NEW YORK, NY -- TODAY, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein met with local electeds to hold an Eagle Board of Review for female Eagle candidate Sydney Ireland, ultimately voting to approve her Eagle Scout Project. The favorable vote cleared the way for Ms. Ireland to receive the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank a Scout can achieve. While Sydney has successfully completed all requirements to earn the Eagle Rank and has submitted her application, Scouts BSA leaders refuse to officially allow Sydney to sit for an Eagle Board of Review or to recognize Sydney as an Eagle Scout, prompting the local electeds to join with a Scout Leader to conduct an ad-hoc review board where her project was reviewed and approved.
Sydney Ireland joined the Boy Scouts at the age of four, following her older brother, Eagle Scout Bryan. Since joining, Ms. Ireland has been the catalyst for the historic change to allow girls into BSA, speaking at countless Scout meetings, writing and passing petitions with the Presbytery of New York City and the National Organization for Women, publishing op-eds in the Washington Post, USA Today and Outside Magazine. She has met with all of her local elected officials to gain their support and lobbied Boy Scout leaders to let her and other girls have the same opportunities boys have had for over 100 years: excellent Boy Scout training and access to the opportunities that follow.
On February 1 , 2019, the 109-year institution, opened its door to young women and changed the name of its premier program to the gender-neutral, Scouts BSA. Since Scouts BSA made the decision to allow girls and young women to join the Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA, over 100,000 new members have joined the program.
By withholding a proper review of Sydneys Eagle credentials, the BSA is also ignoring other young women like Sydney who may have completed all requirements toward their Eagle rank, similarly frustrating their efforts for equality in Scouting.
Sydney is a groundbreaking individual who has opened up the scouting opportunities for hundreds of thousands of other young women just like her. This historic moment
needs a historic statement from the Scouts BSA leadership, which should be their acceptance of her as an Eagle Scout. If BSA is serious about gender-neutrality in their organization, then they must acknowledge the work that Sydney has accomplished and recognize her for the successful completion of the requirements to attain the Eagle Scout rank, said Assembly Member Epstein.
I am so grateful to have the support of all of my elected officials and so may scouts and families. I hope the Boy Scout leaders will immediately recognize the accomplishments of young women and allow us to be awarded the Eagle Rank without any further delay, said Sydney Ireland.
Sydney Ireland started a revolution when she demanded that girls have access to the same opportunities and benefits as boys in the Scouts, and now thanks to those efforts countless young women are able to join the BSA with full rights after a century long exclusion. She is a reminder that its time for women and girls to get the recognition and opportunities we have long fought for, and it is time that BSA leadership finally do what is right and award her Eagle Scout rank. Sydney deserves to celebrate the rank she has worked for during her 13 years in Scouting and celebrate her successes, said Congresswoman Maloney.
Senator Brad Hoylman said, "Sydney Ireland is a courageous young woman whose fight for equality inspires us all. Its long past due for the Boy Scouts of America to review Sydney's Eagle Scout project and recognize her many achievements. As an Eagle Scout myself, I know how meaningful this designation can be for a young person who has worked tirelessly to achieve their goals. I'm proud of Sydney's many accomplishments and grateful to my fellow advocates, including Assembly Member Epstein, Congresswoman Maloney, and NOW-NYC for continuing the fight for equality in BSA."
"Sydney was one of the young women who helped pioneer the Boy Scouts to change its policies and accept girls into the program. Her recognition as a Scout is long overdue. Sydneys efforts have empowered young girls across our nation to be a part of this leading organization, and I am hopeful she will be formally recognized following this Board of Review, Said Councilmember Keith Powers.
"As she has challenged the status quo and inspired girls across the country to become scouts, Sydney Ireland has grown into a leader and change maker," said Sonia Ossorio, president of NOW NY . "I am proud to support her efforts to end discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America and push for women's rights to equal opportunity in scouting in all sectors of society. She deserves to be recognized for opening these doors and to take her rightful place as the first woman Eagle Scout."