Scouting has been in the Tucker family blood for four generations.
Cate Tucker is not only the first girl to become an Eagle Scout in her family, but the first girl to achieve the rank in the entire Greenwich Council.
Cate’s great grandfather, grandfather, father and brother are all Eagle Scouts.
It seems like yesterday that girls were invited to join Scouts BSA and have the opportunity to eventually become Eagle Scouts.
In fact it was six years ago that Pack 23 Cubmasters Cindy and Rich DiPreta welcomed nine new members, all girls.
The rank of Eagle Scout may be earned by a Scout who has been a Life Scout for at least six months, earned a minimum of 21 merit badges, demonstrated both Scout Spirit and leadership within their troop. And of course, as a Life Scout the candidate must also plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project.
Cate has participated in Scouting since 2019 when she was one of seven girls who founded Troop 7 with Don Mitchell as their Scout Master.
“My goal to run the program has been to be a voice of reason and a leader, and to create pathways so the troop can continue and not fizzle out,” said Cate who has two younger sisters in the troop.
She said that for her, leadership has also meant giving others in the troop a chance to take leadership roles.
Her Eagle project involved building a large kiosk in the Babcock Preserve to display information on park safety, maps, environmental regulations, and lost & found locations.
A previous kiosk had been crushed by a tree during a storm and required replacement.
The entire effort, which was completed by Labor Day 2023, represented 202 collective hours for the troop.
Her final report was 32 pages.
“I tried to make it efficient,” said Cate who added that she learned by following her brother’s Eagle project process.
She said a challenge for every Eagle project is to manage tasks so everyone is involved at their appropriate level. In her case, the younger members pulled invasive species and weeds, while taking precautions against Poison Ivy.
“I worked with (Tree Foreman for the Town of Greenwich) Darrin Wigglesworth,” Cate said. “He gave me the idea, letting me know that Babcock needed a new kiosk.”
The project involved a lot of planning including buying waterproof and pressure treated lumber. Along the way Cate said she altered her plans after studying a similar Eagle Scout project in Pemberwick Park by Luke Macora from Troop 10.
“We had to dig 3 foot holes,” she recalled. “That was the hardest part because we kept hitting rocks,” she said.
One of the final steps she said was a formal session before the Board of Review.
“You sit at a table with other scout masters and officials who ask you about your experience and everything you’ve done, and to make sure it’s not just the parents pulling you through the process – so you know the deeper meaning.”
Cate, who attends Rye Country Day School and is also a volleyball player and musician, said the bulk of the work on her Eagle project took place during her junior year.
She said today candidates must complete all the requirements for Eagle Scout before their 18th birthday.
“Until 1953 you didn’t have to under 18. You could be an adult and become an Eagle scout,” she said.
Now a senior, Cate’s love of the outdoors – she has hiked 28 national parks and camped in 10 – dovetailed with a research project on carbon sequestration, as well as her Scouting experience. All have led to her desire to study Environmental Science in college, possibly combining that with East Asian studies.
A favorite moment of her years in Scouting took place two summers ago at the Sea Base in the Florida Keys where a group that included girls from a BSA troop Westchester spent a week on a sailboat.
“We learned about the constellations, took water samples of plankton looked at them under a microscope,” she recalled. “We also went through the mangroves on kayaks to understand how ecosystems work and how all are connected.”
“It was great bonding experience. You can really see how Scouting brings together people from diverse backgrounds,” she said, adding that some of the week had been spent learning about seasickness.
“I was in the bottom of the boat and helping everyone who got seasick,” she recalled.
More about Greenwich Scouting is available online.
Click here for information on Camp Seton summer camp.