Title: Triggering Change: Franklin Central Senior Achieves Eagle Scout Rank

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Maura Sparks holds the Scout sign in the garden of her church where Troop 219 is meeting on October 7, 2021, at Acton United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Sparks is the first female Eagle Scout in the Pathfinder District of the Crossroads of America Council. (Photos by Jacob Musselman)

Maura Sparks has been involved in Scouting since she was three years old, long before she officially became a Scout. Growing up with a brother involved in Scouting, Sparks often attended meetings and hung out with his troop. It was not until February 2019 that she was officially able to join.

“I watched my brother grow up and he had his group of friends who were really good,” Sparks explained, “He had that support and I feel like I wanted to have it.”

Sparks said she tried Girl Scouts but it wasn’t what she was looking for. Once she joined as a Girl Scout, she said it ultimately gave her what she was looking for.

Sparks is a member of Troop 219, which refers to February 2019, when women were allowed to join scouting. Being involved in Scouting, Maura said it shaped who she is today with more of a moral compass.

Maura Sparks shows off her council band badge and troop number on her uniform on October 7, 2021, at Acton United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Sparks is a member of Troop 219, which refers to February 2019, the first time women were allowed to join Scouting as members. (Photo by Jacob Musselman)

“I’ve known the Scout Oath and Law forever,” Sparks said, “I feel like it’s what changed my life and the way I treat things and people.”

One of the main activities of anyone involved in Scouting is working to earn Merit Badges. Sparks’ first badge of merit was crime prevention. Every Scout who wants to reach Eagle has to do some sort of project that demonstrates the leadership of others while completing a project that benefits their community. Sparks wanted to think of something different for their Project Eagle in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. After four months of planning, she developed a live awareness campaign for crime prevention in the community.

She planned, found a beneficiary, worked with civil servants’ schedules, and ran a two-hour live video talking about initiatives taken to protect people in the community.

Sparks said that other than the date change, she hasn’t encountered any issues while working on her Eagle Project.

After achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, Sparks became one of only 20 in the state of Indiana to achieve that rank. According to Scouting.org, an average of 8% of scouts ever reach Eagle, the highest rank. Sparks said working for his eagle rank has taught him to be persistent because it doesn’t come overnight. The average time it takes for a scout to reach Eagle is about two to three years.

Maura Sparks marks the first badge of merit she earned as a Boy Scout on October 7, 2021, at Acton United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Sparks is in his final year of Franklin Central High School and is considering a criminal justice degree. (Photo by Jacob Musselman)

She said that as she looks back on her career as a scout, she will remember all the things she was a part of. Whether she worked as a staff member at Ransburg Scout Reservation in Bloomington or as a staff member at NYLT, the national youth leadership training, she has created many memories and will carry them with her throughout her life.

Her father, Erin Sparks, said he was very proud and surprised at what she was able to accomplish and how she got stuck in Scouting even though it was stressful.

He also said that it is also important to make sure that his Eagle project is linked to something that he is passionate about.

Maura is looking to attend Indiana State, Ball State, or the University of Vincennes in the fall to major in criminal justice, then work with a police department as a detective.

She has told any other woman interested in Scouting that while there are controversial opinions about women joining Scouts, you shouldn’t be neglected by other opinions or what you want to do.

“There will be people who don’t like the change,” she said, “they all just have to get used to.”

Maura Sparks poses for a photo in her Boy Scout uniform on October 7, 2021, at Acton United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. (Photo by Jacob Musselman)

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