Rebecca Hooper kicks ass!

// 28 March 2009

It’s not often an article in the Daily Mail makes you smile, but I quickly wanted to share this one with you. This is too cute.


Rebecca Hooper, who is 9 years old, had become the first female Cub Scout to earn all 33 available badges, and it is believed she is the youngest ever to do so. When her Scout leader jokingly told her she had to get all the badges that exist if she wanted her silver award, Rebecca took her at her word.

She spent her summer holiday doing things like visiting an observatory (astronomer badge), cooking her family a roast dinner (cook badge), taking part in a litter picking campaign (global conservationist badge), growing beans and sugar crystals (scientist badge) and learning how to repair a bicycle (cyclist badge) .

She’ll be old enough to join the Sea Scouts next year, and she’s already got her eyes set on their 60 badges. And she wants to be a vet when she grows up. Anyway, I seem to remember a discussion a while back when we were talking about girls needing to have more positive role models in life than soap stars and singers, and I reckon this lass just might turn out to be one. Go, Rebecca!

Comments From You

Rhona // Posted 28 March 2009 at 1:06 am

Was pleasantly surprised when I came across this story in the Hate Mail (although not so surprised by the usual ‘whataboutz?!’-type comments about girls belonging in the Brownies, barefoot, pregnant etc).

What a smashing lass – here’s hoping she grows up to be a Nobel winning quantum scientist, breaks the land speed record and solves the global economic crisis.


PS – Kudos also to her parents, family and Scout leaders who have evidently told her that nothing is impossible, given hard work and dedication…that’s the sort of attitude that our girls need to succeed.

Lynne Miles // Posted 28 March 2009 at 2:21 am

I know, right? I double-love it because she’s done all this (presumably) surrounded by boys :o)

Victoria // Posted 28 March 2009 at 10:05 am

It made me smile too, although (much to my horror) I did find myself in sympathy with some of the readers who ask why she isn’t in Brownies.

I was a Brownie Guide and then a Girl Guide before the Scouts became mixed-gender. I loved it. In spite of my very pronounced disabilities, it was the one of the few places where I was treated as a person who could think for myself or understand polysyllabic words. I ended up with a sash crowded with badges because I was so determined to prove myself – horse riding, camping, interpreting, navigating, sailing, etc. Horse riding stuck, and I’ve met some incredible riders through various riding for the disabled organisations. I owe a lot to Guiding.

Several years later, I thought about returning to the Guides as a leader. I found that the number of badges available has been significantly reduced. They are also much easier to get. The type of badge on offer has also changed, and with it the type of activity. I stopped working with my Guide company after six months because there were only so many hair and beauty evenings that I could take. Yes, one evening of pampering can be fun. But when you’re doing it all the time? To my disappointment, it’s become the accepted norm that you join the Guides if you want ‘girly’ activities and you join the Scouts if you want the ‘proper’ stuff. I really wish that hadn’t happened.

Jennifer Drew // Posted 28 March 2009 at 11:11 am

Just proves that girls can achieve their goals when given positive encouragement and no Rebecca Hooper’s success is not a case of exception rather than the rule.

But because girls and women consistently receive negative messages, Rebecca’s success is seen as unique.

Well done Rebecca and this proves women and girls can achieve so much more if our misogynistic society ceases sending negative messages to women and girls.

Frustrated // Posted 28 March 2009 at 12:37 pm

Ahh that is amazing!

Can’t believe was in the daily fail though. That paper usually, you know, fails – although its commenters are on the ball

Kez // Posted 28 March 2009 at 1:39 pm

Great story! Well done, Rebecca.

Carrie // Posted 28 March 2009 at 7:41 pm

Victoria, that’s very sad – I’m a Guider myself. Though obviously there’s an emphasis on the girls choosing what they want to do, surely there’s leeway for you as the leaders to encourage them to try different activities?

Saranga // Posted 28 March 2009 at 9:09 pm


maggie // Posted 28 March 2009 at 10:45 pm

It’s a brilliant news item and congratulations to Rebecca, she’s brilliant! :)

Akela // Posted 28 March 2009 at 11:32 pm

Male cub leader here coming in peace! (Although not Rebecca’s leader I hasten to add)

I stumbled across this site by chance and it’s been interesting reading the coments on here and I thought I’d comment.

First yes, odds are that Rebecca achieved this in a group that was principally male. My pack typically runs with about 1 third girls and that is an unusually high proportion. The fact is that guiding is still more popular with girls than scouting. That said at cub age boys and girls don’t make as big a distinction between each other as older kids do and I honestly don’t think it would be any disadvantage. If anything the way girls begin to mature slightly earlier than boys she was probably at a slight advantage over the boys

Second, yes the comments from Mail readers being surprised that girls are allowed into cubs/scouts/explorers is furstrating and drives me to distraction. In fact the word “allowed” is the most annoying word of all. It’s not a case of girls being allowed to join in with the boys, far from it. Scouting has a particular ethos and it’s open to anyone, male or female. It has changed and I wish that was recognised more.

As for a our friends in the Girl Guides my experience is that what they do is variable. There are groups that are a bit more “girly”, whatever you take that to mean. Equally there are groups where the leaders are never happier than when they are throwing their girls off over hanging cliffs on abseil ropes.

I’d like to think of myself as feminist ally so will drop back some time assuming I’m welcome.

Lara the Second // Posted 29 March 2009 at 2:29 am

Victoria, I know what you mean. I was a Brownie and a Guide and I left Guides not long after the new system got brought in. It seems more about making Guiding “cooler” than anything else. It’s sad. I got a few badges, not masses, but I enjoyed working for them. It was nice to be able to proudly wear them on my sash.

Lynne Miles // Posted 29 March 2009 at 6:31 pm

I used to love getting badges too! I was really proud. But hated having to sew them on my uniform…

@Akela – of course you’re welcome :o)

Alice // Posted 29 March 2009 at 8:20 pm

Wow, that’s really impressive. When I was in Brownies I only managed a measly 3 or 4 badges.

Aimee // Posted 30 March 2009 at 7:57 am

I was kicked out of guides… so this is a sore point for me anyway…

Nicola // Posted 30 March 2009 at 10:43 am

Aww! That’s perked up my Monday :) What a superstar!

Proud Dad // Posted 30 March 2009 at 10:34 pm

As Rebecca’s proud dad I can say that Becca chose cubs instead of brownies simply because she preferred the range of activities available and doesn’t have time for everything!

While she likes “girly” (ugh, horrible label) things as well, as noted by Akela, boys and girls don’t distinguish between themselves so much at that age, so she doesn’t really see “boys” activities or “girls” activities, she just sees fun; just as it should be.

Never having been taught that she CAN’T do something she simply gets on with whatever she sets her mind to and competes on her merits rather than as a girl against boys, even on the rugby field. Kick ass – you bet

If she carries on the way she has started then she might well be a Nobel winning quantum scientist, break the land speed record, solve the global economic crisis, AND do her bit for global equality.

Victoria // Posted 31 March 2009 at 1:46 am

“As Rebecca’s proud dad I can say that Becca chose cubs instead of brownies simply because she preferred the range of activities available…”

That’s the thing that worries me about Brownies today. When I was a Brownie the activities that we did were indistinguishable from those that the Cubs did. Camping trips, canoeing, abseiling, martial arts, dancing, cooking, sewing, first aid – there was a whole range of things on offer. After the Scouts decided to take both boys and girls, there was a distinct change in the type of activities offered by the Brownies and the Guides. The choices dwindled and they became much more stereotypically ‘girly’. (I hate that label as well, which is why I put it in inverted commas.) I don’t have any problem with cooking or beauty nights, but it does bother me that this sort of activity is now the mainstay of Brownies and Guides, causing girls to look to the Cubs if they want to do a wider range of things.

It wasn’t just in my Guide company that this change took place. Other people whom I’ve spoken to have noticed it as well. As an ex-Guide I think it’s sad, that’s all. I wasn’t trying to belittle your daughter’s achievements with the Cubs. She’s done brilliantly.

Sabre // Posted 31 March 2009 at 10:55 pm

How could anyone not smile at this?! The photo itself has made my day! I really hope it does influence girls in a positive way and it’s so good to see a girl in the media for great achievement. And no baby pink in sight!

Katy // Posted 11 April 2009 at 8:51 pm

Wonderful! You just have to love the story, and congrats to the proud dad!

I was a Girl Guide (before scouts was an option) and, thanks to the organisation I was able to do stuff like orienteering, camping and flower arranging. My company wasn’t too girly by any means. Still, even though I was quite a tomboy, I’m not too sure if I would have taken part in Scouts even if I could have had the option.

I’m not too familiar with the new-look GGs, but I do think that both organisations are great for kids to get a chance to do stuff that they’d probably not do otherwise.

So, thanks to all the Guide and Scout leaders everywhere.

rebecca hooper // Posted 8 October 2009 at 5:17 pm

My name is Rebecca too so this is really cool! I feel like I have won loads of badges as well. No but seriously this is so cool.

Rebecca // Posted 29 October 2009 at 7:31 pm

wow u are talented!GUESS WHAT my name is Rebecca Louise Hooper and my b,day is on 13th Feb 2.anyway ur SO talented.Congratulations for being the number 1 female scouts.Enjoy sea scouts and i hope u pass ur vetinary test thing.

P.S dont waste ur life like me keep ur badges up.

Kath // Posted 30 October 2009 at 12:04 pm

Send your kids to Woodcraft Folk, f-worders!

Rachel` // Posted 29 January 2010 at 3:26 pm

Nice work.

I would love to earn all my badges too.

I’m in Canada and we have many interests badges just like you.

I think I will work on that.

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds