First female Eagle Scout candidate makes Northborough history

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By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer

Eagle Scout Eleanor Stalcup stands next to her finished Eagle Scout project – the Little Free Pantry.
Eagle Scout Eleanor Stalcup stands next to her finished Eagle Scout project – the Little Free Pantry.
Photo/Liz Nolan

Northborough – It’s a huge accomplishment for any scout to complete the Eagle Scout rank requirements, but it is historical when that scout is the first female Eagle Scout in town. That honor goes to college freshman Eleanor Stalcup of Northborough Troop 823

She moved from North Carolina to Massachusetts during the summer of 2019 and joined Northborough Scouting BSA Troop 823 that fall. The all-female Troop has been led by Scoutmaster Shannon McDonald since its initiation in Feb. 2019.

“I am super excited to get Eagle Scout and to have found this thing that I am passionate about,” Stalcup said. “It’s really exciting and something I have wanted for a long time.”

Scouting has always been a part of her family – her brother, cousins, uncles, and grandfathers have been a part of the scouting experience. She always enjoyed participating in the trips and events that her brother’s troop held that included families.

“Ellie is a great example of what it is to be a scout,” said McDonald. “She steps up to help lead the Troop. She supports younger scouts and brings her enthusiasm to all she does. She has a passion for camping and the outdoors that has been a joy to share.”

Stalcup’s final project was the creation and installation of the first Little Free Pantry in Northborough. She said that the idea was modeled after the Little Free Library program. Instead of books, there will be non-perishable food items available to address food insecurity especially with the financial impacts of COVID-19 people are experiencing. She is optimistic about keeping it stocked with the help of her troop. 

Ariella Zalev, Margaret Fitzgerald, Cassandra Melo, Elspeth Robertson-DuBois, and Eleanor Stalcup working on the installation of the Little Free Pantry
Ariella Zalev, Margaret Fitzgerald, Cassandra Melo, Elspeth Robertson-DuBois, and Eleanor Stalcup working on the installation of the Little Free Pantry
Photo/Naoko Conway

It is located at Church of the Nativity, 45 Howard Street, Northborough. 

“Her Eagle project, as well as other service projects that she has participated in, demonstrates her kind heart and belief in helping others,” said McDonald. “She is a focused, motivated young lady who will accomplish great things.”

Stalcup said there are advantages of having a female only troop.

“It’s easy to focus on what we really want to do,” she said. “A lot of the girls are incredibly motivated to work on merit badges. It has been nice to have agendas and meetings to prioritize what we are interested in and need for advancements.”

Stalcup said that one of her biggest takeaways from being involved with scouting has been the leadership experience and skills she has acquired.

“There are so many opportunities to speak in front of people and to lead groups,” she said. “It’s incredible to have the infrastructure set up with so many people supporting you. I definitely encourage any girls to join scouts and make Eagle. I have learned a lot, especially in the last few months with the project.”

Stalcup will be officially recognized as part of the national inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts in February and will celebrate with family and friends at a future Court of Honor when COVID restrictions are lifted and it can be done safely.

 

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