MINEOLA, Nassau County (WABC) -- Three teens from Long Island are making history as the nation's first female Eagle Scouts.
Lea Feiner, of Levittown; Amritha Jacob, of Bellmore; and Julia Kirpalani, of Merrick, were recognized in a ceremony at the Nassau County Legislature Building in Mineola.
"It's showing what the face of an Eagle Scout can look like, and will look like, going forward," Jacob said.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran gave them a congratulatory proclamation and certificate.
"You make all of us here in Nassau County proud," she said. "Only 6% of Scouts actually make it to that rank, so this is not an easy thing."
These young women will have their trailblazing Eagle Scout ranking officially bestowed upon them during a special ceremony on February 15.
Representing the Theodore Roosevelt Council, Inc. Boy Scouts of America, the teens are part of Troop 186 in Wantagh, and they join hundreds of other young women around the county making up the Inaugural Class of female Eagle Scouts.
Girls have been part of co-ed programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America for decades, but it was only two years ago that young women were allowed into the traditional scouting program, which can help them become Eagle Scouts.
Each teen had to demonstrate leadership before their peers and within their community and complete their own Eagle Scout community service project.
In order to do it, you need to reach 21 merit badges and six ranks, something that takes Scouts 6 to 8 years. These Eagle Scouts, however, multi-tasked to the top.
"It was always difficult, but at the end of the day, being in scouting means you always respect the person in authority," Feiner said.
Feiner led a team that rehabbed an animal shelter, Jacob beautified her community, and Kirpalani helped veterans. But they say it's about so much more.
"It's learning collaboration, it's learning what honor means, what real hard work means," Kirpalani said. "Not just getting the merit badges just to put it on paper."
They said one of the biggest challenges was leading boys.
"When you're leading a team, and you are maybe one of two girls on a full team, and you have to be at the head of that," Jacob said.
Separate from this, they were also Girl Scouts for years. But now, they're proving that service is about character, not gender, and paving the way for plenty of others to come.