Connecticut’s first female Eagle Scout had dreamed of joining Scouts since she was little

by JESSE LEAVENWORTH
HARTFORD COURANT

Ella Schulitz of Simsbury is the first Connecticut girl to attain Eagle Scout. (Boy Scouts of America, Connecticut River Council)
Ella Schulitz of Simsbury is the first Connecticut girl to attain Eagle Scout. (Boy Scouts of America, Connecticut River Council)

Ella Schulitz of Simsbury is a trailblazer, the first female Eagle Scout in the state of Connecticut.

Schulitz, 18, of Troop 174, Connecticut Rivers Council, will join the Boy Scouts of America’s first nationwide class of elite female Scouts at a ceremony set for Monday.

The Simsbury High School senior joined BSA Scouts as soon as she could two years ago when the program for 11- to 17-year-olds began accepting girls. Schulitz said her enthusiasm for Scouting started in third grade when a representative talked to her class.

“I was really interested because he spoke about adventure and doing fun things with friends,” she said.

She told her parents that day that she wanted to be a Cub Scout, but girls could not join then. In middle school, Schulitz joined Venturing, a co-ed Scouting program. Joining Scouts BSA in February 2019, she said, felt like the logical next step.

For her Eagle Scout project, Schulitz built a “gaga pit” outside Latimer Lane Elementary School in Simsbury. Gaga is a variant of dodgeball played in a fenced-off area. Before construction, Schulitz had to plan the project and gain approvals, a good introduction to a milder form of bureaucracy, her father, Rick Schulitz, said.

To attain her Eagle Scout rank, Ella Schulitz built this gaga pit outside Latimer Lane Elementary School in Simsbury. (Courtesy of Rick Schulitz)
To attain her Eagle Scout rank, Ella Schulitz built this gaga pit outside Latimer Lane Elementary School in Simsbury. (Courtesy of Rick Schulitz)

Earning Eagle Scout rank requires tests of leadership, service and outdoor skills. Famous Eagle Scouts include astronaut Neil Armstrong, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, film director Steven Spielberg and Mike Rowe, host of the TV show, “Dirty Jobs.”

Only 4-6% of Scouts attain the Eagle rank. Each female Scout joining the nation’s inaugural class will have “Feb. 8, 2021” marked on her official record and Eagle Scout certificate as the day she completed the rank. The date also coincides with the 111th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

One of three siblings with a Scoutmaster father, Ella Schulitz said she is proud of the top rank, but being the first female Eagle Scout in the state is not important because she was not competing with anyone.

After graduation, Schulitz said she plans to pursue studies in electrical engineering.

Eagle Awards and Court of Honor

Tonight, at Simsbury United Methodist Church, numerous family and friends came together to enjoy each other’s company and great barbecue from Bear’s Barbecue. Oh yes, and also celebrate the scouts moving up in ranks at the annual Court of Honor.

Andrew Mylander, Matthew Locandro, William Bonnell, and Michael Doyle all achieved the rank of Eagle this evening, obtaining the highest advancement ranking in Boy Scouts.

Eric Wellman, First Selectman of Simsbury

 

Eric Wellman, First Selectman of Simsbury, was the guest of honor, giving a lovely speech to the four new Eagles to congratulate them and elevate them as an example of Simsbury residents. Further awards, recognitions, and congratulations were given by several others, including the Simsbury American Legion, several United States cabinet members, and two former Presidents. Senator Chris Murphy even passed a long a flag that had flown over the Capitol building this past summer.

All in all, it was a fun filled evening filled with laughter and memories, and ending with cake. What could be better?