Guest column: Boy Scout Eagle project delivers benches to Torrey Pines State Reserve


By Drew Dohn

I enjoy camping and hiking, and when I was 5 years old my Dad and I joined the YMCA Adventure Guides where we had many fun camping adventures. In the fifth grade, I joined the Rancho Santa Fe Boy Scout Troop 766, where I learned self-reliance, citizenship, and character development while participating in camping, hiking, and educational and career-oriented programs. I learned to apply the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” to all aspects of my life. When it came time to decide on a service project for my Eagle Scout project (Boy Scouts’ highest rank), I wanted to do a project where I could build something for a local park where walkers, runners, bicyclists and tourists visit and appreciate the vast beauty of Southern California. The scenic views, beautifully maintained hiking trails and the overall friendliness of Torrey Pines State Park made it a perfect venue for an Eagle Scout Project.

My Dad and I met with the Torrey Pines Park personnel, and it was decided that I would build benches for the park’s visitors. The benches would be used on the park’s trails and in an area near the Park’s Visitor Center. We were given a schematic diagram for the benches, and my Dad and I, with the help of Frank Burham, a park volunteer, built a prototype one Sunday in July 2011. I then built one bench by myself to make sure I knew how to build the bench before I started to direct Scouts and school friends who would help me build the park’s benches.

Over Christmas vacation and the first part of January 2012, Boy Scouts and school friends helped me build, sand, and paint nine benches for the Torrey Pines State Park. It was a project where I learned budgeting, coordinating the effort and work of others, leadership skills and finally delivering a product that met the expectations of the park rangers. When my Dad and I delivered the finished benches to Torrey Pines State Park, I felt upbeat as the benches would be in an area to help the park’s visitors enjoy the magnificent views, watch the seals and dolphins play in the ocean, and, in general, enjoy the park’s spectacular and unique beauty. Torrey Pines State Park is a natural wilderness within an urban setting, and I was happy that my project could help others enjoy this beauty.