Chambers County’s 1st female Eagle Scout celebrated at West Point Lake

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, April 18, 2023

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WEST POINT LAKE — A court of honor recognizing a new Eagle Scout took place Saturday afternoon at Anderson Park on the Alabama side of West Point Lake. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon, and the lake made an ideal backdrop to celebrate LilaMae Daughtrey becoming Chambers County’s first female Eagle Scout. Among the close friends and family members there to witness LilaMae’s court of honor was Tasha Brawner, Troup County’s first female Eagle Scout.

It was fitting for sailboats, kayaks, jet skis and canoes being out on the lake while the ceremony was taking place. LilaMae had earned a number of water sports merit badges while working on the rank of Eagle.

Tasha’s mom, Crystal Brawner, served as scoutmaster of Troop 31, LaGrange, where the two girls completed all the qualifications of Eagle Scout. LilaMae earned an impressive total of 56 merit badges on her way to her court of honor. Tasha earned an

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incredible 120. They remain active in a Venturing crew in Cataula.

In speaking about LilaMae at the ceremony, Mrs. Brawner said two things really stood out about her: (1) she likes to collect rocks and (2) she had to overcome shyness to be a leader.

Mrs. Brawner mentioned one outing where they had gone kayaking on the lake.

“It was getting late in the day, and we started kayaking out of this long cove,” she said. “For some reason, it seemed a lot harder getting out of that cove than it had been getting in. When we got back to our destination I found out why. LilaMae had loaded down the kayak with a whole lot of rocks she’d found. She had retrieved some of them from shallow areas of the lake bottom. She had a whole lot of pretty rocks when she got back home.”

In her first meetings in Scouting, LilaMae was very shy and standoffish. “She really opened up at a summer camp,” Brawner said. “She told me she wanted to be an Eagle Scout. She went on to become one of the best troop leaders we ever had. She really helped us through Covid and has been a top leader for us ever since.”

Long-time local Scoutmaster Joel Finlay led LilaMae through a number of oaths she had to recite to make her rank of Eagle official.

The roar of jet skis and motor boats was in the background as she repeated those oaths. She said that what she had learned in Scouting would serve her well over the rest of her life and that she would always be of help to others.

LilaMae, her parents and grandmother received pins during the ceremony. LilaMae also received a flag that had flown over the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta in honor of her becoming an Eagle Scout.

Scouting depends on adults stepping forward as volunteers to work with children. LilaMae’s mom, Gayle Daughtrey, g0t involved in Scouting by accident.

‘When my son Jacob was a Cub Scout his pack didn’t have a den mother,” she said. “I took on that role, and have been involved ever since.”

She was able to see two of her children, Jacob and LilaMae, become Eagles.

One of Scouting’s traditions is to have a first-time member write a letter and seal it to be read aloud at a later date. LilaMae wrote such a letter when she was seven years old. She opened and read that letter on Saturday.

“She told me what to say back then, and I wrote it down,” LilaMae’s mother explained.

“I am looking forward to camping and making new friends,” she wrote.

Some of those friends she made back then were at Saturday’s ceremony at Anderson Park.

LilaMae presented a pin to Joel Finlay. “Thank you for putting up with me,” she told him.

In working on her Eagle Scout award, LilaMae had a service project at Sylvia Word Manor in Valley. She called it her three wishes project. She granted three wishes of food items for the 50 residents at Sylvia Word. “I loved taking them items such as cornbread, turnip greens and fried catfish,” she said.

She also took each resident a box full of items and made upcycled door art, hummingbird feeders and patio planter boxes for them,

Scouting awards LileMae has earned include the Troop Founder Award, Totin’ Chip, Firem’n Chit, Emergency Preparedness Award, Kayaking Award, the Paul Bunyan Wilderness Award, the World Conservation Award, the Conservation Good Turn Award, Messenger of Peace Award, the Keep America Beautiful Hometown Award, a Recruiter Strip and National Outdoor Achievement Awards in Camping and Hiking.