Katie Neely

Photo by Tony Kukulich

Katie Neely of Discovery Bay has spent the past 20 months working toward a single goal: achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.

Katie Neely of Discovery Bay has spent the past 20 months working toward a single goal: achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.

Formerly known as Boy Scouts of America, BSA pivoted in February 2019 to allow girls to join its ranks. The organization also came up with a fast-track program allowing girls who joined to complete the steps necessary to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout in approximately 20 months. Katie said she has been working hard to complete all necessary requirements and be counted part of the inaugural group of female Eagle Scouts.

“I love Scouts so much,” Katie said. “It’s given me so many opportunities and so many different life skills . . . I just worked really hard, because I want to be in the first group of girls to get Eagle.”

Katie’s work has paid off. She is currently in the process of completing her Eagle Project, a community board designed to help the honorees of Discovery Bay’s chapter of Helping One Woman (HOW). Before shelter-in-place restrictions prohibited its activities, HOW hosted a monthly dinner for a woman who had suffered an irreplaceable loss. The monthly dinners would draw community support for the honorees and raise funds through ticket sales, raffles, auctions and donations. All funds generated would be handed to the honoree at the end of the evening.

Katie explained the community board will be a place for people to extend additional help to those in need beyond their one evening with HOW.

“For example, a carpenter may donate time to modify a house for wheelchair access, a teacher or college student may offer their time to tutor a child or sibling, or a hairdresser may offer to style wigs for a cancer patient,” Katie said. “People who have come to our dinners have expressed the desire to help . . . this community board will represent all of those willing to help.”

Debbie Neely, Katie’s mom and a founding member of HOW, noted the board will bring these donated services to the women who need them.

“The thought is there are people out there with skills do to this stuff who might want to volunteer, maybe a few hours, maybe a certain time of year,” Neely said. “This way, Katie would bridge the gap between the people in the community who have these skills and the people in the community who need the help.”

Neely also expressed the hope that community members looking to hire workers would check the board and patronize companies who support the local community. The board is also a way for HOW to continue to support women during the pandemic, when they cannot host their dinners.

Katie is currently working to raise money for her project, which will cost approximately $1200. Any funds left over will be given directly to HOW.

Brandy Woolman is the HOW Discovery Bay chapter leader. She has worked with Katie to help bring this project to fruition and said the board will be a wonderful tool for HOW.

“(Katie) knows that we have a community full of people who want to help beyond just attending our dinners,” Woolman said. “The community board meets this need and will give our recipients a way to find additional resources that they may need . . . from the start of this project, Katie has kept me informed, asked questions when needed and has followed through on everything she committed to. She is building great leadership skills and I am really proud of her and super excited for to roll out this community board when it is completed.”

For more information on Katie’s project, or to donate, visit https://www.howeagleproject.com/.

For more information on HOW, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/howdiscoverybay.