When many people think of Boy Scouts, they envision tasks such as tying knots and building fires. But for La Jolla resident and Pacific Ridge High School senior, Dillon Lerach, belonging to the historic group is much more than a sum of practical skills—it’s a way of life. Lerach was recently honored for his commitment to Boy Scouts of America by earning Eagle Scout rank, the highest rank in Boy Scouts. The private ceremony took place at the Rancho Santa Fe community center.
“I felt great because the Eagle rank serves as a culmination of your entire scouting career,” Lerach said. “It felt great to reach the capstone after all of that work. It really sums up all of the experiences I had.”
And Lerach isn’t short on scouting experience. After joining the scouts as a cub in 1st grade, Lerach immediately took a liking to the organization and remained committed to staying involved throughout his adolescence. He has since earned 37 merit badges, ranging from aviation to pioneering. He was able to finally earn rank as an Eagle Scout after completing a beautification project on Point Loma Native Plant Garden.
“I chose my project because my grandma lives near that plant garden and we would always go there,” Lerach said. “It functions as the center of the neighborhood and in recent years had fallen into disrepair. I wanted to restore it again so people could spend their weekends there and really enjoy it.”
As part of the project, Lerach renovated trails and restored an old fence. He reached out to friends and family for donations to purchase supplies such as wood, gravel for the trails and tools. With the help of his fellow Boy Scouts, he was able to complete the project in about two weekends. The park, which is part of the San Diego River Conservancy, is now more accessible to families and nature enthusiasts.
Lerach believes that this experience, and others throughout his scouting career, have not only helped him rise through the ranks of Boy Scouts of America, but will also help him in all of his future pursuits.
“When other people see that you’re an Eagle Scout, they know that you’re disciplined, loyal and trustworthy, and that you make good decisions,” Lerach said. “In terms of college, I think that Scouts does really help you become a leader; it forces you to be disciplined.”
Lerach plans to continue to remain a part of Boy Scouts of America by remaining involved with his troop and participating in the World Scouting Program, which gives scouts a change to explore other countries. He hopes to make a trip during the summer or 2013.
“I think what’s great about scouting is that you admire different things at different points of your career,” Lerach said. “Scouting shapes your character, helping you to be reverent, helpful, friendly and trustworthy. Once you add these things up, you see that they are really great characteristics and you’re able to take advantage of them.”
Lerach plans to continue living with the principles that Boy Scouts has taught him as he continues on to college next fall. He was accepted to Columbia University on Dec. 6 through early decision. Fluent in French, he hopes to double major in French literature and European history. As editor in chief of Pacific Ridge High School’s newspaper, he also hopes to write for Columbia University’s newspaper.