Jana-Len Jones, first female Eagle Scout of Troop 85

Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Scout Troop 85G of Florence recently welcomed its very first female Eagle Scout to their ranks. Jana-Len Jones completed her Eagle Board of Review on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, and was found worthy of completing all tasks to attain Eagle Scout rank. Jones is also the first Eagle Scout in the BSA Strong River District that represents Simpson, Rankin, Scott, and Copiah Counties.

A life-long resident of Florence, Jones currently attends Florence High School as a senior. Her introduction to scouts was by way of her brother, who was a member of the Cub Scout Troop 85. In the years preceding the “girl” boy scout option, she would eagerly accompany him to the meetings and scheduled activities.

Then, when BSA Scout Troop 85G was founded in February 2019 and females were given the opportunity to join BSA Scouts, she signed up. It hasn't always been an easy journey, but Jones has forged a path for girls to follow.

When asked what was the primary attraction to the scouts, Jones said: “I personally like the camping experiences. I did a lot of camping experiences when my brother was in Cub Scouts, so, of course, I enjoyed doing that, as well. Camping allows me to be around a lot of people, and you learn to do multiple things: keep our environment clean, cook meals for everyone, and do fun activities.”

Currently, Jones is a senior patrol leader for her troop where “[she] makes sure everyone else does their responsibilities.”

Jones’ leadership skills have also been on display recently within the community of Florence.

“I actually really wanted to build a gazebo for the tennis team in Hemphill Park, because I know that we don’t really have a place to set our stuff or a covered place to keep us out of the rain.” With that in mind, Jones appeared before the Florence Mayor, Bob Morris, and Board of Aldermen, requesting approval to build an octagonal table and benches at the tennis courts at Hemphill Park. She explained that her project would allow tennis players to have somewhere to sit during practices and for parents to sit during matches. Much to her surprise, Jones received approval for the project.

As far as the future, Jones plans to attend college in the northeast part of the U.S. Her preference is Rochester Institute of Technology, where she plans on majoring in hospitality and tourism management.

Jones will take the knowledge and experience gained from scouts, i.e., how to work with others, how to lead a group, and how to get things done, into what looks to be a very bright future. She encourages local youth who are interested in scouts, or any other challenging and character-building endeavor, “if you really want to try something, you should definitely try it. You never know what type of opportunity will open up for you.”

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