By Kate Lee,
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest youth development programs. Since 1912, more than two million young men have demonstrated leadership experience, outdoor skills and survival knowledge to earn the highest rank offered: Eagle Scout.
Among those who are working to become or have already become Eagle Scouts are several Davis High students.
The requirements for achieving the seventh and final Boy Scout rank include earning 21 merit badges, holding a leadership position within the troop and leading a community service project.
“A merit badge is a patch you get after learning and demonstrating the proper techniques of a specific task,” senior Boy Scout Tom Thornton explained. “For example, one requirement for the ‘Wilderness Survival’ merit badge included building a shelter from scratch and spending the night in it. That is one of the more fun merit badges to earn.”
Thornton started out as a Cub Scout in first grade, and is now almost done with the Eagle Scout process. He finished his Eagle Scout project about a month ago, but there is still some more paperwork to process before he’s done.
“I don’t quite have that feeling of being done yet, but knowing that the 130 hours of work I put in for my project are done is a relief,” Thornton said.
Thornton’s project was to build and install eight trail signs along the 15-mile Berryessa Peak Trail on the northeast side of Lake Berryessa. He recruited three of his friends to help him carry the signs and tools along the hike with him.
Thornton and senior Josh Gieschen both found the hardest part of their Eagle Scout projects was getting the proper permits and approval to follow through.
Gieschen became an Eagle Scout in 2013 with Davis Troop 66.
“My project was renovating a dirt patch by the University Covenant church,” Gieschen said. “I put in a bike rack, re-did the sprinklers and underground wiring, paved the ground and put in plants.”
“The best part was definitely the satisfaction of completing six years of working up the ranks,” he added. “I was motivated by all of the extremely admirable Eagle Scouts I had met and by the intrigue and challenge of the requirements.”
Sophomore Kyle Kordana has reached the rank preceding Eagle Scout, which is Life Scout. He’s currently working on some of the required badges needed to become an Eagle Scout.
“I plan on doing my Eagle Scout project within the next couple of months,” Kordana said.
To start an Eagle Scout project, a Boy Scout has to pick out what he wants to do and then contact different organizations to offer his services.
“I want to do something for [Davis Parent Nursery School], but I haven’t decided on an exact project for them yet,” said Kordana, who attended the school as a child and hopes to be able to give back to the organization.
Senior Matt Grabert has been a Boy Scout for seven years and became an Eagle Scout last month.
Grabert’s Eagle Scout project was building ceilings at the Yolo County Animal Shelter in the building for cats. The shelter wanted ceilings for the individual rooms to prevent the cats from climbing on objects and getting trapped in the air ducts. It also allowed the shelter to use a cat jungle gym that had been donated to them.
One of the challenges Grabert faced was getting his group together on a day that was convenient for everyone. He was working on his project in the middle of his high school football season, so he was already very busy. However, he said it all paid off when he put up the final panels of the ceiling and saw the final product.
“It felt really good to be finished because [becoming an Eagle Scout] had been a long term goal of mine and will stick with me for the rest of my life,” Grabert said.