Archive » May 31, 2012
Spaar sworn in as Eagle Scout
By Willis Jacobson, Staff Writer
Surrounded by dozens of friends, family and fellow members of the Boy Scouts of America, Kenny Spaar III received the Scouts’ highest honor over the Memorial Day weekend as he was sworn in as an Eagle Scout.
In a ceremony held May 26 at the Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church, Spaar maintained a near-constant smile as his scout leaders, family members and even Solvang mayor Jim Richardson extolled his virtues as he joined an elite class that only about 5% of Scouts reach. In addition to those accolades, he was also commended via written notes from Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the latter on White House stationery.
After being sworn in, Spaar thanked everyone for coming – including his parents Kenneth Spaar Jr. and Miyuki Spaar – and said that many of those in attendance were instrumental in helping him reach his goal.
“I couldn’t have done this without them,” he said of his friends, family and Scout masters, “but I also wouldn’t have done this without them pushing me.”
Spaar, a senior at Santa Ynez Valley Union High, said the friendships that he was able to forge are what he will take away most from his experience in the Scouts. He also said he will never forget many of the adventures, including noteworthy treks in which the weather and/or terrain did not want to cooperate. Those unfavorable conditions, Spaar noted, only helped grow the friendships among his fellow Scouts, several of whom are also Eagles.
“You don’t really know a guy until you’re back to back in a latrine sharing one roll of toilet paper,” Spaar told the audience. “That’s how you make friends.”
Spaar’s grandfather, Kenneth Spaar Sr., is a U.S. Navy submarine Veteran and presented his grandson with a patch from the Navy Sub Veterans congratulating him on a job well done. Kenny III returned the favor by presenting his grandfather with a mentor pin.
As an example of one of the ways his grandfather influenced him, Kenny shared a story from when he was 7 years old and, wanting to act older, made coffee milk – “mostly milk with a little coffee.” He said his grandpa looked over at him and asked what he was doing. After telling his grandpa that he was making coffee, “He says to me, ‘Kenny, only women and children put milk in their coffee,’” Kenny recalled, drawing laughter from the audience.
“I still drink it black to this day,” he said.
In order to become an Eagle Scout, Spaar had to earn 21 merit badges in various crafts and skills. He also served in a troop leadership position for a minimum of 16 months, spending at least 13 hours on service projects, not including the many hours spent on his Eagle Scout service project. In all, he completed approximately 325 different requirements to meet the minimum standards and was approved by the Eagle Board of Review.
For his service project, Spaar led a group of 14 Scouts in widening and extending a trail at Rancho La Scherpa. The group also made the trail more hospitable to hikers with benches and stairways at hills.
Noting that the improvements will help everyone who uses the trail, Mayor Richardson thanked Spaar for his efforts and also presented him with a certificate of achievement from the city of Solvang.
“This is a great honor for me to be here for this presentation,” Richardson said. “I was amazed and surprised to see that we have seven Eagle Scouts in our Valley in Troop 41, and what a wonderful thing that is. These are our future leaders. These are the people that are going to lead us to prosperity.”