Nationwide, only about 4 percent of Boy Scouts earn the prestigious rank of Eagle — the highest achievement in Scouting — based on completion of an “Eagle project” that benefits the community, earning 21 merit badges, participation in a leadership conference and other prerequisites.
But in the Marouf household of La Jolla, the percentage is much higher. With 15-year-old Andreas Marouf’s completion of his Eagle project, he became the third Eagle Scout in his family. Andreas, of La Jolla-based Troop 4, joins his brother, Kaiden, and father, Kaid, in touting the rank.
Andreas’s Eagle project was constructing a 50-foot retaining wall at Presidio Park near Old Town San Diego to keep mudslides, natural materials and other trip hazards off the trail.
“My main goal was to prevent risk,” he told La Jolla Light. “In that area, especially when it rains, there is a high risk for mudslides and falling trees, and the new wall has kept all that off.”
Andreas is most proud of the leadership skills he acquired during his years of Scouting, and said it took every bit of it to carry out this project over the summer of 2018 (the work was approved as meeting the terms of an Eagle project in December 2018).
“It took a really long time to plan it. We had a lot of limitations and we needed to plan around what we could and couldn’t do,” he said. “With the planning, a lot of it was talking to home improvement stores to see what they had and collect donations of materials, and work with area rangers to see what the needs are. I met with our Troop members and presented them with a slideshow to introduce what the project is and how the project benefited us and the people that use that trail.”
When it came to execution, Andreas created an agenda of tasks to delegate to his fellow Scouts, and led a team of 12 to construct and install the retaining wall over one, nine-hour day.
“You only have so much time and so many Scouts, you can’t afford any mess-ups in the project, so leadership was knowing how to be calm, cool and collected and leading as best as you can and be encouraging, especially at that eighth hour when everyone was tired,” Andreas explained. “I’m definitely very proud because this is something I can look at in the future and know I had a hand in making the area better.”
The Marouf patriarch, Kaid, completed his Eagle Scout in 1987. “For my Eagle Scout project I cleared a path and planted trees along the path of Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside. The section of path is part of a longer prayer path that the monks and visitors use,” Kaid said. “The trees have grown quite tall now.”
Following in his father’s footsteps, older brother Kaiden’s project was to build a new meditation gazebo for the Prince of Peace Abbey 30 years later.
Having an older brother and a father that made their way through the Boy Scout ranks inspired, but didn’t pressure, Andreas. “I knew (Scouting) would help me learn leadership and I knew I could work hard and become an Eagle Scout and join with my family, and would make that a generational thing,” he said.
But before he could earn his Eagle Scout recognition, he embarked in leadership and community exercises for several years.
“Originally when I was in (my troop), there was easy stuff to work on, but then I developed more responsibilities, more requirements to meet and more community-service hours and projects to complete. I learned a lot about leadership from watching older Scouts take a role and lead the younger Scouts in planning things. That taught me a lot of leadership. The younger Scouts can be reckless sometimes you need to focus them. I think that will help me in the future,” he said.
Andreas said he is also proud of the Citizenship in the Community merit badge he earned.
“It’s a difficult one in that you need to learn about your community and serve a certain amount of hours with a non-profit that meets a need. I volunteered at the La Jolla Rec Center, checking out equipment, cleaning courts and things like that. It taught me about my community,” Andreas added.
Of Andreas’ accomplishment, Kaid said, “It has been great fun to be part of his and my older son’s path to Eagle. Troop 4 and its leaders have done a wonderful job leading the troop and facilitating each scouts ability to be successful. As an Eagle Scout myself, it was great to see how he was able to develop his leadership skills with his peers and teammates.”