Growing up in a family full of Eagle Scouts, Alex Baum of course felt some pressure to become one herself.
Her dad, Charles, is her Scoutmaster and an Eagle Scout. Her grandfather Robert is also an Eagle Scout, as are both of her great-grandfathers.
But Alex, 16, says mostly she is simply proud that she’s a fourth-generation Scout and the first female Eagle in her family. Having her grandfather at her court of honor made the moment even better.
“We have an eagle statue in my grandfather’s house with the names of the Eagles in our family engraved on it,” she says. “I really wanted to be a part of that eagle, and I wanted to carry on the family tradition as well.”
Alex began her Scouting journey by going to outings with her younger brother when he was a Cub Scout. She eventually became a member of Troop 673G in Scotts Valley, California.
“I couldn’t be left home alone at the time, so I tagged along on his campouts and adventures,” she says. “It was fun to experience the trips.”
Feeling slightly disappointed with after-school activities, Alex always wished girls were allowed into Boy Scouts. The day the BSA opened its doors to girls, Alex took full advantage and joined.
Having her father as a Scoutmaster encouraged her to reach her goal. Alex says her father and grandfather always told her to adventure often, take available leadership opportunities, and follow the Scout Law as much as she could.
“I always had constant support, understanding and motivation,” she says. “If I was losing the drive to finish my Eagle Scout requirements, he was always there to help encourage me. I’m happy he was able to help me through it.”
Not only was earning Eagle an exciting moment to share with her family, it was also a big milestone for her unit: Alex is the first Eagle Scout in her troop. She has seen some friends join and drop out during her time. However, she hopes that more of her fellow female Scouts will join her as an Eagle Scout soon.
“I’m proud and happy that I have the opportunity to be a role model for these young girls,” she says. “Hopefully, there will be more girls from the troop to join me in the rank of Eagle soon.”
For her Eagle project, Alex knew she wanted to do something in woodworking and conservation, so she built bat boxes for a nature preserve.
“I initially asked if I could do owl boxes, but the land trust didn’t need those,” she says. “Instead, they asked if I would be willing to do bat boxes. I did my research and agreed.”
Overall, the road to Eagle wasn’t an easy one, but Alex pushed herself to the finish line. She encourages others like her to do the same and to surround themselves with people who won’t let them quit.
“Keep going and work on it step-by-step,” she says. “Don’t get frustrated or quit because of other people. Instead, find friendships and motivation along the way. “It does get tiring. There have been times I seriously thought about quitting. However, I’m happy my friends and family were there to push me through to the finish line.”