Celeste Rios, 18, is the first-ever female to achieve the status of Eagle Scout in the 76-year history of Troop 94 in Sylmar.

Celeste Rios, a Saugus High School graduate and freshman at CSUN, is known for going “above and beyond” in everything she does. A highly-decorated member of Scouts BSA, the flagship program of the Boy Scouts of America, Rios earned 43 merit badges – more than double the amount required – to become the first-ever female Eagle Scout in the 76-year history of Troop 94 in Sylmar.

Rios joined the local troop at the age of 14 and steadily rose through the ranks – from Scout, Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, 1st Class, Star, Life, and now to Eagle Scout. Fellow scouts, BSA leaders, family and friends were on hand for a Court of Honor presentation and dinner in San Fernando on Aug. 6 in recognition of Rios’ historic achievement.

The Eagle Scout ranking is widely regarded as the pinnacle achievement in scouting, representing the culmination of earning a minimum number of merit badges and completing specific related projects. But for Rios, it has more personal significance.

“I know for some people it’s about an accumulation of all this knowledge in scouting, but for me the knowledge part came easy; it was the leadership part that I really worked on,” she told the San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol. “Earning Eagle meant to me that I was now able to face the world as an adult who has all the skills and tools necessary for success.”

Rios said her involvement in scouting happened unexpectedly. When her mother decided to sign up her younger brother for the Boys Scouts, she was surprised to learn that the organization had recently started allowing girls to join BSA troops nationwide. Knowing her nature-loving daughter – who adored being outdoors and sometimes even cried if she couldn’t bring home worms or other creatures – she thought it might be a perfect fit.

That turned out to be an understatement, noted Rios with a laugh.

“I had never really been involved in clubs or sports, and my mom thought this would be something I might be interested in, and it ended up taking off really well with me,” she recalled. When she joined Troop 94, she was the third female; today there are seven.

Not long after joining, she was drawn by the lure of the coveted Eagle Scout ranking, which symbolizes years of dedication to earning merit badges in a variety of categories, such as communication, emergency preparedness, environmental sustainability and more.

For Rios, her involvement in BSA scouting has been both rewarding and educational, giving her hands-on experience in many areas related to her future career aspirations.

“I hope to eventually work doing research in our national parks or with the state [doing] conservation work, like for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife,” said Rios, who is majoring in biology. Her passion is environmental stewardship, she explained.

“I always like just being outside, and I would really like to [help maintain] our environment, to make sure it’s still available for the future generations,” she said.

Regarding her historic turn as the first female to be named an Eagle Scout during the nearly eight-decade history of Troop 94, Rios said she feels honored to have earned that distinction. At the same time, Rios continued, she said she also feels sad because it’s a reminder that many young women in the past never had the same opportunities she did.

“In particular about being the first female Eagle Scout, I know it means a lot to people who weren’t able to participate in scouting before,” said Rios, noting that she feels especially bad for the girls and young women who barely missed the chance to join Scouts BSA when the organization officially opened its doors to females in 2019.

At 18, Rios has now officially aged out of BSA’s youth scouting program, but she plans to continue working with the organization as an adult leader in her troop, and plans to eventually join BSA’s Venturing scouting program, which is for adults ages 18 to 21.

“I’ve known Celeste and her family for many years; she’s a very, very impressive young lady,” said Victor Garza, an assistant scoutmaster and local board member for Scouts BSA. Not only is Rios trilingual (she speaks English, Spanish and French), she has completed numerous merit badge projects in pursuit of Eagle Scout status, including a community project at her high school that involved replanting three large gardens with native California plants, with the goal of making them “pollinator and drought friendly.”

Garza said he believes “it’s a great, great thing that scouting has changed” and that the Boy Scouts organization started allowing females to officially become members. He said he knows some BSA leaders who previously had more traditional mindsets about keeping the genders separated who have evolved in their thinking after witnessing the changes firsthand. 

“[Part of] scouting, which many people don’t know, is teaching leadership skills,” said Garza, describing many of the female scouts he has worked with as “natural” leaders.

The bottom line, he continued, is that whether scouts are males or females, the 12 principles of Scout Law remain the same for everyone: “[To be] trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”

13 replies on “Local Teen First Female Eagle Scout in 76-year History of Sylmar BSA Troop”

  1. What about all the boy scouts victor has screwed over because they didn’t like the family? Why not publish that? Or how about the money that all the scouts were missing? Or what about how when girls were first introduced victor himself was the one against this? So many ppl have left troop 94 because of how toxic these leaders are. They donate so much money via their business that they remain untouched. These ppl are so bad for scouts. So many children have stopped scouting because of the way victor and dean and Victoria brother run things. If your not part of their cronies or don’t follow what they say they make sure your child does not progress further.

    1. Ángel, i am one of those family that left. My sister and cousin where one of the first 2 of the 3 females to start their. But it was to toxic. Eventually we left and started a new pack.

    2. My family have all done Scouts since the 90s my father was a scout leader, my brothers were all scouts in Pack94 and now officers in law inforcement they thank scouts for giving them leadership. Kevin and Dean have always been good with our family, and now myself with my child continue the program, scouts has helped our kids to grow, I am proud of this young lady for her accomplishment, and her mother is a beautiful soul, she too is a scout leader and is a true example of loyal, helpful and trustworthy leader!

  2. There’s a space and place to address personal issues with the pack/troop and the comment section meant to celebrate this young lady and her achievements is not it. I understand there are some unresolved past grievances, but there’s a code of conduct and system in place to ensure the success of all the scouts in the program and for them to accomplish all that they can in a fair manner. I invite you to please reach reach out to the correct officials with your concern. We are here to celebrate Celeste and her achievements as a young lady in scouting.

    With that being said…. Congratulations Celeste you are such a kindhearted, wonderful, empowering young girl. It has been wonderful to see you grow and mature in your journey in scouting and as an individual. I Can not wait to see the change you will make in the world with your dedication and passion. Keep pushing forward.

  3. Way to go, Celeste!!! All the congratulations for a historical achievement! May you continue to blaze a trail for yourself and others to follow! 🙂

  4. Congratulations, Celeste and Troop 94! Thank you to all the leaders who volunteer their time it is greatly appreciated!

  5. We have had the great pleasure of knowing Celeste and her family and this young lady has worked extremely hard to earn her Eagle Scout rank. Her hard work and dedication is truly remarkable. She has opened the pathway for so many young ladies.
    Your troop 94 family is so proud of you!
    “Nothing is impossible, the word it’s self says I’m possible.” Audrey Hepburn

  6. My kids have been involved in scouting since my oldest was 4. He recently crossed over to the troop and is looking forward to adventures and continued growth.

    As with any organization, you’re gonna have your bad apples, but it goes both ways. Like anything else, you’re gonna get what you put into it and people are not there to hold your hand.

    Leader ship and the assistants Scout masters are there donating their time, sacrificing for the greater good and many for kids that are not even their own. Some have been helping create leaders for over 40 years!

    I have never witnessed leader ship in this pack do anything negative or anything that I have questioned. But maybe that means that the bad apples are gone.

  7. Congratulations to you! Great accomplishment, we are so proud of you! What great role model for the other scouts! Great way to represent Pack 94!

  8. Angel Herrera, the purpose of this article was to inform the community about Celeste’s amazing accomplishment and to highlight the historical nature of being the first female in her troop to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. It is not a Yelp review designed to air your personal grievances about the leaders in Troop 94. An appropriate comment would have been, “Congratulations, Celeste, on earning this auspicious award. Your community is proud of you! Or, one might state something about how wonderful it is that this opportunity is now available to all young people. The appropriate place to share your concerns would be the Western Los Angeles County Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

    I am unable to say whether you are correct that Mr. Garza opposed girls joining the ranks of the Boy Scouts but I see evidence in his comments that he does not feel this way now. He stated, “it’s a great, great thing that scouting has changed and that the Boy Scouts organization started allowing females to officially become members.” IF you are correct that Mr. Garza was not in favor of girls joining the BSA, then he is to be commended for two things. He supported Celeste despite his personal feelings AND he has changed his stance on the situation. Again, I don’t know if your beliefs about Mr. Garza are correct but this this is something that more people need to learn to do. Our country would be a much better place if more people were open to changing their stance based upon facts, data, and experience enlightening their knowledge.

    Perhaps it didn’t enter your mind that you have now turned a positive experience for Celeste into a negative one. Most kids never have the opportunity to have a news article about their accomplishments. I am no mind reader but it is a very possible that Celeste looks up to her leaders. I suspect she also would he looked forward to sharing her article with friends and family. And now you have turned a happy moment for her into your own soapbox to malign the adults who supported her. In the future, you might consider how your comments could negatively affect others associated with the article before posting, especially when it affects young people.

  9. Congratulations Celeste! You are truly an amazing role model to all of the scouts in Troop 94. The boys and girls all have benefitted from your knowledge and experience and willingness to help and teach. This is just the beginning for you, we look forward to seeing many great accomplishments to come and will always support you through your journey.

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