Just one day before his 18th birthday, Matthew Qualls of Troop 36 was awakened on Wednesday, August 15th to screaming coming from his neighbor, Dale’s apartment backyard. He looked out the window and saw smoke. Matthew then grabbed a hammer and broke into the fire extinguisher case in the hallway of the apartment building and ran next door. He entered the home and ran to the fire to assist putting it out, after his neighbor stated she didn’t know how to use one. Matthew then instructed her to call 911, which she stated another neighbor was already doing. He was focused on keeping the fire from going up the walls when the extinguisher ran out. Out to the hallway he ran again, grabbing another extinguisher. He kept this up until the fire department arrived on scene.
There are seven families who live within the units and would be without a home if not for Matthew’s intervention. Neighbor Dale stated, “Thank God for your son in helping me put the majority out! What a Boy Scout!” Matthew’s ability to handle this situation calmly and efficiently was a direct result of the training instilled to him by the Boy Scouts. After taking the Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge, First Aid, and overhearing his mom teach Crime Prevention, Matthew became one prepared Scout! “I knew where everything I needed in an emergency was because I am in the Scouting program.”
Besides learning lifesaving techniques, this newly 18-year-old is very into the great outdoors, having gone to over 150 campouts! He especially appreciates the trust put into the youth in the Scouting program. He states, “We are allowed to fail. In life, we are competing and have to succeed; in Scouting, our failures are also our successes.” We at the Orange County Council know you have truly succeeded!
Due to the damage from the Canyon Fire 2 last October, the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center is underway in building the new Adventure Hill, allowing us to continue providing the great experiences that many Scouts and students have come to realize over the years.
David Johnson, an Eagle Scout and a Den Leader for Pack 227 in Huntington Beach, visited the IROEC with his large and very active Pack last year. David provided the IROEC with just one of the many stories they receive about how their educational and team-building programs have helped change lives.
“We held our summer family campout at IROEC last year. It was a wonderful experience and made it easy on the families (some of whom are new to Scouting). We received two large open mowed grass fields that included plenty of picnic benches under coverings, a set of restrooms and showers, and short walking distance to the cafeteria for each meal. We set up our family tents, had a campfire, and even spotted the International Space Station pass overhead. The IROEC set us up with a fun adventure hike, a large swimming pool with amusement park-like slide, panning for gold, zip-line over a ravine, and much more. The IROEC camp counselors were really dialed into the kids as they were fun teachers on lots of adventure subjects.
I’m in the unique situation to have experienced IROEC services in a non-Scouting scenario. My wife is a high school English teacher in a Title 1 area (impoverished). She receives incoming Freshmen students that perform below basic in English. Most are underprivileged, have little academic support at home, and have never stepped out of their immediate surroundings let alone slept in a tent or felt the fear of a high-wire adventure course. My wife and I brought these students to IROEC for a two-night experience that changed their lives. It was the first time they slept away from home, experienced team-building programs, stepped out of comfort zones with high-wire and zip-lines, and were asked to lead in small group discussions. Frankly, for most of them it was the first time spreading their wings. IROEC provided the open, safe atmosphere with an all-inclusive program including lodging, meals, programs, and great camp counselors. The entire experience was so positive that the school district recently funded our second annual trip. IROEC’s Leadership & Your Development Director worked with us to make our second year even better. Some of these students start out with very little prospects and their issue in English is rooted in social / economic issues that IROEC’s program help to overcome. Nearly all will exceed in her class and excel beyond basic, most of which will qualify for four-year colleges as the first in their families to do so. IROEC plays an important role in that journey.
IROEC’s mission is unique in that it provides BSA’s principals and offers BSA’s wealth of experience to all youth in Orange County. Youth programming is as important now as ever. I volunteer a lot with my son’s school, and I see too many children seeking after school programming with nowhere to go, nothing to do. The future is our children, yet most are stuck watching commercial TV programming for lack of anything meaningful. IROEC provides the entire county with programs that stimulate growth in body, mind and spirit. Although BSA is the foundation, the IROEC provides BSA principles, expertise, safety, adventure, learning, facilities, programs and passion for all youth in Orange County. IROEC is a shining example of BSA outreach and life-changing success that is not limited to BSA-specific programs.”
On October 9, 2017, the Canyon Fire 2 forced the evacuation of the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center and while no large structures were lost, the damage was significant. Almost one year later the ground has been broken in preparation for a whole new Adventure Hill!
The groundbreaking ceremony took place last Saturday, August 4th with a breakfast and social followed by a ceremony taking place at what will be the landing zone for the new Anaheim Ducks Quad Zip Line. Over 40 community leaders, volunteers and families were in attendance.
Adventure Hill, which will be built by Aerial Designs, will consist of 3 major components; the climbing and rappelling tower, the Challenge Course, and the Anaheim Ducks Quad Zip Line. The climbing and rappelling tower will be a total of 44 feet tall with 36 feet of climbing surface. The tower will have 9 different routes of varying difficulty. By utilizing auto belay technology, our staff will be able to better serve participants with a safe and challenging experience.
The High and Low Challenge Course, designed with a pole structure and internal bracing, will include 18 high elements, 4 of which will be wheelchair accessible. The 15 elements situated below the high ropes course will provide participants with low ropes initiatives that promote team building.
The final component will be the Anaheim Ducks Quad Zip Line. Our original zip line featured two lines, so we decided to double the fun with four! Much like the high ropes course, our zip line will include an accessible ramp. The zip line will also have covered departure and arrival platforms and will extend over 300 feet across the canyon! These rebuilt and expanded program areas will allow the IROEC to continue to provide a quality program to the thousands of youth that visit each year.
We are very excited for this new phase for the IROEC and are so grateful for the support we have received from the community and supporters like you.
We all know becoming an Eagle Scout has benefits not only to the community, but to the Scouts themselves. Thanks to the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA), five Scouts from the Orange County Council BSA are receiving a little help with their college tuition. Michael Kao, Dan Ta, Joel Kattapuram, Dalton Bourne and Ryan Leung were recently awarded scholarships by the Board of Regents and Officers of NESA. We heard from four of the five Scouts about their accomplishments!
Michael Kao, from Troop 97 in Fullerton, was one of four Scouts nationwide to receive the Mabel and Lawrence S. Cooke Eagle Scout Scholarship for 2018. This scholarship is the largest awarded by NESA. It is awarded based on school and Scouting participation, academic performance, and financial need. Michael will be attending Stanford University in the fall, with hopes to study either Engineering or Public Policy. Michael’s favorite part about Scouting was making new friends and meeting new people. Stating, “All of the camping and activities wouldn’t mean much without a friendly and supportive community that supported me and got me out of my shell. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and confidence from learning how to approach people of all different ages, troops, and places.” After receiving this scholarship, Michael said he intends to “use this scholarship to continue to follow the ideals of Scouting the next four years and beyond and excel in college in hopes of helping to improve the world through my studies and further endeavors.”
Dan Ta from Crew 1930 in Westminster, received the Hall/McElwain Merit Scholarship Awarded based on his school and Scouting participation and community service. This is given to 80 Scouts nationwide, 20 from each region. Dan will be attending University of California Irvine to study Business Administration with a minor in Political Science and Computer Science. His fondest memories of Scouting include the countless backpacking trips with his Crew and the recent Vietnamese Venturing Supercamp hosted in Catalina Island. Once receiving this scholarship, Dan said it “reaffirmed the values and life lessons Scouting has taught me. Every penny this scholarship provides me allows me to pursue education without worry.” He hopes to pay it forward to future Scouts once he is older.
Joel Kattapuram, from Troop 604 of the Saddleback District, received a NESA academic scholarship by the National Eagle Scout Association scholarship selection committee. Joel, Dalton and Ryan were chosen among the 9,200 applicants, which shows their outstanding accomplishments.
Joel will be attending the University of California Berkeley in the fall to study Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He hopes to start a tech company and be in leader in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Through Scouting he was able to test out a variety of different activities from bouldering to cycling. But most of all he enjoyed the people, ““I never want to miss an opportunity to spend time with the people I love or help another human being in need.”
Dalton Bourne, from Troop 973 of the El Camino Real District, received a NESA academic scholarship by the National Eagle Scout Association scholarship selection committee. Dalton will be attending Brigham Young University next fall, then he will go on a two year mission/service trip. After this mission, he will return to finish his undergrad and apply to a medical school to become a pediatrician. Dalton is extremely grateful for all the opportunities Scouting gave him, “both to serve others and make memories of my own”. He is honored to receive this scholarship and knows it will help him achieve his goals at BYU and beyond.
Ryan Leung from Troop 578 of the Orange Frontier District, received a NESA academic scholarship by the National Eagle Scout Association scholarship selection committee.
The window for the latest round of National Eagle Scout Association scholarships opens today — Aug. 1, 2018. It will close for good on Oct. 31, 2018. These scholarships award the best of the best, and they are extremely competitive. About 3 percent of the expected 5,000 applicants will receive a scholarship. If you’re an Eagle Scout between your senior year of high school and junior year of college, you’ll want to apply and give yourself a chance at earning some cash for college.