On Sunday, 12-year-old Justin Paige became one of the nation’s youngest boys to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
Boy Scouts of America has not kept records of the age of Eagle Scouts, however, the youngest Eagle Scout on record earned the rank of Eagle in 1955 at the age of 12 years 3 months. Paige earned the rank of Eagle at 12 years, 11 months.
“It was important for me to become an Eagle Scout before I turned 13,” says Justin of his accomplishment. “So I just worked hard to make it happen.”
The rank of Eagle Scout requires Scouts to be active in his home unit for at least 6 months, demonstrating living by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in daily life, earning 21 merit badges, serving in one or more leadership positions for at least 6 months and, of course, completing a service project. Justin earned 42 merit badges, including 12 Eagle required badges and held multiple leadership positions. Only 5 percent of Scouts earn the rank of Eagle.
Justin’s project included the fabrication and installation of an 800-pound steel storage box at the top of Kite Hill in Laguna Niguel, required more than 200 man-hours by Justin and the team of 21 volunteers he assembled to complete the task. Justin not only managed the project but participated in each phase, from sketching the blueprint, to pouring the cement pad, to welding the box to hauling it and securing it in place.
“It was a monumental project,” says Justin’s dad, Mike, who drove the 12-year-old to meetings with the welders, city managers and other professionals whose involvement was required to complete this month-long project. “It was like so much of life: we had rain delays and design problems and personnel issues. It was a great training ground for Justin’s future.”
Donations of time, service and or products came from Perkins International, Sepulveda Building Materials, Ganahl Lumber, Laguna Niguel Parks Department, the Kite Hill Flyers, relatives and scout families.
Diane Wollenberg, Park Ranger II, Laguna Niguel Regional Park, in her thank you letter to Justin noted:
“From beginning to end you followed the path prescribed by BSA to ensure you achieved your goal and completed your project.” She then continued, “The leadership and flexibility you demonstrated paid off and guaranteed a successful final work day and fine project you can be proud of.”
Through his years as a Scout, Justin has enjoyed hiking, backpacking, camping, canoeing, public speaking and most of all the camaraderie of his Scouting brothers.