Soaring above gender barriers in BSA: Corinne Hunt on her journey to Eagle Scout

Coco Boyden

Since she was 13 years old, senior Corinne Hunt has been a part of Boy Scouts of America (BSA), an organization founded in 1910. Created for the purpose of preparing boys to enter the military, this program teaches crucial life skills — ranging from self-confidence to leadership — and promotes academic merit, hardwork and honesty. 

In BSA, there are many troops someone can become a part of, depending on where they live. Marin has troops in Mill Valley, Tiburon, Larkspur and Corte Madera. Hunt is a member and one of the few founders of Troop One Girls, located in Mill Valley. 

“In order to create a troop, you have to have things like adult leadership, funding, roles and structure. So, me and a couple other girls pounced on the opportunity to create our own troop in March of 2019,” Hunt said. 

Standing in front of her fellow scouts, Corinne Hunt waits to receive her 13 merit badges in her troop court of honor. (Photo courtesy of Corinne Hunt)

It wasn’t until January 2019 that women were allowed to be in Boy Scouts; there are few girls in the program today as a result. However, BSA has approximately 2.2 million youth members across the nation, as well as 35 million adult volunteers who help carry out the BSA’s mission. The work of these adult members is critical, as they keep the program running and organized. Adult member Lisa Gilmore has been a part of the scouts program for 16 years and has been with Hunt throughout her BSA journey.

“Ever since girls were able to join BSA, I’ve gone from the backend of things, which is more [about] organization stuff, to now running the troop with the Scoutmaster. This was when I first met Corinne, and she was one of the first girls at the interest meeting and she is so close to reaching Eagle Scout,” Gilmore said. 

Once Hunt reaches Eagle she will join the 2.5% of all women eagle scouts compared to the 97.5% of men who have reached Eagle scout. Through years of being one of the few girls in boy scouts, Hunt has had time to reflect on being often the only girl in many rooms.   

“Being one of the few girls in a male-dominated organization [has] been very eye-opening. I have noticed a lot of times where my input has been blatantly ignored,” Hunt said. “It’s not to say that these people are bad people, I just think they have a lot of doubts about having a girl in their organization. I’ve also been the only girl in a lot of rooms and I’ve often felt really out of place.”

Her feelings of estrangement, however, did not stop her from pursuing her passions and goals as a Scout. Among other things, her love for the outdoors — influenced by her grandfather, Doug Singer — originally inspired her to join BSA and motivated her to stay. 

“My grandfather is a huge inspiration of mine. I have always strived to make him proud. I wanted to carry over his and my newfound love for nature, and joining Scouts seemed like the perfect opportunity for that,” Hunt said. 

Singer served in the Vietnam War from June 1964 until December 1968, and credits that experience as a strong influence on the rest of his life. He has passed on important values he learned during those years to Hunt, that she has taken with her throughout her life. 

“I’ve taught Corinne what she ought to know about the outdoors; however, the values and important lessons I’ve learned throughout my life are most important: Do not lie, speak your mind and understand authority, but do not be scared to challenge it,” Singer said. 

Hunt proudly stands alongside the members of Troop One Girls of Mill Valley after spending the day making 600 bibs for hikers, as part of her Eagle project. (Photo courtesy of Corinne Hunt)

One of the main goals of being a scout is attempting to reach Eagle Scout, the highest rank possible. It often takes six years to become an Eagle, given the numerous necessary merit badges. Only around 5 percent of all Scouts ever reach this status, and Hunt is just one step away. 

“I’m not officially Eagle because I have to go through and submit my Eagle letter of intention and get past my board of review. One of the many things we need to do to get Eagle is to complete a service project that benefits the community. For my project, I created 600 handmade fabric bibs in commemoration for the 100th anniversary of the first women’s hike,” Hunt said. 

Her grandfather knows the time and work that Hunt has put in for almost six years to achieve Eagle and views this as more than just reaching the highest rank. 

“I think that achieving the status of Eagle Scout is important because it indicates that the individual who is trying to achieve that status has had to commit to do a whole series of things along the way, all of which [build] character in one way or another. And that is very important in life,” Singer said. 

With minimal representation of women in the BSA, they are constantly looking for new members. If you range from the ages 11-18 and think you’d be interested in becoming a Boy Scout, click this link.