Eagle Scout Project Honors Women's Dipsea Hike by Making Custom Bibs
Corinne Hunt with her custom bibs for the 2022 Women's Dipsea Hike
As a 16-year-old student at Redwood High School working toward her Eagle Scout rank, Corinne Hunt of Tiburon is going back in history 100 years to tap into the Women’s Dipsea Hike for inspiration.
With March being Women’s History Month, Corinne is leading fellow scouts in Troop 1 to create custom-made racing bibs for the centennial celebration of the Women’s Dipsea Hike on April 30 starting in Old Mill Park in Mill Valley. Not only are Corinne and her scouts trying to honor women a century ago who were not allowed to compete in the then men’s-only Dipsea race or other cross country athletic events, Corinne wants to tell their story of determination and defiance through her own podcast.
This, she says, is the ideal Eagle project.
“They were historical pioneers, and their achievements reflected that,” Corinne says. ““It will sound like a cliche, but they were true pioneers in women's rights. Their accomplishments not only affected their generation, but also their daughters, granddaughters, and women to this day. I hope to significantly remember this project in my life and look back on it to draw inspiration and tell myself that I can totally do this just like they did that. Even if it's something as simple as just running in a race, which is outrageous that they couldn’t even do that in the first place. I really hope to learn more about what it means to fight for yourself and for the people around you and for your future generations. There is a whole legacy that comes with everything you do, and I hope to leave a profound and impactful one.”
This Eagle project, as legacies go, is more reflective of the important work female Scouts do. Corinne is one of the original 19 members of T1G in Mill Valley and has a Founders badge to prove it. In 2020, she was elected to the Order of the Arrow, an honor society of the Boys Scouts of America composed of Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives.
Corinne, who is thinking about majoring in business or pre-law when she goes to college, knew little about the Women’s Dipsea Race until about a month ago when she met Mari Allen, lead organizer of the Women’s Dipsea Race on April 30, showed up at a T1G meeting. Mari asked Corinne and the T1G scouts if they would be interested in creating bibs for the event.
“I thought `This is amazing. This is exactly why I joined the troop,’ ” Corinne said. “I was originally thinking about leading a construction project at Boyle Park for my Eagle project, mainly because construction is the traditional route for troop 1 eagle projects. As soon as Ms. Allen introduced the bibs making task, it clicked in my head that I really wanted to speak to her about this and I really want to evolve it into an Eagle project. This project is much more meaningful to me because of the history and the legacy of all the women who participated in the hike. I’m so thankful that I'm able to lead this with such a great support system.”
For now, Corinne and her fellow T1G scouts are spending weekends working to produce about 600 bibs for the Women’s Dipsea Hike, a tribute marking the final year of the event which started in Marin County in 1918 and ended in 1922. To meet the bib demand, Corinne is planning to divide 15-20 scouts into two groups; one to cut and size the 6 ½ x 8 ½ inch bibs and the other to paint numbers on them.
“We want to be more efficient, sort of following Henry Ford’s vision of efficiency,” she says.
Corinne’s goal to have all the bibs completed by mid-March so she can then turn her attention to producing and narrating her own podcast. She wants to invite guests to interview, such as Dipsea historian and author Barry Spitz.
“It’s really about their story and what the Dipsea means to them so other people can feel more connected,” Corinne says. “But the other half is talking about the Women’s Dipsea Hike history with the Scouts’ project tied to it.”
Corinne’s motivation for this Eagle project comes from many sources. Her grandfather, a Vietnam War veteran now living in Louisiana, introduced Corinne to the outdoorsy side of life. Her mother, Elizabeth, and her Scout troop leader, Lisa Gilmore, have inspired her with their work ethic. And Mari Allen is teaching her about the Dipsea and the Women’s Dipsea Hike.
“It’s all coming together nicely in terms of timing and its meaning. When Ms. Allen approached me about this opportunity and told me the history of the Women’s Dipsea Hike, I was shocked that something like this could happen in a place where I grew up. I was taken back learning they could not compete with the men, justified by physicians claiming it wouldn't be healthy for their reproductive health,” Corinne says. “Through the process of learning about the history of the Women’s Dipsea Hike, I’m glad to be in a time in history where I’m now allowed to do all these simple things such as being a scout and running in a race. With this project, especially with Women’s History Month so close to it, I'm able to connect it to girls finally being allowed to join Scouts only in 2019, and truly evolve it into something more than just bibs. There are layers and layers of history. It’s all coming together like a package. It means a lot to me and a lot to all the other girls in the troop. We are really honored.”
For Corinne, Scouts is more than earning merit badges and the Women’s Dipsea Hike is more than an event. It’s part of an evolution. Her bedroom floor is littered with sample bibs and she is spending more time on her computer communicating with her T1G members trying to create an assembly line to provide a commemorative gift for the participants, while also paying homage to women 100 years ago who gave a simple hike far-reaching impact and inspiration.
“It takes a lot of willpower to really want this because it is kind of a last hurdle for your final achievement,” Corinne says. “Having this Eagle project is kind of a nice celebratory ending project where I get to celebrate what I’ve learned through Scouts. I’ve grown as a communicator. I’ve grown as a teacher. I’ve grown as a person and as a woman in general.”