How does a sixth-grader with no camping experience, little interest in the outdoors and no knowledge of the Boy Scouts go on to reach the organization’s highest-rank, Eagle scout, in just a few years? It starts by taking risks.
When JP Chiu, SJND ‘22, entered middle school at Assumption School in San Leandro, he only knew two people, Matthew and Marcus. These two friends urged him to join their Boy Scout Troop and after some hesitation, JP
decided to check it out. Over the course of the next four years, JP would find himself pushed beyond his comfort zone in ways he had never experienced, from his first camping trip, to coaching a chess team, and eventually to his capstone project of sourcing, developing, and distributing emergency preparedness kits to the community.
In order to reach the rank of Eagle Scout one must meet strict requirements including earning 21 merit badges and according to the Eagle Scout rank requirements “plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community.” JP spent most of 9th grade completing his badges and coming up with his project. “My project idea was to create, or was to make, emergency kits. And this was before COVID. So I like I didn't even know, something was gonna happen,” he remembers. Little did he know how useful the kits, which contained masks, would prove to be!
Boy Scouts teaches you how to get out of your comfort zone and teaches you how to be a leader.
JP Chiu '22
In order to create emergency preparedness kits for his community, he had to raise $3000, source and purchase the materials, build the kits, and create a partnership for distribution with a local organization. JP doesn't consider himself much of a conversationalist and doing all this outreach really challenged him. “Boy Scouts teaches you how to get out of your comfort zone and teaches you how to be a leader,” states JP.
JP and his scout troop building kits in his garage
By December of 2019 JP had assembled 50 emergency preparedness kits and distributed them himself in partnership with the Alameda Food Bank. His most favorite part of the project was seeing the impact it had on the recipients, “it was really cool meeting the clients [recipients of the kits] because it's like, you get that connection with them,” JP recalls fondly.
JP at the Alameda Food Bank distributing the kits
Even though JP completed his project towards the end of 2019, he didn’t receive his official Eagle Scout rank until February 2021 due to pandemic-related delays. Now that JP is an Eagle Scout he is dedicating his time to helping his fellow scouts earn theirs. If you’re considering joining the Boy or Girl Scouts JP has the following advice:
“You should join the Boy Scouts because it helps you get out of your comfort zone. I mentioned earlier that I am not a really strong communicator. I was not really a big fan of camping, going outdoors, doing all these other like Boy Scout activities, but Boy Scouts made me appreciate it a lot more.”