Many girl scouts stop once they earn their Gold Award, the top award for girl scouts. That is not the case for Fountain Valley senior Tiffany Hoang. Through her hard work and dedication, Hoang now possesses both the Gold Award and the Eagle Scout Award, the top award for boy scouts.
The Gold Award is the highest achievement a girl scout can earn during high school. The project involves finding an issue in the community, carrying out a plan and educating or inspiring others.
Hoang completed her Gold Award project at the beginning of 2019 when she led and organized dental workshops for kids in less privileged areas.
“I led a team of high schoolers, dentists, some orthodontists and the administration of Boys’ and Girls’ Club [Anaheim],” Hoang said. “We created four two-hour-long programs. There were four stations with activities, lessons from dental professionals and games.”
After Hoang completed her Gold Award, her journey did not end there. In February 2019, the boy scouts program opened to girls. This meant they could participate in more activities as well as earn the Eagle Scout Award, the highest rank a boy scout can earn.
However, Hoang had to start her trail to her Eagle Scout Award on a blank canvas. She had to take on new challenges such as persevering to complete several boy scout requirements before starting the Eagle project.
“Before you do this project, there are certain ranks and merit badges you have to [earn],” Hoang said. “The Eagle project doesn’t have to be sustainable … [but] I feel like the project takes longer to get to [since] it takes more dedication.”
In particular, there are six ranks with specific requirements to complete. As you go up each rank, it gets more challenging since there are tasks that involve leadership and teamwork.
“The higher ranks focus more on leadership [while] the beginning ranks is more learning how to tie knots and first aid. As you go on, it’s more leadership such as emceeing bonfires or teaching the younger kids scout skills,” Hoang said. “You also have to earn at least 21 merit badges. [Some include] swimming, hiking, first aid, personal management and personal fitness.”
After 18 months of determination and commitment, Hoang completed her Eagle project, which was carried out during the pandemic.
“For my Eagle project, I led my venturing crew, Crew 2279, to create 100 packages for the elderly,” Hoang said. “We worked with a nursing home called Garden Grove Post Acute.”
This incredible feat makes Hoang the first Vietnamese American in scouting history to earn both the Gold Award and the Eagle Scout Rank.
Charles Nguyen, Hoang’s leader, notes how Hoang is an inspiration for many girls who aim to complete both awards.
“It’s difficult enough to earn the Gold Award. Less than 6% of Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award and 5% of boys earning the Eagle Rank,” Nguyen said. “Girls can look up to Tiffany and see that there’s no glass ceiling. If they dare to dream, nothing is impossible as seen by [her] accomplishments.”
While earning the Gold Award and Eagle Scout rank is astonishing enough, the skills that come from them are much more valuable.
“Putting myself out there, overcoming my shyness and building confidence was a huge struggle at first,” Hoang said. “But, I’m so glad I did these two projects because I’m a lot more confident in my ability to lead now.”
Many noticed Hoang’s development in becoming a better leader and person, in and outside scouts.
“I’ve known Tiffany since she was in elementary school … she was extremely shy. She would look down at the ground when she talks and no one [could] hear a word she’s saying,” Nguyen said. “Over the course of her Girl Scout journey and Trail to Eagle, she has grown to be more confident, courageous and to be a person of character. She now leads younger scouts. I am so amazed by her transformation.”
As Hoang continues her scouting career, she hopes her experience will help girls be less afraid to enter the boy scout world and to work towards the top award for both programs.
“I hope other girls can be inspired by me getting both my Eagle and Gold,” Hoang said. “I want them to know anything is possible if they put their mind to it.”