The young woman earned the highest rank, achieved by only six percent of all Scouts, right before she turned 18.
Right before her 18th birthday, Kendall Jackson was named one of the first Black females to become an Eagle Scout. She was 15 years old when the Scouts first started admitting girls in 2019, but she went on her first camping trip with the organization when she was just a toddler. At the time, she accompanied her mother and older brother. Since then, she has hurried to reach her goal of achieving the highest rank possible within the Eagle Scouts. At just 17 years old, Jackson is now successfully part of the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts, which comprises young women who earned the rank between October last year and February 8, 2021, CNN reports.
"I was just ready to go," she said in an interview with the news outlet. "I was eager to get started and be able to have this opportunity. I was overwhelmed with joy and I was ecstatic to be able to join." The Boy Scouts of America also released a statement to commemorate their inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts. It reads, "We are thrilled that hundreds of diverse young women have attained the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout, which is widely valued by universities, employers, and other respected institutions around the world." Jackson's achievement is particularly remarkable as only about six percent of all Scouts go on to earn the rank.
While officials are still in the process of finalizing the number of female Eagle Scouts in the inaugural class, they confirmed that the 17-year-old is indeed one of 21 Black women known to have achieved the rank. Jackson, who was raised in a family wherein scouting was a "big deal," stated, "It's definitely something that's amazing, to say that I'm a part of Black history now, but I know I never really considered it." She said her mom's experience helped her speed through the lower ranks.
Kendall Jackson Of Becomes First African-American Female Eagle Scout https://t.co/Z52KlHEpyf #KendallJackson #Eaglescout #Boyscouts #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHistoryMonth2021 #BlackHistory pic.twitter.com/I6rUEZK6mJ— Councilman George Cook (@AAReports) February 11, 2021
For the past 22 years, Kellauna Mack, her mother, has been the Scoutmaster for Troop 53 in Gary, Indiana. In addition to this, she is the assistant scoutmaster for Troop 53G, Jackson's troop, as well as an executive with the Scouts' Pathway to Adventure Council. Jackson shared, "I had picked up certain skills, like learning the Scout Oath and the Scout Law, I had been saying it since I could talk." She has earned 39 badges thus far. This is almost twice as many as she needed to reach the rank. Notably, it is more badges than her brother has (he is nine years older). "Her goal was to do everything times two that her brother did," mother Mack stated. "So she wanted more merit badges. She wanted more leadership positions. She wanted to do her project bigger. That was always her goal." Despite how competitive the siblings are, the brother was incredibly proud of his sister and even got to present her medal at her ceremony.
New black history: The first African-American female Eagle Scout in America was inducted in Gary, Indiana just last weekend. Kendall Jackson of Troop 53, based out of St. Timothy Comm. Church, has made what she calls Boy Scout “HERstory.” So proud. I, too, am a Troop 53 Eagle. pic.twitter.com/Ospb7c3BsL— Steve Mayberry (@SteveMayberry) February 9, 2021
Jackson also had to hold leadership positions and organize a large service project to earn the rank. For the latter task, she planned an all-day seminar and a resource guide to help high school seniors in the class of 2021 prepare for life after high school. She made sure to account for all kinds of future plans, such as going to college, learning a trade, joining the military, or going into the workforce. Throughout her time with the Eagle Scouts, Jackson has picked up a plethora of skills. Now, she hopes to encourage more girls to get involved in Scouting. "I've made some really close friends, and we just enjoy being around each other and being able to learn the skills that will help us be better prepared for life," she said. "We can also do those things while having fun."