- Eagle Scout is the highest rank someone in Scouts BSA can earn; the process to reach the rank was open only to boys until 2019, when Boy Scouts of America began allowing girls in the organization.
On the surface, Kavita Trivedi, seems like your average high school kid. But look a little closer, and you’ll see that this slip of a girl is smashing glass ceilings under her Converse-clad feet.
On February 8, 2021, Scouts BSA — formerly known as the Boy Scouts —officially inducted its first class of female Eagle Scouts on the recognized “birthday” of the Boy Scouts of America.
Among those in the inaugural Eagle Scout class is 15-year-old Indian American Kavita Trivedi from Troop 56 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Kavita Trivedi talked to American Kahani about what being an Eagle Scout means and the road seldom tread.
Trivedi’s happiness comes through the cell phone as she says, “I’m very proud of myself for becoming one of the first group of girls to become an Eagle Scout. I worked really hard for this and I know it’s a big step forward for the organization – letting girls in. I feel like I’ve learned a lot of leadership skills … and I am a strong person. I know how to overcome hurdles, and it shows that I have perseverance.”
Kavita Trivedi first heard of scouting when she was in first grade. At the time, Boy Scouts of America wasn’t accepting girls, but the Cambridge resident informally joined a local troop, where she learned first aid, rock climbing, and most of all, how to be prepared.
Trivedi says, “A neighbor recommended it to me.” Based on the recommendation Trivedi went to a meeting where they were doing bridge making and Pinewood Derby racing, where you built race cars out of wood. “I thought that was interesting as I love hand-on projects.”
And from that day, Trivedi was bit by the Scout bug. Now, at 15, her hard work has paid off. Trivedi became a member of the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts, the highest possible rank for members of Scouts BSA.
“When I participated in Scouts when I was younger, I kept seeing all the older scouts become Eagle Scouts. And I wanted to become one of them one day. So once girls were allowed into scouting, I started working on the ranks and earning the merit badges. I had set a goal for myself: I wanted to be in the first group of girls.”
As to whether she’s encountered any pushback or problems being a girl in a traditional “boys club,” Trivedi says, “Maybe once or twice, but nothing huge. One time was at a jamboree, and I was told by a couple older men that I wasn’t supposed to be there, and I don’t belong there. And this was right after the girls were starting to be allowed into Scouts.”
She adds sagely, with wisdom beyond her years, “I usually just say ‘OK’ and move on, because you just have to keep moving forward. You can’t let the small things stop you.”
As to being a role model for girls to follow in her footsteps, Trivedi, who has a younger sister herself says, “I know there are some girls in the troop that now want to become an Eagle Scout after seeing me become one and they know what an accomplishment it is.”
Younger sister Neelu Trivedi, 12, hopes to one day follow her as an Eagle Scout, says Trivedi. “Neelu is very motivated to become an Eagle Scout,” a proud big sister said. “I think she’s gonna stick with it.”
Trivedi who sees the move to make Boy Scouts inclusive as a step in the right direction says, “This move is part of being in a progressive community to be accepting to all. And this is one step closer to it,” says Trivedi pointing out that “Girl Scouts, which is a separate organization hasn’t done this yet and Boy Scouts moving forward in this direction shows it’s ahead and progressing in a way beneficial to all communities.”
And if you all think Trivedi is only all about Scouts, think again. Trivedi, a tenth grader at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School runs cross country and she’s a member of the International Sustainability and Development Club. “As part of the club we fund raise for an organization that helps people in Tanzania build stoves in their homes so they don’t breathe the polluted air,” says the avid skier, who loves hitting the slopes with her family.
To become an Eagle Scout, all candidates must complete a project that benefits a school, a religious institution, or their community. Trivedi initially planned to teach a “leave no trace” urban environmental program to children at the local Agassiz Baldwin Community Center in Cambridge.
However, when the COVID-19 pandemic made in-person teaching impossible, Trivedi adapted the curriculum into a 10-video YouTube series produced with her family and sent it to the center.
“I chose to do my project on Leave No Trace in an Urban Environment because I wanted to teach youth the skills I have learned. My initial plan was to create an in-person, hands-on, curriculum for youth at the local community organization,” Trivedi shared with American Kahani. “COVID-19 changed my plans, so I ended up working with Scouts, family, and friends to create videos and posting them on YouTube which opens the learning opportunity more broadly.”
Trivedi further added, “My project taught me a lot of leadership skills, such as how to have a timeline that you have to stick to, which is challenging, and to make sure it can adjust to what other people need.”
In addition to her Eagle Scout project, Trivedi had to earn a total of 21 merit badges to qualify for the award. Merit badges outline a set of requirements to teach Scouts outdoor skills such as her favorite, climbing. In May, she earned her cycling merit badge by completing a 50-mile ride on the Minuteman Bikeway.
Normally, scouts complete physical tasks like this with their troops for moral support, but since the pandemic prevented Troop 56 — Trivedi’s group — from meeting in person, she completed the ride with her parents andyounger sister.
Pravin Trivedi of Shrewsbury is a proud grandfather. Talking to Community Advocate about his granddaughter he said, “My father was a teacher. He was also a scout master. He used to take his troop hiking and camping in the woods. So, imagine my delight and pride when my granddaughter gets to be an Eagle! You cannot get me off the clouds that I have been on for the past few days.”
Trivedi’s parents are equally proud of her. “They know how hard I worked and what an accomplishment this is.”
Eagle Scout is the highest rank someone in Scouts BSA can earn; the process to reach the rank was open only to boys until 2019, when Boy Scouts of America began allowing girls in the organization.
As to what she wants to do when she grows up, a mature-beyond-her-years Trivedi says, “I think I want to work with my community. I want to help people who don’t have the opportunities that some others may have. I want to help them learn how to do things that they might now be able to do within their community.”
And when she’s not busy being a Scout, Trivedi likes kicking back with friends and enjoys being a teenager.
(Top photo: Kavita Trivedi, 15, right, is part of the first class of girls that become Eagle Scouts this year. Her younger sister, Neelu Trivedi, 12, left, also wants to become an Eagle Scout.)
Anu Ghosh immigrated to the U.S. from India in 1999. Back in India she was a journalist for the Times of India in Pune for 8 years and a graduate from the Symbiosis Institute of Journalism and Communication. In the U.S., she obtained her Masters and PhD. in Communications from The Ohio State University. Go Buckeyes! She has been involved in education for the last 15 years, as a professor at Oglethorpe University and then Georgia State University. She currently teaches Special Education at Oak Grove Elementary. She is also a mom to two precocious girls ages 11 and 6.