News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

Cub to Eagle: Grant’s Scouting Evolution


Since the age of five, senior Elliot Grant has been on the journey towards becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouting.

Over the years, Grant has learned about survival skills and earned over twenty merit badges. He is now  dedicated to his service project at Nicasio Autistic Ranch. Time is of the essence as Grant will turn 18 in November and a Boy Scout can only be awarded Eagle if they are under 18.

Even though Grant’s Boy Scout journey is coming to an end soon, he will never forget how much this brotherhood has meant to him. “Boy Scouting defines me,” Grant said.

Grant’s father, an Eagle Scout himself, has always passionately described the unique community to Grant and his older brother Laird. According to Grant, these stories inspired him to join the community and helped him solidify his passion for the brotherhood and the goals he wanted to accomplish as a Boy Scout.

Along with his father’s stories, Grant was inspired to become a Boy Scout while admiring his father’s actions around the community.

“One time while my father and I were driving, he slammed down the brakes and rushed out of the car to help an old lady unload her groceries. I remember watching from the window and thinking how remarkable that was and how I wanted to be like that one day,” Grant said. In 2003, Grant became a Cub Scout and devoted three hours a day after school to the Scouts.

While a Cub, Grant learned about basic survival skills and techniques: setting up tents, backpacking, and fishing. Along the way, he received various merit badges for the completion of specific skills, which included archery, leather working, and first aid. Cub Scouts are the lowest level of Boy Scouts followed by Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star Scout, Life Scout, and Eagle Scout. As of right now, Grant is a Life Scout and has earned all the required eleven merit badges in order to reach Eagle.

The last factor that will determine Grant’s ability to finally achieve Eagle is the completion of his service project in Nicasio Autistic Ranch.

“In order to become Eagle I had to discover a problem in a community and design a project to better the community,” Grant said.

When Grant stepped onto Nicasio Autistic Ranch for the first time he was surprised by the amount of children in wheelchairs unable to participate in horseback riding. This sparked Grant’s idea to design a raised garden bed at the ranch as an alternative. “I wanted to provide an alternative learning environment for the kids who couldn’t ride,” he said.

As a sophomore, Grant discovered exactly what the Eagle Scout service project demanded of the individual while helping his brother with his own. Now that he is responsible to coordinate and design his own project, Grant is in charge of collecting all of the necessary donations for the project’s construction, gathering volunteers, and making sure they show up. Additionally, as a part of the project requirements, Grant is restricted from physically contributing to the project. Through the ranks, Grant has become a physically engaged leader. To reach the rank of an Eagle Scout, Grant must learn how to lead from a different angle. “My project is bullet proof but people are really flaky. It’s the one thing I can’t account for,” Grant said.

When Grant discovered the type of project and community he wanted to develop, he had to pitch his project design three times before an Eagle Scout master, a board of 30 parents, and the Eagle Scout board.

“That was really scary,” Grant said. “Now that I’m doing this project there’s so much bureaucracy I have to deal with and it’s really not washed.”

The garden bed is being made out of scrap wood, and so far Grant has collected $225 from the Tiburon and Mill Valley Rotary Club to help with the building and the installation of the automatic watering system.

All of Grant’s dedication to the garden has helped him realize the true reasons for why he loves being a scout.

“The personal gain I get from helping others is extremely powerful,” Grant said. This project is the culmination of everything Grant has learned since he began as a cub, especially the skills it takes to be a leader. Grant’s most recent leadership role was when he led a group of 60 boy scouts for two weeks during a backpacking trip, where he discovered how much he valued and respected others. “I have a lot more respect for people now and I know how to carry my own,” Grant said.

“Elliot’s really become focused on getting his Eagle in the recent months, and I’ve seen a rare rise of him that most people aren’t used to experiencing,” senior Gavin Sakamoto said. “Usually he’s the laid back, fun guy that we’ve all become accustomed to, but as soon as he’s focused on something important, or serious, his Boy Scout side kicks in and it’s just constant hard work until the task is done.”

Grant has been dedicated to the Scouting tradition for the past 12 years and doesn’t plan to let it go. “I don’t know what other peoples’ heritage is, but [Boy Scouting] is mine. I’ll never abandon my heritage.” Grant said. ♦

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