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If any girl in the foothills can become an Eagle Scout in 19 months, Karolyn Hilquist can.

The 17-year-old Evergreen High School senior expects to attain the Boy Scouts’ highest honor at the end of September — in time to put it on college applications.

Boy Scouts of America began allowing girls into the organization on Feb. 1, 2019, and Karolyn joined Troop 818 immediately.

She has completed her community service project in which she cleaned up the pavilion area at Bear Creek Cemetery, added a picnic table and put in plants along the walkway. She still must pass a board of review to become an Eagle Scout.

“To be the first in the mountain area is really exciting, and I’m glad I got my project done,” Karolyn said.

Driven to succeed

Scout leaders and her family call her driven, organized and detail oriented.

“She’s a go-getter,” said Arturo Gutierrez, who has been involved with Scouts in the foothills for many years. “It’s amazing in the short time I’ve known her what she’s been able to accomplish. She’s been hard at it ever since the day she started.”

Gutierrez has served on two boards of review for Karolyn as she’s moved through the Scouting ranks, and he said she is so organized that she always knows when she is eligible to move to the next rank.

“She has the ability to see a bigger picture better than most kids,” said Scoutmaster Sarah Krzanowsky. “When we are trying to think of what we need to go camping, she has the ability to think through the problem more than the rest. She takes on challenges … and she is a mentor the younger girls.”

Her mom, Beth Hilquist, said she is a smart and motivated person who has always liked everything that Scouting is about.

“She always watched her brother in Scouts and said he got to do the cool stuff,” Beth explained. “She was already planning her path months before she could join.”

The joy of outdoors

Karolyn finds being with the girls in Troop 818 to be fun, and she enjoys camping and outdoor activities.

“We work together as a team, set up tents, cook, develop skills that will help us in the future,” said, Karolyn, who plans to study environmental science in college.

Gutierrez added that Karolyn’s accomplishments are helped in part because of the support she gets from her parents, who are both Scoutmasters.

Scouting is not her only interest. Karolyn is in the outdoor leadership program at Warren Tech, worked on trails with Rocky Mountain Conservancy, was on the EHS swim team and before COVID-19 worked as a lifeguard.

A role model

Mom Beth called Karolyn achieving the Eagle Scout goal fantastic.

“I’m very proud of her,” Beth said. “When she sets her mind to something, she’s very capable. It’s nice to see her reach her goal.”

For Krzanowsky, Karolyn is a role model for other girls.

“To see someone they know accomplish it,” Krzanowsky said, “gives them hope that it’s not a pie-in-the-sky idea. It’s more real to them. The message I want them to get is whether you want to be a firefighter or an attorney, go for it, do it. If that’s what makes you happy, you can do it.”

Karolyn, too, hopes her accomplishment will allow other girls to see what they are capable of.

“It’s exciting to inspire and influence other girls to reach their goals and to encourage other girls to think about their possibilities,” she said. “I’m really glad we have the opportunity to lay the foundation so we can recruit younger girls and get them interested in outdoor activities.”

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1041.