The two joined Scouts BSA as soon as girls were allowed to join, and they have been working steadily to achieve the highest rank in scouting.
Two Ocoee sisters have worked steadily toward their goal of being in the first class of female Eagle scouts through Scouts BSA. Caitlyn Cox, 17, and Catharine Cox, 16, currently Life scouts, finished their Eagle scout projects in Ocoee and Gotha earlier this month and are preparing for their scoutmaster conference and board of review.
Caitlyn designed and built a 3,600-square-foot fenced-in dog park at Lake Olympic Townhomes in Ocoee. She poured a slab of concrete for the entrance and gate, plus two smaller ones for benches so dog owners can rest while their pooches play.
“I have a dog at home, and it’s frustrating to … see who’s walking her,” Caitlin said of the family’s German shepherd mix, Bella. “After school we can … take her to the dog park instead of fighting over who’s going to walk her.”
Caitlyn organized fundraisers and ended up with $2,500 for her project. Some of the materials, such as the fencing, were donated.
She led as many as 22 volunteers, who put in 600 hours to install 20 posts, four gates and two benches and pour the concrete slabs.
Professional engineers from Robins & Morton volunteered their time to help pour and finish the concrete with her, American Fence Wholesalers in Tavares discounted equipment for the job, families volunteered to donate lunches for the workers, and others ran errands to help keep everything moving.
“It turned out really well,” she said. “I thought it was going to be a lot harder and hot work, as well. But once it was done, I liked how it looked.”
The homeowners’ association is pleased with the dog park, too, and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Aug. 21, to commemorate the gift and the grand opening.
Only about half of the collected funds was spent, and Caitlyn said the remaining money will be donated to the HOA to be used for maintaining the park.
Caitlyn actually holds membership in two affiliations: Boy Scout Troop 325 and Girl Scout Troop 707.
She started scouting as a daisy and went through the ranks, becoming a brownie and then a girl scout. She joined BSA’s Venturing program and then Scouts BSA as soon as the organization made the announcement that girls could join. Once she becomes an Eagle scout, Caitlyn said she will work toward her Gold Award, the highest honor bestowed upon girl scouts.
“I think it’s a great way to show that girls can do something as big as this, and not just the guys,” Caitlyn said of allowing girls to join Boy Scouts and pursue the rank of Eagle Scout.
Caitlyn, 17, is a senior at Simon Youth Academy.
Catharine, a year younger, chose to expand the archery program at Camp Ithiel in Gotha. She built archery backstops out of PVC and rubber horsemat to be set up behind the targets to stop the arrows, and she built target stands out of wood.
“I chose this project because I liked the idea of it,” she said. “I’d done shooting sports before at Boy Scout camp, and I really enjoy shooting sports — so I wanted to help expand their program.”
Catharine raised $1,200 for her project, including a $600 grant from Dr. Phillips Charities. She still is tallying the costs but estimates her project at $800. Ace Hardware gave her a majority of her materials for free, she said.
The Camp Ithiel project took just one day to complete for the roughly 22 scouts and family members who assisted. Catharine planned the work activities and divided her work teams up for social distancing.
“We were doing a lot of painting of the wood for the target holders,” Catharine said. “Cutting the wood, painting, cutting the PVC, assembling, putting on the horsemat. It was actually pretty fun. … I was really happy that we did it in one day.”
She said she is pleased with her work and camp officials said it’s a great addition to the archery program.
Catharine was a daisy, brownie, girl scout and Venturing member, too, before joining Scouts BSA.
“We grew up doing girl scouts as soon as we could,” she said. “And then we joined Venturing at age 14 as soon as we were eligible. And then we joined boy scouts as soon as it was opened up to girls. And we were already on a campout that weekend.”
She is proud to be among the first girls to earn the rank of Eagle.
“It feels like really good,” she said. “It feels like I accomplished something I always wanted to. … You hear about all the boys’ projects and the Eagle, how it helps you in life and you can put it on your resume and it helps you grow in a learning perspective. And I thought, ‘Hey, I want to do it.’
“I didn’t expect to be able to join Boy Scouts, and it was a cool experience,” Catharine said. “I have one friend in Texas, and she just finished her eagle scout project. I’ve run into a few girls who are my rank or are about to be my rank. … It’s really cool to see other girls who are where I am. … We’ve worked really hard to get here.”
Catharine also attends Simon Youth Academy.
Within the next few weeks they will finish their project reviews, donate any unused funds to their project beneficiaries and complete their project paperwork for submission to the Central Florida Council. Once approved, they will schedule an Eagle Board of Review, in which they will sit before a panel to discuss their project and their path to Eagle and how they feel they have earned the rank.