Eagles soar at Saratoga

September 12, 2008 — by Mira Chaykin and Nathan Kim

Boy Scout Troop 581 of Saratoga will advance four deserving Eagle Scouts this year, seniors Grant Fukui, Chris Rea, Mihir Sathe and Kevin Shimizu. These four students have worked together for about a decade to achieve Boy Scouting’s highest honor, the Eagle Scout rank, which they will receive in a couple of months.

When the four joined Boy Scouts years ago, they hoped to become Eagle Scouts.

This was unquestionably easier said than done. The quartet had to complete an array of tasks, ranging from obtaining mandatory badges to going on campouts, to reach their desired aspiration.

Boys may enroll in Boy Scouts once they’re beyond fifth grade, or have achieved the Cub Scout equivalent of the Eagle Scout rank, the Arrow of Light. Once enrolled, a Scout has until his 18th birthday to complete a series of five ranks prior to Eagle.

“Getting to Eagle is pretty straightforward,” said Rea. “It’s a goal you work towards in small steps, which get bigger and bigger in a snowball effect.”

The biggest challenge in this 10-year process is the Eagle Scout Project. This project must be a well-planned community service that will benefit a group and consists of at least 100 hours. The project organizer usually recruits Scouts from his troop or other helpful individuals.

This group of four tackled their projects at local schools, and completed them this past summer. Sathe re-finished the planter boxes and murals at Saratoga Community Preschool. In addition, Sathe replaced the various plants in the planter boxes with new ones. He completed his project on Sept. 7.

Fukui, a drama aficionado, built six new wooden theater slats for Hyde Middle School.

“The slats are going to be painted and used as scenery for [Hyde Middle Schools’] drama productions beginning in January,” said Fukui.
Rea chose to re-finish the benches at Redwood Middle School. Fortunately, the middle school and his troop, to avoid any unnecessary expenses, supplied his materials. Rea finished his project on Aug. 3.

Shimizu completed his project in Saratoga High’s very own music quad, building a new bench and refurbishing an old one. After discussing his plan with music director Michael Boitz, he was funded by the Saratoga Music Boosters for the equipment.

Shimizu is involved with the school’s choir program and wanted to work on a project that would benefit the music department. He picked out a project with Boitz after realizing that the corner outside the choir room did not have a bench like the one in the band quad.

According to Shimizu, at any one time there could be three to seven people working on the site. Shimizu totaled 120 hours on his project, which he finished on July 30 this summer.

“I think Kevin’s project was wonderful,” said Boitz. “It’s amazing how the aesthetics of the environment can contribute to the overall climate of the atmosphere.”

Within the next year, the four Eagle-Scouts-to-be will “age-out” and no longer be Boy Scouts. However, they will share a wealth of memories of the exhausting backpacking trips through mountain trails, crackling campfires and weeklong summer camps.