Hampstead girl takes aim at Eagle Scout with Topsail Beach Vet Memorial

When America honors men and women for serving their country in the military, Abbey Holloman wants Topsail Beach to have a special place for those occasions.

The 14-year-old from Hampstead is working to bring a veterans’ memorial to Topsail Beach town center park. Upon completion, Holloman will become an Eagle Scout – the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA Scouts).

She said it is very important to show respect to veterans, while mentioning the history of Boy Scouts to revere them.

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“I think that’s really important,” Holloman said. “As Scouts we do a lot of that and a lot of our ceremonies are based on the people who fought to give us what we have.”

The project’s completion will also make history: Holloman Scout Leader Phil Toret said she would be the first girl to earn the Eagle Scout ranking from Troop 1220, which covers New Hanover and Pender counties.

“She’s one of the most motivated scouts I’ve come across in my 12 years of working with these kids,” Toret said. “I’m not surprised at all that she’s working on her Eagle right now.”

Holloman spoke to City Manager Michael Rose about the project in September before it was discussed by council members in early January. The Topsail Board of Commissioners approved $5,000 to help Holloman with the project so the town could have a permanent structure to lay wreaths during the celebrations.

Holloman will be assisted by his family, friends and fellow Scout Troop, crew and ship members from Troop 1220, which is part of the Coastal Council District of Cape Fear. Together, the goal is to build two sections behind masts in the park.

Each section will have a platform and walls with seals to represent all branches of the US military. Construction is expected to begin at the end of February and end in March.

start the trip

Her path to becoming a Scout began when she was younger by watching her older brother, Michael Holloman, who was a Cub Scout.

“I did a lot of stuff with them because they just brought me along,” she said. “I thought that was really cool.”

After the girls were allowed to participate in the BSA Scouts, Holloman joined a troop after her family moved to western North Carolina. They then came to Hampstead where she joined Troop 1220, Venture Crew 2789 and Sea Scout Ship 2003.

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Holloman thinks she can be an inspiration to other girls.

“A lot of girls don’t know they can be in Boy Scouts,” she said. “With many of my friends, I show them that they can do it.”

In 2018, organization officials dropped the “boy” from its signature program name, but retained Boy Scouts of America or BSA as the generic name. The term Cub Scouts, ages 7-10, is neutral and has not changed. For ages 10-17, members are technically known as BSA Scouts.

In 2021, approximately 1,000 girls have made history by becoming the first class of female Eagle Scouts. According to the organization, only 8% of all Scouts achieved the rank in 2019, which requires a major service project, 21 merit badges and other commitments. During that year, the average age to become an Eagle Scout was 17.

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There was a time when she considered joining the Girl Scout organization where she previously lived, but Holloman was more interested in the activities associated with the BSA scouts.

“They (the Girl Scouts) were doing more arts and crafts and they weren’t doing as much camping and active outdoor activities,” she said of activities such as hiking in the mountains. , climbing and shooting. “I thought that was really cool. That’s why I joined Boy Scouts instead of Girl Scouts.”

Holloman was welcomed by members of the organization, but she recalls a time when she received negative comments from adults while selling popcorn to raise money for BSA Scouts programs.

“Some were worse than others, but most of them are really set in their ways and they think Boy Scouts shouldn’t be open to girls,” she said. “But again, there are also a lot of people supporting me, while I was selling popcorn, there were just a few people who didn’t want to see a change.”

Eagle Scout Samuel Crowder, 16, said his work with the organization has been extremely beneficial and effective for the organization.

“I really haven’t seen someone as dedicated and hardworking as Abbey,” Crowder said. “His motivation is unmatched.

Although there are people who believe girls don’t belong, Holloman continues to make strides in the organization. Crowder said he strongly disagrees with these people and believes they too should have the opportunity to earn the prestigious Eagle Scout ranking.

“The Eagle Scout Ranking is incredibly special and has a lot of credibility that other organizations don’t necessarily have,” Crowder said. “I think the fact that girls are allowed to win this title is the best thing ever.”

One of his recent accomplishments has been earning a merit badge for bird study and making a welded ornament so Scouts can attach small things to it during the summer to create camaraderie among members through the country.

“Everywhere I go people say, ‘Hey, that’s the Bird Study Merit Badge girl,'” she said. “I think it’s really cool to be able to carry this stuff around with a lot of people in the know.”

Abbey Holloman collects memorabilia from fellow Scouts associated with the Bird Study Merit Badge.

Now she looks forward to becoming an Eagle Scout. She knows firsthand how community projects can make a difference by watching her brother. To earn his ranking, he completed a project for Beech Mountain Sledding Hill building a fence to improve safety and benches for parents.

“My brother got his Eagle Scout a few years ago and I think it’s really cool that I can do the same through scouts,” she said. “A lot of people don’t have that chance and I’m really happy to have that chance. Scouting taught me a lot about the process of getting my Eagle and how to do things I couldn’t. do. do without the scouts. I’m very grateful that I was able to do this.

Future plans

Holloman is the daughter of Tim and Elizabeth Holloman. The Topsail High School student plays tenor saxophone in the marching band, is a member of DECA (formerly known as the Distributive Education Clubs of America), a professional and technical student organization. She recently joined a 4-H shooting club and plans to compete with her school’s track team in the spring.

“I’m very proud of her,” the elder Holloman said of his daughter. “She is a very busy person, between scouting and school, so I am delighted to share this experience with her.”

He worked for the City of Topsail Beach and remembers his son participating in the first flag raising as a Webelos Scout for Town Center Park.

“This project is very special for our family, so I just love spending time with Abbey and Michael, and she’s done great things with everything she’s been involved in,” Tim said.

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After graduating from high school, Abbey said she would like to join the US Navy or the US Marines Corps. If she becomes a marine, she would like to be part of the group.

Abbey was one of many Scouts from the Cape Fear area scheduled to attend the 2023 World Scout Jamboree in South Korea. The event gives Scouts from different countries a chance to interact with others. Holloman and other local unit members raise money for the overseas trip.

“I think she’s a hard worker like most Scouts around the world and a great example of what the organization stands for,” Crowder said.

Journalist Chase Jordan can be reached at [email protected]

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