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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Gong first Gabrielino female to achieve Eagle Scout rank

By Ashley Sanchez | Staff Writer

Photo by Sam Gong

   Junior Megan Gong has earned a permanent place in San Gabriel history. She is the first female at Gabrielino High School to achieve the Boy Scout’s highest rank: Eagle Scout. 

   Gong revealed that she first wanted to become an Eagle Scout because of her brother, since she always had an interest in the activities he was doing as a Boy Scout. 

   “Compared to the Girl Scouts, they were doing fun activities outdoors and many of the activities were scout-led and not parent-led,” Gong stated. “After seeing my brother have so much fun, I decided I wanted to do the same thing.”

   When the Boy Scouts announced in 2019 that it would allow girls to join, Gong was ecstatic, but the process to join for her was not an easy one. 

   Because many of the troops near her were not yet accepting girls, Gong and her father decided to start their own: Troop 360, an all-female Boy Scout troop based in San Marino.

   Gong had to meet many challenges on her way to the Scouts’ top ranking. She had to excel in six different ranks (Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life), each with specific skills that she had to master, in order to be considered as a candidate for Eagle Scout. 

   “[To apply for Eagle Scout], we have to have held a leadership position in the troop, have a minimum of 21 merit badges, and have completed a leadership community project,” explained Gong. 

   Gong’s Eagle Scout project consisted of refurbishing benches in a picnic area near the Los Angeles Police Academy.

  While sanding and repainting the benches required physical labor, Gong found that a bigger obstacle in her journey to Eagle Scout was facing judgment and teasing from the community. She recalls numerous times that other scouts – both boys and girls – said hurtful things to her and her troop. 

   “We obviously got weird glances from the boys and were often treated differently because we were girls,” Gong stateded. “We heard some Boy Scouts saying, ‘Shouldn’t you be outside selling Girl Scout cookies?’”

   Despite the scrutiny she faced, Gong prevailed, not allowing anyone to hold her back from her goal of reaching the highest achievement in Scouts. 

   “[The critics] did not drag me down. Rather, [they] allowed me to achieve more,” said Gong.

   Now, Gong has become one of nearly 1,000 girls across the country – and the only female in scouting’s Rose Bowl District of the Greater Los Angeles Council – to reach the Eagle Scout rank, according to the Associated Press. 

   “Many do not achieve this rank, as the process is very hard,” explained Gong. “I am very proud of my accomplishment […]. It took a lot of dedication and perseverance to accomplish this.”

   Gong is proud to help pave the way for others – not just boys – to aim for the Eagle Scout rank. 

   “For boys and girls, I hope for them to believe in themselves and all their capabilities,” Gong stated. “Although it may be tough at first, if you persevere and try your hardest, you will be most proud of what you [have] accomplished.”

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Gong first Gabrielino female to achieve Eagle Scout rank