LB Eagle Scouts soaring with an advantage in leadership skills

Three scouts say they showcase their leadership skills through community-service efforts, career pathways

Dominic+Gawel%2C+an+Eagle+Scout+from+Long+Beach+Boy+Scouts+of+America+Troop+212%2C+is+pictured+leading+a+team+to+build+a+recycling+center+at+the+Westerly+School+of+Long+Beach+during+his+tenure.
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LB Eagle Scouts soaring with an advantage in leadership skills

Dominic Gawel, an Eagle Scout from Long Beach Boy Scouts of America Troop 212, is pictured leading a team to build a recycling center at the Westerly School of Long Beach during his tenure.

Dominic Gawel, an Eagle Scout from Long Beach Boy Scouts of America Troop 212, is pictured leading a team to build a recycling center at the Westerly School of Long Beach during his tenure.

Photo by Frances Gawel

Dominic Gawel, an Eagle Scout from Long Beach Boy Scouts of America Troop 212, is pictured leading a team to build a recycling center at the Westerly School of Long Beach during his tenure.

Photo by Frances Gawel

Photo by Frances Gawel

Dominic Gawel, an Eagle Scout from Long Beach Boy Scouts of America Troop 212, is pictured leading a team to build a recycling center at the Westerly School of Long Beach during his tenure.

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High school seniors across the country are waiting on their college-acceptance letters.

There are many categories a student can fill to become competitive for their dream college– straight As, a perfect SAT score, one-too-many extracurriculars and volunteer hours, for example.

However, the majority of students do not affiliate their time with the Boy Scouts of America, something that can potentially give a leg up when applying to colleges and jobs, according to local Eagles Scouts.

Dominic Gawel, Bryan Le and Noah Dyo are veteran Eagle Scouts from the Long Beach area. In a recent interview, the three of them spoke on what it means to be an Eagle Scout, what they have learned and what impact the rank has had on their life.

Lord Baden-Powell, a British general and founder of modern-day scouting, led a military-like program in Great Britain for younger boys– which inspired the creation of the Boy Scouts organization (Scouts BSA) in the United States in 1910.

The Eagle Scout is the highest rank a person can earn in Scouts BSA.

“Nationally, 6.57 percent of all Boy Scouts earned the Eagle Scout rank,” according to the Long Beach Scouts BSA website. A service project and 21 merit badges are examples of the many requirements to become an Eagle Scout.

Gawel, from Long Beach BSA Troop 212 and a sophomore at Western Colorado University, said he officially became an Eagle Scout on July 27, 2016. During his time as a Boy Scout, he accumulated 46 merit badges.

“It is definitely one of my biggest accomplishments in my life,” Gawel said. “The Eagle is symbolic [in] that you soar higher than the rest but [stay] humble. They say once you are an Eagle, you are always an Eagle. It is symbolic of my entire career as a scout.”

For Gawel’s service project, he created a recycling center at Westerly School of Long Beach.

“The process is meant to be challenging,” Gawel said. “Most people [Boy Scouts] you ask should say, ‘I had a very difficult time with this. I had challenges here.’ Something that was pretty hard was drawing out and getting the exact plans [for the project]. I did not have much of an architectural background or the materials to do these things, so you have to research all this stuff.”

Gawel’s experience as a scout inspired his career plans to become a mountain guide. At the moment, he has chosen to major in both recreation and outdoor education, and environment and sustainability.

Photo by Asher Luna
Antonio Jorgensen, an Eagle Scout pictured doing auto extraction, at the recent Los Angeles County Fire Department Explorers Academy Class 61 Graduation ceremony.

Le, a first-year aerospace engineering major at California State University, Long Beach, earned the Eagle Scout rank on Feb. 21, 2017.

“It is one of my first self-driven achievements,” Le said. “For Boy Scouts, I willingly went to meetings every week, I willingly put in the work to get through the rankings and willingly put in the dedication to become an Eagle Scout. […] One of the biggest things that I have learned from my Eagle Scout project is that, when you plan stuff in life, there is a point when you can plan too much, and it won’t impact anything. No matter what you do sometimes, stuff will go wrong, and you have to be flexible.”

His Eagle Scout project consisted of replacing the sprinkler lines and repainting the benches at Faylane Park in Garden Grove. Flowers and plants were also used to help beautify the park. The delivery truck that was supposed to transport Le’s plants broke down.

“Luckily, one of my dad’s friends was not working that day and had one of those big work trucks, so we were still able to get the flowers over there [a little later],” Le said.

A Long Beach Polytechnic High School alumnus and a third-year nursing student at Azusa Pacific University, Dyo earned the rank of Eagle Scout on Jan. 12, 2016. He was awarded “The Most Outstanding Eagle Project of the Year” for the Long Beach area in 2016.

“I think it is more about the journey to earn the rank, especially because a lot of Boy Scouts have the lack of drive or ambition,” Dyo said. “It’s more like overcoming a societal pressure. It is about developing leadership skills and problem-solving skills. It’s about how you want to serve the community and about your ability to be ambitious, as well. The biggest obstacle was making my scouting journey mine and not anyone else’s.”

This experience with Scouts BSA has allowed Dyo to gain skills to recognize and solve a problem with the tools given to him at any moment.

“If I did not do my Eagle Scout, I would argue that I wouldn’t have gotten into nursing school, because the rank has so much rank to it,” he said. “Without it, I don’t think I would have the leverage to stand out.”

To achieve his degree as a nursing major, Dyo must learn to assess a patient’s situation and solve their medical problems.

Dyo constructed a food-pantry ministry for the City of Cerritos for his Eagle Scout project. The pantry is 14-by-12 feet and is located at Cerritos Baptist Church. He led his team of volunteers and sealed the floor of the closet to prevent bacterial growth in the concrete. Dyo and his team assembled three movable wire racks, a wooden cart and wire shelves to store food.

A few weeks ago, he was attending church for worship practice when an older woman approached him. She was looking for the pantry to get some rice.

“[Before] my project, there were no food pantries in the City of Cerritos,” Dyo said. “At the time, I wasn’t sure if the food pantry was still being run. The pastor said he was looking for me and said, ‘Come inside the pantry. We are still open.’”

Gawel was introduced to Scouts BSA as a 1st-grader. It is a memory he has not forgotten.

“There was this first initial meeting and a whole bunch of running around of little kids– I just remember that,” Gawel said. “They bring in the Boy Scouts, that is what inspires you to go farther. You see these much older people.”