, 2020 06:57 PM
Created: September 30, 2020 07:30 PM

Sixteen-year-old Isabella Tunney joined the Boy Scouts of America, now called Scouts-BSA, on a very historic day for the 110-year-old organization. 

"I've been a scout since Feb. 1, 2019, and that was the first day the girls could join," she shared.

In her quick year and a half, she has spent countless days, weeks and months working toward various badges.

"This is a scuba diving merit badge, just one of the tougher merit badges to earn because you have to earn an open water dive certification, which is the official scuba diving certification, I can actually dive anywhere in the world for the rest of my life," Tunney described.

The colorful patches cover her uniform, acknowledging all the skills and life lessons she's learned from building to welding and white water rafting.

"That one was probably the scariest, I was going through type two rapids on a kayak, it was really frightening," she recalled.

There are 137 total badges to be earned, and Isabella has earned them all, one of just two girls across the country to do so, and something only 460 other eagle scouts have ever done.

"It is so rare a lot of the boys, of those 460 boys that have done it, it took four, five, six years to do it, so this is extremely rare and it's definitely very special," Tunney said.

Her journey has taken her to the White House and Congress, where she gave the Boy Scouts' report to the nation, and a local homeless shelter where she organized a donation drive to collect essentials for families in transition.

It was her eagle scout service project.

"I've learned a lot about myself and a lot about what true work ethic means," Tunney said.

They are experiences she will keep with her forever, a goal she made for herself, stuck to and achieved, paving the way for more girls to do the same.

"I'm just really excited to be able to represent the first class of the inaugural female eagle scouts in such an amazing manner and really show that we are able to do what boys have done for a long time, so I'm really proud to be where I am today," she said. 

"Watching her go through this to get these merit badges and the experiences, it's unmatched, you're not going find that in any other organization," her dad, Edmund Tunney, said.

The Tunney family now has two eagle scouts — Isabella's older brother, Eugene, earned his eagle rank when he was 14 years old.

Isabella said she initially joined Girl Scouts but was jealous of the things her brother was getting to do in Boy Scouts, so when the organization opened to girls, she joined without hesitation.

"For her, she was so determined for this new experience, and to watch her go through it has been just just amazing, I couldn't be prouder," her dad said.

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