By Kathy Day
Consider this: About 2 percent of all Boy Scouts achieve Eagle rank. In Troop 782, four of the 40 members just achieved that goal.
“That’s a little unusual,” said Richard McGuire, scoutmaster for the troop that includes youth from Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carmel Valley. “Usually we have one in a year.”
Three of the new Eagle Scouts – James Hunter, Noah Toyonaga and Nick Post – have been together since they were Cub Scouts. The fourth, Adam Woodnutt, joined them when he and his friends moved up from Cubs.
Once the boys set out on their path to Scout’s highest rank, they must select a project, design it, raise funds for, recruit volunteers and execute it. Along the way they learn a lot about themselves while building their leadership skills, a point noted by all four of the newly minted Eagles.
They all faced challenges along the way, but each said that made the learning process more valuable.
“I learned a lot and got more insight into what the world is like,” said James, a sophomore at Torrey Pines High School. He had to get permits, approval from the school and interact with company officials as he built and installed eight benches on his school’s tennis courts.
Noah, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy who built and installed bat boxes in the San Dieguito River Park, said Scouting “was a pretty big factor in shaping who I am. ... You learn to tie knots and build tents, but you also learn character and leadership skills and working with others.”
Adam, a now 16-year-old CCA junior who repaired and replaced stairs and part of a trail in San Dieguito Park, said he learned a lot about organizational skills. “The biggest challenge was finding the right time and getting everyone there,” he said. (Adam was 15 at the time he completed his project and was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.)
Nick, also 16 and a junior at San Dieguito Academy, installed benches and river rocks around his school’s veterans’ memorial to protect it from students who sat on it and skateboarders who used it as a spot for tricks. He said leading adults was a big part of his learning process.
“Some were not necessarily completely receptive,” he said. And then there were the younger Scouts “who didn’t want to work.”
Here’s a bit more about each of the boys and their projects:
A member of the TPHS tennis team who lives in Del Mar, he picked courtside benches as his project after talking with the coaches. He had first planned to redo the benches outside, but the coach said the players would appreciate having some on the courts, he said.
He raised money by contacting members of the boys’ and girls’ tennis teams and arranged for donations to go through the school’s foundation so they could be tax deductible. He also applied for and received discounts and a grant through Lowe’s corporate office that helped pay for all of the hardware for the project.