DES MOINES — Hannah Massey, a 15-year-old, from Ottumwa Troop 219, was one of two females recognized as the first Eagle Scouts in central Iowa, the highest ranking possible.

Massey and Angela Hemphill, 16, of Ankeny, join 1,000 young women from across the country in the Mid-Iowa Council Boy Scouts of America's inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts. They also join 170 young men in central and southern Iowa who earned their Eagle rank.

The nation's first Eagle Scout earned his rank in 1912.

"We're so proud of these two incredible trailblazers," said Matt Hill, CEO of Mid-Iowa Council. "Both young women joined Scouting to share the same once-in-a-lifetime adventures that boys have experienced for more than a century.

"These two are paving the way for future generations. They're our council's first young women to join an elite group of young men. Each and every one demonstrated leadership, service and excellence. We celebrate all Eagle Scouts who earn this storied achievement."

On average, only about 6% of Scouts attaint Scouting's highest rank. To earn it, Eagle Scouts are required to take on leadership roles within their troop and their community, earn a minimum of 21 merit badges that cover a broad range of topics including first aid and safety, civics, business and the environment, as well as research, organize and complete a large community project.

"We're elated that this opportunity is now available to even more youth — young men and young women alike," said Joe Waymire, president of Mid-Iowa Council. "Colleges, employers and communities recognize Eagle Scouts for their character and achievement, and we're delighted this opportunity is now available to all young men and young women."

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