Scout’s Honor

Chronicle Staff

When Wesley Yip ’08 tells his peers he’s still a Boy Scout, he usually gets the same response.

“Seriously?” A laughing Alex Wittenberg ’08 asks Yip in the quad.

“What do you guys do? Tie rope?”

“No, not really,” Yip answers.

“We do stuff like project our spending for three weeks for a personal management project and make a budget based on that. I had to do a big report on it.”

“Oh,” Wittenberg says. “That’s actually useful.”

Charlie Hartwick’s ’08 scouting training turned out to be useful. One day while surfing at Venice Beach, his friend was hit in the head with a surfboard. Hartwick helped him from the water and applied pressure to stop the bleeding.

Boy Scouts is a program that starts in junior high school and culminates in achieving the prestigious Eagle Scout rank, an honor only five percent of Boy Scouts achieve.  In order to achieve this rank, a scout must complete 200 hours of community service and earn at least 21 badges, including nine written assignments.  There are more than a dozen scouts at Harvard-Westlake trying to rise to the Eagle rank.

Boy Scouts starts in seventh grade and members can achieve new ranks (Star, then Life, then Eagle) by getting the necessary number of badges and appropriate numbers of hours of community service for each rank.

“A lot of the stuff you do in order to get badges is like class work,” Star Scout Mark Rutter ’08 said.

To ultimately achieve Eagle rank, the scout must organize a community service project in which they commission 100-200 hours of service from others, as a testament to their leadership and management skills.

Robbie Lewis ’08 organized the cleaning of 2,500 gravestones and was required to submit a 70-page report on the project, and will rise to Eagle this month.

Lewis, a Life Scout a few months away from Eagle, is a part of Troop 26, which includes students Rutter, Hartwick, Tony Cuneo ’08, Michael Hartwick ’09 and about half a dozen others. 

While Yip’s troop meets regularly and in uniform, Lewis says his troop is more non-tradtional.

“I don’t think I have my uniform anymore.” he said. “People think that it’s a bunch of nerds tying knots together,” Hartwick said.  “Kids laugh at it now, but adults really respect it.”