Halen DeMattei and Betsy Chapeau watched their brothers Jet and Charlie join Cub Scouts in first grade and advance through Scouting’s ranks, while they tagged along for the adventures.
“I did everything that Charlie did and it was so much fun,” Betsy says. “I never really got any credit for it.”
When the BSA opened all of its programs to young women in 2019, the friends became members of Troop 5300 in Watkinsville, Ga., within a week of the Scouts BSA launch day. They were excited they too could earn merit badges, learn leadership skills and go on outdoor adventures — officially, as Scouts.
A Scout’s success often relies on his or her support system. For Halen and Betsy, they have great support, especially from their brothers.
After Cub Scouting, Jet DeMattei, now 15, joined Troop 1 in Athens, Ga. He wanted to continue his Scouting journey by going camping and mastering wilderness skills. He has learned so much more with Troop 1.
“We all worked to help each other, and I learned a lot about teamwork, leadership and accountability,” Jet says. “My mom joined as my troop leader, and we got to do many things together with my entire family.”
When his younger sister joined, he was able to put those collaborative skills into practice. They pushed each other to advance, cheering each other on and often discussing their progress.
“We learned a lot from each other,” Jet says. “It helped bring us closer together as a brother and sister, and I am grateful she was able to join me in Scouting.”
Halen, 14, is grateful not only for her brother, who inspired her to join Scouts, but for Scouting as it taught her leadership, citizenship and teamwork. It also gave her family the chance to spend time together outdoors and serve their community.
“It has changed our family’s lives forever,” Halen says.
Charlie, who is also a member of Troop 1, helped his sister Betsy, 13, as well as other Scouts in Troop 5300.
“He always went over everything with me before each Scoutmaster conference and quizzed me,” Betsy says. “Charlie helped me to Be Prepared. He is always there to help any member of my troop when needed. He is our go-to person before we ask an adult.”
Both troops helped each other. For Charlie’s Eagle Scout project, he collected musical instruments to donate to his middle school band, so students who couldn’t afford to buy one would have one — Troop 5300 collected instruments, too.
Halen and Betsy are among nearly 1,000 other young women from across the country who are part of the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts.
“I am proud and grateful for this opportunity to be in the very first group of girl Eagle Scouts, which I will carry that title the rest of my life,” Halen says.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is no easy task. While every Scout must accomplish the same requirements, each journey proves unique and, as Charlie points out, the journey doesn’t end when the rank is earned.
“There is not a word to describe it; it is a lot of hard work and dedication,” Charlie, 13, says. “People doubted that I could earn my Eagle Scout rank at such a young age. I worked hard and gained a lot of maturity along the way. It is a life journey. You live the Scout Oath and Law every day.”