Isle of Wight’s first female eagle scout

Published 10:11 am Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Holly Greer, at 18 years old, is already a trailblazer.

She’s a founding member of the Carrollton-based co-ed Troop 36G, which formed in 2019 when Boy Scouts of America changed its name to Scouts BSA and began allowing girls to join.

Come July, she’ll make history again as Isle of Wight County’s first female Eagle Scout — the highest rank any member of the Scouts BSA organization can attain.

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Following in the footsteps of her Eagle Scout cousin Carter Greer, Holly has risen rapidly through the ranks in just three years from scout to tenderfoot, second class, first class, star and life. To qualify for eagle, scouts must hold the life rank and a leadership role for at least six months, earn at least 21 merit badges and complete a long-lasting community service project — in Holly’s case, a cedar bench for the county’s new park-to-park bicycle and pedestrian trail.

When Carter, now 21, was working toward his own eagle requirements as a member of Smithfield’s Troop 7, then 15-year-old Holly would frequently tag along and quickly became hooked on the wilderness survival aspect — something not offered through Girl Scouts.

Though both have similar goals and culminate with a community service project to earn either the eagle rank or the equivalent Girl Scout gold award, the two organizations are separate and run themselves differently.

“We don’t sell cookies,” said Scoutmaster Heather Greer, Holly’s aunt.

In BSA, there’s also a heavier focus on the outdoor activities Holly enjoys. The camping requirement proved particularly problematic when campgrounds shuttered in 2020 during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we were shut down we met by Zoom and we worked on technology merit badges,” said Scoutmaster Greer.

The troop ended up traveling to West Virginia, which had opted not to shutter campgrounds, following what the scoutmaster described as the “strictest of COVID protocols” to fulfill 2020’s camping requirements.

“It makes me so proud to see how far they’ve come,” Scoutmaster Greer said.

Holly’s bench project ended up taking just over a month, from May 4 through June 11, after she secured permission from the BSA Council and Isle of Wight’s Parks and Recreation Department, as well as a sponsorship from Cycle City Corp. in Newport News to cover the cost of materials.

With materials purchased, she and a few volunteers from the troop began meeting weekly to build the bench, occasionally consulting Chris Rose at Cycle City, a woodworking hobbyist in his off-hours.

A family member then donated the cost of ordering a plaque for the bench from Pennsylvania. It reads “Eagle Scout Project, Holly Greer, Troop 36G, May 2022.”

“I am truly humbled to be the first female Eagle Scout in Isle of Wight County,” Holly said. “Reaching Eagle Scout rank has been a rewarding challenge and a major milestone. I’ve made an abundance of memories with friends I’ve met along the way and hope to serve as an example, as someone who has learned a lot and had fun being a part of this organization.”

Holly, who graduated Smithfield High School this month, plans to attend Old Dominion University and study nuclear medicine.