Off Schulte Road, Sanctuary Bible Church Carmel Valley is hosting the Carmel Valley Boy Scouts. These are the scouts of Troop 127, reminding themselves of the Scout Code. In the blink of an eye, senior patrol leader Philip DeCocco ends opening ceremonies and the meeting officially begins.
Pandemonium ensues as scouts break from their age-based patrols to scurry to get to work on various projects and activities. Carmel High junior Adam Morrison, a Boy Scout veteran, is busy helping younger scouts achieve their first ranking of Tenderfoot.
“I was a patrol leader of my patrol, the Flaming Arrows,” Morrison remarks, “but now I have moved on. I am becoming an Eagle Scout in about three months, so now I am a Webmaster and a mentor for the younger scouts. I really enjoy passing my knowledge to the less experienced members so they can enjoy what this experience has to offer.”
Troop 127 is a positive and interesting learning environment for kids of all ages. These young scouts are on a track to become Eagle Scouts, the most prestigious rank of Boy Scout.
“Only four percent of Boy Scouts actually become Eagle Scouts,” junior Michael Doyle says, “and it’s a very low percentage. But our troop has almost 130 Eagle Scouts and the troop’s been active for more than 50 years, which is about two Eagle Scouts per year.”
This long and winding road takes a lot of dedication and hard work.
“You have to do countless merit badges, do multiple projects that help the community, pass Scoutmaster boards of review, show Scout spirit, go to campouts and summer Scout events and hold multiple leadership positions where you take a huge role in the troop,” Doyle says.
However, these hours are exhilarating and full of outdoor adventure.
“The coolest thing that I have done as a scout was attend a summer camp called Camp Philmont,” Doyle remarks. “It is a hiking camp out in New Mexico. I hiked about 100 miles across 12 days.”
During the hike, Doyle hiked Mount Baldy, a 12,800-foot mountain. It was definitely a life-changing experience, where he had to manage his resources. A fun fact: Doyle actually got pack mules to use for about two or three days at one point.
Freshman Eddie Gutierrez is most fond of his cycling merit badge.
“We got soaking wet, but I didn’t care, and it was so fun,” Gutierrez says.
The troop also offers interesting merit badges, including Space Exploration, Truck Transportation, Veterinary Medicine, Nuclear Science and Water Sports, required to move up in ranking.
“The best merit badge is the SCUBA Diving Merit Badge,” seventh-grader Kento Husted remarks. “We learn about how SCUBA diving works and how to use the equipment.”
Another scout really enjoys earning the rock climbing merit badge.
“We go to a rock climbing gym and just climb,” he says. “It’s really fun.”
These boys come from almost every school in the Monterey Peninsula.
Sixth-grader Aiden Banks is a member of Troop 127 and attends San Benancio Middle School.
“I enjoyed Cub Scouts a lot, but my pack died out,” Banks says. “I looked around, and I found this troop. This troop [does] a lot more things than the other troops. I have learned a lot of things about the outdoors and life lessons through this troop, like obedience and respect. I believe this experience has definitely been worth the time commitment.”
The scouts often remark that Boy Scouts has helped them learn essential life lessons.
“I have learned to always be prepared,” Gutierrez says. “You never know when something unexpected is going to come up in life, as well as in Boy Scouts. To prepare for this unexpectedness, I have learned to always be ready for the worst outcome.”
Junior Mike Fletcher, an Eagle Scout, says, “Scouts has made me more prepared. It makes me finish my homework more, instead of procrastinating. It pushes me to do better.”
Scouts also helps students learn leadership skills and are a helpful boost to a student’s résumé.
“I am the assistant senior patrol leader,” Fletcher says. “I believe that by being in this position, I will become a better leader, which is a valuable skill in the future. Being a part of the troop and being an Eagle Scout will also get me into college because it stands out.”
According to DeCocco, the troop’s Scoutmaster, their goal “for the troop is to provide a safe, fun environment for boys to learn leadership skills that they can apply in all different types of applications.”