Four La Jolla Boy Scouts choose Coast Walk Trail for Eagle projects (2024)

La Jolla’s Coast Walk Trail got some extra love and attention in recent weeks, and not just from the Friends of Coast Walk Trail group that maintains it.

Four Boy Scouts from La Jolla-based Troop 4 completed their Eagle projects there, ranging from new benches to erosion control.

The Eagle rank is the highest achievement in the Boy Scouts, and only about 4 percent of Scouts nationwide earn the title. Eagle Scout candidates must complete a community project, earn 21 merit badges, participate in a leadership conference and meet other prerequisites. Projects must be completed before the Scout turns 18.


For Scouts George McCann and Cooper Smith, that meant construction of two new benches each along Coast Walk Trail.

“I live in the area and have walked the trail a ton, swam in the waters there,” Cooper said. “It’s just home, so it made sense to me to do my Eagle project at home.

“I wanted to have something that would last and that I could come back to and see. I’m really excited that I got to do my project here.”

Four La Jolla Boy Scouts choose Coast Walk Trail for Eagle projects (1)

Inspired by fellow Eagle Scout Dashiel Richardson, who created new benches for Calumet Park in Bird Rock, Cooper assembled the parts for his benches at home and built the benches onsite.

“I had to demo[lish] [a] bench that was here because it was rotting and old,” he said. “But it was great to actually get to build a new one. When you screw in that last screw and everything is completed, it was a really fulfilling feeling.”

George said he has friends who built benches in other areas for their Eagle projects, so he wanted to follow suit.

“I got to help my friends with their bench projects, so I had a little bit of experience and knowledge on how to build the benches and how to run things,” he said. “Plus, not only were new benches needed, I thought it would be a project I could lead as well. I thought the design process would be a lot easier, but it was much more precise than I expected. But in the end, it worked out well and the benches look great.”

George said he enjoyed “learning how to manage people” through the process.

“I like to do things on my own because it is hard for me to delegate,” he said. “So learning how to lead people was one of the better experiences for me.”

George’s project was built in late May, and Cooper’s was completed about a month later.

Recycling bin

The most recent addition to the trail is a recycling bin near the roundabout and trail entrance in the 7800 block of Prospect Place, designed by Scout Leo Souza and built June 24.

“There is a shortage of trash disposal areas, so originally I was going to install a trash can and a recycling bin, but the city [of San Diego] just installed a trash bin,” Leo said. So his project is “a simple bin made out of wood for recycling.” The city has agreed to empty it.

“We’re also cleaning up the walkway, repainting the railings, just to make it a little nicer,” he said.

Four La Jolla Boy Scouts choose Coast Walk Trail for Eagle projects (2)

“At times this process has been really stressful, but it’s been really exciting to do such a big project on my own and figuring all these things out and taking the initiative,” Leo said. “The whole design of it was challenging. … I just had examples and had to design it and build my own thing off of it.”

Motivated to reach the Eagle rank, Leo stuck with it.

“I wanted to do something that would have an impact on something close to home, something I could see every day and … would better my community,” he said. “I’ve had so many good role models that were Eagle Scouts. I saw all these older kids and they were doing such exciting projects. I would volunteer with their projects and I would have so much fun. They inspired me to pursue it.”

Rock path

Kaden Belt went off the beaten path — literally — for his project. He extended a rock path to help control the flow of water and mitigate erosion.

“The whole path was completely eroded by the rains and it was sliding off into the canyon, making it unsafe,” Kaden said. “So we decided to start where the previous rock path ended and dig out a new one and fill it with rocks that would slow down the water and guide it to the gutter below.”

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Using close to six tons of rocks, Kaden and 12 other Scouts spent days working on the path.

“We connected the previous one to the new one so it goes all the way to the end of the canyon,” Kaden said. “I really liked this project because I’m used to one-day projects and I wanted to do something different. I thought it would be a good experience for me and all the Scouts to take on a unique project that took more time.”

“It has been a tough and long roller coaster,” he added. But ultimately, “I wanted to see it through. To reach the Eagle rank is a great accomplishment.”

Another Eagle project from Troop 4 is planned to install post-and-chain barriers along the trail in August.

“The Friends of Coast Walk and the public at large are grateful for this community service group,” said Friends President Brenda Fake. “The impact is obvious following a project. … The overall kindness and verbal support of both the Scouts and FOCWT has created some of the best community engagement and outreach no amount of money can buy.” ♦

Four La Jolla Boy Scouts choose Coast Walk Trail for Eagle projects (2024)
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