Fifteen-year-old Lacy Mehaffey grew up with the Boy Scouts—her father, Chris Mehaffey, is the CEO of the Mid-America Council, Boy Scouts of America—so it was only natural for her to join when girls were allowed to formally participate. In just three years, not only has she earned her Eagle Scout and become an Asst. Senior Patrol Leader, but her leadership skills have extended into all areas of her life.
Edge: Why did you decide to join Scouts BSA?
Mehaffey: In elementary school my parents put me in soccer, softball, gymnastics, dance, and cheer, but I realized sports were not my thing! So, when the Boy Scouts of America announced they were changing the program name to Scouts BSA and letting girls in I wanted to join.
Edge: Did many other girls join Scouts BSA right away?
Mehaffey: There were a bunch of girls who joined. It was cool meeting other girls who shared the same interests as me.
Edge: What do you like about being in Scouts BSA?
Mehaffey: I really enjoy camping and life skills but also the leadership lessons and problem-solving skills scouting teaches. I’m an Asst. Senior Patrol Leader, which is all about youth-related leadership within a system. One experience of having a food shortage on a campout taught me how to think on my feet to solve the problem and then come up with a process to ensure that issue didn’t happen again. On a campout, a scout was assigned to purchase cans of chicken noodle soup for everyone. But they only bought ¼ of what they should have, so the Patrol Leader and Senior Patrol Leader had to collaborate on how to feed everyone with limited resources. We ended up getting bread and tomato soup from another Patrol. Then we decided to make a spreadsheet so in the future, the scout in charge of food would have to get the amount verified by the Senior Patrol Leader before buying.
Edge: What did you do for your Eagle Scout project?
Mehaffey: I helped raise funds and build a buddy bench for a local elementary school. I’d like to become a construction engineer, so I drew a sketch and took measurements for the bench at the site and worked with a construction manager to estimate how much concrete we’d need. I recruited and led a group of fellow scouts in the construction process. Together, we mixed the concrete, dug a hole, placed rebar, and poured the cement. But when the bench arrived it had the wrong feet, so we problem solved by taking the bench to a welder to shorten the legs and create the correct bases. We finished installing the bench this past July. I hope that the bench will create a safe place for kids to have fun and have the opportunity to make new friends.
Edge: What did you learn from your project?
Mehaffey: The point of an Eagle Scout project is to test the scout on what they have learned by demonstrating how to plan and lead others, all while in service to the community. I learned a lot about not doing everything myself—the importance to show and teach others as I worked alongside them. That has helped me a lot during campouts too. I’m there to guide the younger scouts but not do everything for them.
Edge: How else have you used your leadership skills?
Mehaffey: I’ve been playing clarinet for five years and am currently a member of Elkhorn North’s marching band, pit orchestra, and am also trying out on tenor sax for the school’s jazz band and show band. I was asked by my band director to be the assistant drum major this year as a way to learn from the two head drum majors who are both seniors. I jumped at that opportunity, as it is an honor to serve others and help lead something that is bigger than me. Being an assistant drum major has helped me find my voice in leading a large group of my peers especially since a majority of them are older and have more band experience than I. I’ve enjoyed it so much, and I’m looking forward to using the experience I gained this year to audition for head drum major next spring.
Edge: What do you enjoy doing during your free time?
Mehaffey: I love to read fantasy novels, especially Harry Potter! I’m also very involved in my church and enjoy volunteering in the toddler room on Sundays. I also love the water and working with younger kids to teach swimming and canoeing and to help them overcome any fear they may have of the water.
Edge: Do you hope to continue with Scouts BSA in college and beyond?
Mehaffey: Yes, I would like to continue working at scout summer camps when I’m in college and volunteer at a local troop no matter where I end up attending school.