MHS Eagle Scouts Benefit Community

M. Neuburger

Madeline Neuburger

While one of The Boy Scouts of America’s statistics states that only two of every 100 boy scouts gains their Eagle Scout ranking, a strikingly large amount of boys from Miramonte High School have accomplished the feat.

Miramonte juniors Ross Andrews, Camron Stevens, Daniel Martis, and Brian Raaka have completed their initiation projects, and have either already had their acceptance ceremony in the Eagle Court of Honor or are waiting for their court date in April.

In order to become an Eagle Scout, which is the highest ranking within the Boy Scout program, boy scouts must complete five other ranks. To achieve these rankings, scouts must accomplish tasks such as community service or environmental knowledge and aid.

At the end of their training, aspiring Eagle Scouts must organize and execute a final project that will benefit a large number of people, the community, or the environment.

While some aspiring Eagle Scouts come up with their own project plan, others choose their idea based off of a request.

This was the case for Raaka, whose troop was sent a list of projects that were needed from Springhill Elementary School in Lafayette.

Raaka chose to create a shed in which students at the elementary school could store their garden tools, enabling them to safely garden with adequately maintained supplies.

“The actual process took a total of nine days,” said Raaka. “I had to make sure I had all the materials to dig out a footing, lay down rebar, and pour concrete. Next I built the shed, which was supposed to be prefabricated, but ended up being a pile of poorly cut wood.”

Though the Eagle Scout project is designed to be accomplished individually, they are allowed to have assistance and help with their projects.
In Raaka’s case, Tom Stevens, the father of Camron Stevens who also did an Eagle Scout project, aided Raaka in the construction of the shed.

“He helped me construct one of the nicest looking and sturdiest sheds in the area,” said Raaka. “Without his help I wouldn’t have been able to even start constructing the shed.”

Similar to Raaka, Andrews also came up with an Eagle Scout project that would benefit a local elementary school. Andrews chose to refurbish old benches on Glorietta Elementary School’s campus as well as create new benches for their students.

“I really wanted to do something at Glorietta because I live nearby and I had noticed how all of their benches had wood which was splintering, cracking, and bending,” described Andrews. “With the expanding class sizes, teachers needed to have some kids sit outside, and because of the poor quality of the benches some of the kids were getting splinters.”

Andrews’ project took a total of five days, which he spent working with friends and fellow scouts to create new wooden benches and remove the old benches.

“I got a letter from every single kid in the school thanking me,” said Andrews. “My project not only benefitted the school, because they got new benches; the project inspired them to enlist other Eagle Scouts to help them with projects. Now the students don’t have to worry about getting hurt on the benches.”

Stevens’ Eagle Project aided Glorietta Elementary School as well.

Stevens built a bench and trellis in memory of a Teacher’s Assistant, Toni Russel, who died of pancreatic cancer after 22 years of aiding teacher Tricia Newheart.

Stevens’ project was carried out during President’s Day weekend and took four days.

With the help of fellow scouts and friends, Stevens removed shrubbery and excavated the area, sanded the bench wood, paved the area with brick, and set up the trellis.

“Toni’s family really appreciates it,” said Stevens. “I’ve seen a lot of kids reading on the bench during gopher club.”

Martis, who became an Eagle Scout last year, chose to aid an orphanage in Leon, Mexico.

On a church youth group trip to Mexico, Martis noticed how badly many of the orphanages needed supplies and was inspired to use the cause for his Eagle Scout project.

“It was hard to talk with the orphanage directors because I couldn’t speak Spanish,” described Martis.

Yet despite the language gap, with the help of fellow scouts and the Santa Maria Youth Group, over the course of three months Martis was able to complete his Eagle Scout project by sending school supplies to an orphanage in Mexico.

Though the Eagle Scout project takes a large amount of work, dedication, and time between the physical labor and paper work, the rewards are huge as well.

“It takes a lot of hard work, including community service, long hikes, and first aid training, but in the end the satisfaction feels so great,” said Stevens.