A ceremonial flag
Eagle Scouts Morgan and Joanna are pictured here displaying Joanna’s gift to Elmhurst Scout Troop 117G, of which the girls are founding members. It is customary for an Eagle Scout to present the troop with a significant flag. The Flying Pigs was the name of Morgan and Joanna’s patrol before girls were included in Boy Scouts, and they retained the name for the first patrol in Troop 117G after girls were included in Scouts BSA in 2019.

Elmhurst Scouts BSA Troop 117G recognized its two first founding members for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest advancement rank in Scouts BSA.

On Saturday, Aug. 6, Joanna Clohessy, 16, was presented the Eagle Scout badge at her Eagle Court of Honor. Joanna earned her Eagle rank at her board of review on Sunday, May 1.

On Friday, Aug. 12, Morgan Czarnecki, 18, received her Eagle Scout badge at her Eagle Court of Honor. Morgan earned her Eagle rank at her board of review on Friday, May 13.

When Scouts BSA allowed the inclusion of females in February 2019, Joanna and Morgan became two of the first founding members of the local troop. They spent the previous two years in Elmhurst Exploring Club 1, where they attended summer camp together as the only two girls and participated in activities including archery, rifle and shotgun shooting, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing.

In Exploring Club, they learned skills such as orienteering; overnight camping; menu planning and meal preparation for campouts; the use of various knots, safe use of a knife, ax and saw; plant, bug and wild animal identification; first aid and emergency response; boating and water safety; and money management.

Having learned these skills, Joanna and Morgan hit the ground running and advanced through the Scouts BSA ranks to Eagle in little more than three years – a task that can take up to eight years and must be completed before the scout’s 18th birthday.

One of the requirements for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is to plan and execute an Eagle Project. For Joanna’s Eagle Project, she designed and oversaw the construction of a new park bench and managed the refurbishing of three existing benches at Kiwanis Park, benefitting the Elmhurst Park District. Joanna completed her project in October of 2021.

On her path to Eagle, Joanna earned 28 merit badges, her favorite being the climbing merit badge. She participated in 268 scouting events, including 35 campouts – spending 61 nights in a tent or other structure she built. She cycled more than 32 miles, canoed more than 24 miles, and hiked hundreds of miles. Joanna was the first senior patrol leader for Troop 117G, and since served as a patrol leader, assistant patrol leader and chaplain’s aide. She has more than 40 service hours. Joanna is an ordeal member of the Order of the Arrow, scouting’s honor society.

For her project, Morgan designed and oversaw the construction of several devices used to desensitize horses used for equestrian therapy from external stimulation, benefitting the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

Morgan participated in more than 100 troop activities, including 16 campouts. She spent 63 nights sleeping outdoors and completed the BSA’s training program for cold weather camping known as Okpik. Morgan also completed the National Youth Leadership Training. Between conservation and community service, Morgan served 47 service hours. Morgan served as senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, patrol leader, assistant patrol leader and librarian.

“Joanna and Morgan have been friends since preschool,” said Vanessa Clohessy, Scoutmaster for BSA Troop 117G. “Watching them grow into young women with the drive and determination to earn the rank of Eagle Scout has been remarkable. It is an extraordinary achievement. Only about five percent of all scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout.”

Morgan is continuing as an adult leader in Troop 117G and will assist with the troop when she is home from college. Morgan graduated from York High School and attends Montana State University where she is studying engineering. Joanna will continue to participate in troop events and to earn merit badges until she turns 18. She also serves as president of Venture Crew 711, scouting’s high adventure program for scouts ages 14 to 20. Joanna is a junior at Timothy Christian High School.

“Morgan and Joanna serve as role models and an inspiration for the other scouts in the troop who are on the path to Eagle,” said Clohessy. “It is a joy, an honor, and a privilege to serve as the scoutmaster for the first, and so far, only girl troop in Elmhurst and surrounding suburbs,” she said.

Founded in February 2019, Troop 117G has girls from many communities, including Elmhurst, Villa Park, Lombard, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton and Roselle.

Troop 117G (with 20 girls) is the sister troop to longstanding Elmhurst Troop 117B (with more than 40 boys), led by Scoutmaster Greg Gley. Both Troops are chartered at Christ United Methodist Church in Elmhurst and share the same parent committee led by Committee Chair, John Fabry.  The committee strives to provide broad options for Scout families.  In addition to the Troops for the girls and the boys ages 10-17, the committee also oversees Venture Crew 711, led by Crew Advisor Jim Clohessy, with 15 boys & girls ages 14-20 focused on high-adventure outings.  For more information on their programs, visit them at www.ElmhurstScouts.org

 

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