Soaring Eagles in the Conejo Valley

Boy Scouts Benefit Community with Eagle Scout Projects

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Since 1910, Boy Scouts throughout the world have been striving to uphold these traits, a mission recognized and celebrated on National Boy Scouts Day, Feb. 8.

“Boy Scouts provides an enormous opportunity to experience what life has to offer and it is unique to no other program for our youth and adult volunteers,” says Dave Edson, outgoing Scoutmaster of Newbury Park Troop 754. “Where else can you make deep friendships, explore the great outdoors, learn so many valuable life skills, develop confidence, practice leadership, give back to your community, honor your country and exercise your faith?” asks Edson.

Conejo Valley’s multitude of Boy Scout troops serve the community by cleaning up litter, collecting and distributing food, participating in beautification and conservation projects, and supporting the military.

About 6% of Scouts (about 170 annually in Ventura County) complete a community service project and earn the prestigious Eagle Scout Award. This year, four members of Troop 754 join the ranks of the 85 Eagle Scouts produced by the nearly 45-year-old troop. Founded in 1972, Troop 754 is sponsored by Thousand Oaks Elks Lodge #2477 and is supported by a dedicated group of parents.

“Scouting is a wonderful program that allows the boys to learn and practice outdoor skills, citizenship, preparedness, leadership and working within a core set of values,” explains Marie Edson, Cub Scout Pack 3753 Den Leader for the four new Eagle Scouts. “From the littlest Lion Scouts all the way to Eagle, Scouting keeps reinforcing these same ideals, year after year, in an age-appropriate curriculum. I have had the unique opportunity to travel the entire 12-year scouting journey with these young men…I am so proud of the men that they are becoming and so grateful to have been a part of their journey.”

Dave Edson adds, “These boys, and others like them in Scouts, have created a lifetime of memories that they will always cherish. There is no greater gift that I could ever receive than the times I had watching these young boys grow up to become strong, confident men.”

Rhys Davis, 18, Newbury Park High School Senior

Rhys spent 253 hours designing and constructing a garden with planter boxes, trees and a fountain for NPHS students with special needs for his Eagle Scout project.

“Rhys had a thought that turned into an inspiration,” says Ann Alvarez, NPHS special needs teacher. “Through hard work, extensive planning and his leadership, he was able to turn an open space into a peaceful and inviting garden retreat.”

Also involved in band, water polo, swimming, rugby and academic decathlon, Rhys started in Cub Scouts as a Tiger with Pack 3753. As a Boy Scout, he has backpacked nearly 120 miles in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, camped 127 nights and earned 35 merit badges. He attended six summer camps, including Camp Buffalo Bill in Wyoming, participated in the National Youth Leadership Training in 2015 and canoed 65 miles at the Northern Tier High Adventure Program in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota. Rhys plans to attend Humboldt State University and major in Marine Biology and Aquatic Sciences.

Andrew Edson, 17, Newbury Park High School Senior

Andrew undertook an erosion control project at the Lighthouse Church in Newbury Park for his Eagle project. The task included removing a 175-foot dirt walkway, adding materials to direct water flow and backfilling with over 30,000 pounds of gravel and was completed “in the nick of time,” says church member Brendon Ripley.

“With the first significant winter storm forecasted for the weekend, Andrew’s project eliminated the erosion and created a much more aesthetically pleasing feature to the landscape,” says Ripley. “Andrew converted an old decomposed granite path that was being eroded away by the seasonal rains. Each time it rained the runoff would wash mud onto the main entrance leading from the upper parking area to the church entrance. Not only did it create a mess, it was unsafe.” Andrew says he was thrilled to give back to the church that has provided his troop with a wonderful facility to use each week.

Joining Cub Scout Pack 3753 as a Tiger in first grade, Andrew spent 138 nights camping, attended seven summer camps, sailed through the Bahamas and earned 43 merit badges. Andrew’s scouting skills recently helped save a life of a teenager who was having a seizure and had sustained a head injury. Using his scout training and knowledge gained in his Sports Medicine class, Andrew kept the teen safe, assessed for concussion and apprised emergency personnel when they arrived.

Andrew plans to attend Moorpark College this spring while finishing high school. His goal is to earn a doctorate in physical therapy.

Kenton Luck, 17, Thousand Oaks High School Senior

Kenton spent 175 hours polishing a chrome Lancer statue and sanding and priming a section of hallway on campus for his Eagle project.

“Among those students who have pursued and completed their Eagle Scout Award, Kenton Luck stands out as a scholar, musician and leader at his school and within the community,” says TOHS Principal Lou Lichtl. “His project enhanced the aesthetics of our campus, and his dedication to the Lancer Family is appreciated.”

Active in the Wind Ensemble and Marching Band for four years and the Jazz Band for three years, Kenton joined Cub Scout Pack 3753 in 2008 as a Webelos in fourth grade. He attended five summer camps, hiked 63 miles, camped 64 nights and earned 41 merit badges. Kenton has played with the Gold Coast Wind Ensemble at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and plans to attend CSUN majoring in Jazz Studies on the trombone.

Maverick Milnes, 18, Newbury Park High School Senior

Maverick logged 169.9 Eagle project hours constructing a railing for accessibility and refurbishing picnic tables at the Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park.

“Maverick did an excellent job planning and building the fence railing to help people with disabilities travel safely to access the path from the adobe building to the Chumash ap.,” says Mitch Okui, Eagle Project Coordinator for the Stagecoach Inn Museum, Eagle Scout and former Scoutmaster for Troop 730.

A member of the water polo team, Maverick began Cub Scouts as a Tiger in Pack 3753. He attended seven summer camps, hiked 52 miles, camped 116 nights and earned 46 merit badges. He also attended Camp Buffalo Bill in Wyoming and sailed through the Bahamas.

Maverick plans to attend Embry-Riddle University and major in Cyber Security.

Conejo Recreation and Parks District Board of Director Chair Ed Jones espouses the Eagle Scouts’ community contributions. “Not only are there the hundreds of readily-apparent, beneficial, tangible projects that have been constructed by the Eagle candidates, but perhaps, even more valuable, has been the ethical, patriotic and spiritual tone these fine young men and their Scout Leaders have set for their comrades in Scouting and other young people in our community. To me, they and their supportive parents have provided a significant portion of the moral backbone of our community.”

Visit BeAScout.org for more information about the Boy Scouts of America.