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'Unprecedented.' | Minnesota girl to become one of first female Eagle Scouts, earns all merit badges

The Boy Scouts of America started allowing girls to join less than two years ago. Already, Isabella Tunney has achieved something rare.
Credit: Isabella Tunney
Isabella Tunney represented Scouts USA on a national level at the organization's Report to the Nation.

RICHFIELD, Minn. — Growing up, Isabella Tunney watched her big brother excel through Boy Scouting ... and she wanted to do it, too. 

So when the Boy Scouts of America extended membership to girls in early 2019, she took the opportunity – and started making up for lost time. 

The 16-year-old will be part of the first-ever class of female Eagle Scouts, but that's not all. In less than two years, she's achieved an honor held by only a tiny percentage of Boy Scouts: earning every single merit badge available. 

"It is extremely rare, and in many counties and states, it's unheard of," Tunney said. "And I decided to set this goal because I wanted to have any experience I could have in the program."

Out of the millions of Scouts who've ever gone through the program, less than 500 are confirmed to have earned all the merit badges. 

"She did all that on her own!" her dad, Edmund Tunney, added. 

Isabella Tunney is part of an all-girl Scouts BSA troop in Richfield, Minnesota. Soon, she'll also be part of the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts. 

From 2019 to now, Tunney's badge adventures range from welding to scuba diving. When she tells people what she's been up to, sometimes they're confused – but they quickly get onboard with the idea. 

"A lot of people, when I try to explain to them I'm in Boy Scouts of America, they don't really understand," she said. "But once I explain to them that they added girls to the program and I get to do all these amazing things, a lot of people are really, really impressed with it – especially since I earned all the merit badges."

Tunney has represented Scouts BSA on a national level at its Report to the Nation. She's also emceed at fundraisers for her council – including one that earned $1.2 million for Scouts BSA. Plus, she's participated in enrollment videos to encourage other girls to get involved. 

"You can set a goal and you can work towards it, you can have the most determination, the most dedication in the world, but if you don't have a good support team, it's really hard to achieve it," Tunney said. "So I'm so thankful to everybody who's helped me get where I am."

That support team includes friends, teachers, and some very proud family members. 

"Needless to say, this is an extremely rare accomplishment," her dad told KARE 11 via text. "Adding the fact that she will be among the first female Eagle Scouts makes this triple accomplishment unprecedented."

Credit: Isabella Tunney
Isabella Tunney represented Scouts USA on a national level at the organization's Report to the Nation.
Credit: Isabella Tunney
Isabella Tunney represented Scouts USA on a national level at the organization's Report to the Nation.
Credit: Isabella Tunney
Isabella Tunney represented Scouts USA on a national level at the organization's Report to the Nation.
Credit: Isabella Tunney
Isabella Tunney represented Scouts USA on a national level at the organization's Report to the Nation.

Tunney's Board of Review will be on Oct. 1. After her review, she'll be an Eagle Scout -- but the big day is Oct. 31, when the first class of female Eagle Scouts will be officially recognized.  

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