TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- For Boy Scout Jacob De Alejandro, there was a long road to get to where he is today.
Jacob, son of deployed Master Sgt. Edward De Alejandro, 60th Maintenance Squadron, recently completed his Eagle Scout Project by building picnic tables for Rush Ranch Open Space, part of the Solano Land Trust in Suisun City, California. In a ceremony on July 25, Jacob was honored with scouting’s highest award.
The Eagle Scout project, which must be completed by a scout’s 18th birthday, gives scouts the opportunity to “plan, develop, and give leadership to others,” said Master Sgt. Bryan Rudquist, 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron aircrew flight equipment operations flight chief. “The Eagle Scout project also teaches management and shows service commitment.”
Rudquist is filling in as a troop leader for De Alejandro while he is deployed and serving as a mentor for Jacob while completing his project.
“My role was to be a facilitator, to help guide him through the whole process, keeping him on track and motivated,” said Rudquist. “A majority of the work fell to Jacob. He had to make a plan and follow it through to create a project benefiting an organization.”
Rudquist feels that the lessons learned in Boy Scouts will benefit Jacob later in life.
“These programs provide boys with guidance and a role model,” said Rudquist. “Parent nvolvement is great and necessary, but the structure we can provide is crucial. We are able to be there for the scouts when they are going through challenges, from setting up tents to creating budgets.”
By providing mentorship, scouts learn to make increasingly difficult decisions.
“I chose to build the tables because I knew it was a project I could handle and that could benefit the park,” said Jacob. “I also thought it would be helpful for the troop to gain the skills necessary to build these tables, so that they can make them in the future.”
The project helped Jacob learn about completing jobs from the start to finish.
“I faced a few bumps in the road with the project, from finding funding to making sure I kept the younger scouts motivated and interested,” said Jacob. “Even with the challenges we managed to get it done.”
Jacob was surprised to learn how much hard work would go in to the completion of his project.
“There was a lot to manage,” he said. “From picking up lumber, to motivating troops, facilitating and setting up meetings, it was all a new experience that I think will help me later on.”
Less than five percent of boys that are in scouting become Eagle Scouts.
Jacob is starting college this fall at Sacramento State University, and hopes to earn a commission out of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and become a lawyer.