Saluting Our Scouts

Four Boy Scouts from Troop 288 in La Crescenta recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Troop 288 is sponsored by American Legion Post 288.  

Zachary Blue
Zachary Blue began his Scouting experience as a Bear Cub in Pack 302. He participated in the Pinewood Derby, attended Camp Cherry Valley and marched in the Montrose Christmas Parade for three years. Blue earned the Arrow of Light Award and bridged to Boy Scouts Troop 288.

Blue continued to advance in rank as he attended summer camps at Camp Fiesta Island, Camp Chawanakee and Camp Kern. He also added to his merit badge collection during winter camps at Camp Trask. Blue’s favorite merit badges are Lifesaving and Rifle Shooting.

As a member of Troop 288, Blue has been whitewater rafting on the Kern River, snow camping on Mt. Piños, and High Adventure backpacking to Cottonwood Lakes. He has been a regular volunteer for numerous service projects such as Scouting for Food and Memorial and Veterans’ Day services at Two Strike Park. Blue was elected as a member of the Order of the Arrow by his peers in Troop 288.

In 2013, Blue was part of the Verdugo Hills National Jamboree contingent where he toured historic sites on the East Coast and was a participant in the National Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.

His leadership positions included troop guide, instructor, troop scribe and Navy patrol leader. For his Eagle project, Blue replaced old benches in the courtyard at St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church. He supervised a team of Scouts that removed the rotted wood and cut, assembled and painted new redwood benches.

Blue attended Monte Vista Elementary School, Rosemont Middle School and is a sophomore at Clark Magnet High School. His favorite subject is English and he also enjoys cinematography and drama classes. He enjoys playing the guitar, reading and playing video games.

Mark Webster
Mark Webster started Scouting as a Tiger Cub in Pack 360 and advanced through Webelos Scouts where he earned all the activity pins as he achieved Cub Scouting’s highest award, the Arrow of Light.

His friends and leaders know Webster as being very helpful, always willing to stay and help clean up or lend a hand when it is needed.

Webster joined Troop 288, which is sponsored by the American Legion Post 288. He has advanced past Eagle Scout by earning enough merit badges to qualify for his Bronze Palm award. Webster has earned three of the four religious awards for the Presbyterian Church: God and Me, God and Family, and God and Church.

Webster has been very active in the outdoors. He has been camping for 85 nights and hiked 217 miles. He has been on three weeklong backpacks, one to the Cottonwood Lakes area to experience the High Sierras, one to climb Half Dome, and one to the Lost Coast to experience the redwood trees. He has cycled 160 miles on road and mountain bikes. He is an experienced rock climber and has climbed in Big Bear, Joshua Tree and Stoney Point.

Webster was selected to be part of the Verdugo Hills Council contingent to the 2013 National Jamboree at the very first Jamboree at its new permanent home at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.

He has been a leader in the troop; he was part of the team that organized the Troop Guide program and helped prepare the curriculum, first as a troop guide and later as assistant senior patrol leader of Troop Guides. He served as patrol leader of the Ghost Wolves for many terms. He was voted by his peers in Troop 288 to be a member of the Scouting honor organization the Order of the Arrow.

Webster’s Eagle project was to rebuild a splintery old bridge for the kindergarteners at Dunsmore Elementary School. He installed new decking, fencing and painted handrails, and built cubbies to hold the kindergarteners lunch and jackets when they were in the playground. He supervised 26 people who invested 124 hours in the project in addition to the 40 hours he put in personally.

Webster plays alto saxophone for the CV band and enjoys online gaming with his friends. He hopes to stay active in the troop and earn his Silver Palm award as well as the last religious award God and Life. He plans to provide leadership to start a coed Venture Crew, Crew 288, with its inaugural year being 2014.

Daniel McPherson
Daniel McPherson started Cub Scouts as a fifth grade Webelos 2 in Pack 360 where he earned his Arrow of Light before bridging to Troop 288. He is thankful to Den Leader Andy Turner and Cubmaster Brian Stiles for leading and encouraging him.

As a Boy Scout, McPherson camped for 93 days and hiked for 320 miles. He traveled by bike over 227 miles and finished a marathon. His high adventures have included four multi-day backpack hikes: Tuolumne Meadows, Cottonwood Lakes, Mt. Whitney and the Sierras/Lost Coast. He went ocean kayaking to the Channel Island caves. He has white water rafted the local Kern River, Nenana River in Alaska, and the New River Gorge in West Virginia. He has visited 15 national parks including the Grand Canyon, Danali and Rocky Mountain. He flew in a seaplane to see the Misty Fjord National Monument in Alaska, and visited several national monuments in Washington, DC.

McPherson held Boy Scout leadership positions of den chief, assistant quartermaster, instructor, and assistant senior patrol leader. He was chosen to be part of the first Venture Crew to go National Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in 2013.

McPherson has participated in many community service activities. He has helped in Scouting for Food, Union Rescue Mission, various missions in downtown LA, Bailey Center located at Tujunga Methodist Church, and Box City, a fund raising event for Family Promise. Additionally, McPherson accomplished 50 community service hours as a junior lifeguard for the City of Glendale and served Pack 360 as a Den chief for two years.

McPherson’s Eagle project was to revitalize a Sunday School classroom at Glendale Presbyterian Church. He supervised 12 people and they went through everything: cleaning and re-organizing. The team was able to construct a whiteboard, repurpose a prop into a chalkboard, fill a dumpster with trash and create several multi-purpose areas.

Along with the outdoors, McPherson loves music and is part of the CV band and wind ensemble. He is looking forward to participating as a leader in the new Troop 288 Venture Crew and enjoying more high adventures.

McPherson has Alport syndrome and is in need of a kidney. He is on the transplant list at UCLA medical center. McPherson would like to help bring awareness to the public about this disease.

Kevin Backes
Kevin Backes started Scouting as a Tiger Cub in Pack 302 at Monte Vista Elementary School. He progressed through the ranks of Wolf, Bear and Webelos and earned his Arrow of Light award. He had many fun adventures in Cub Scouts including Haines Canyon pond fishing, attending an Ice Dogs hockey game, winning the Pinewood Derby as a Tiger Cub and competing each year, marching in the Montrose Christmas parade, bike riding up the Arroyo Seco and swimming in the creek, camping overnight at Santa Ana Zoo, bow and arrow shooting at Scout-O-Rama, collecting donations for the Marines in Iraq, competing in Scout Olympics, rock wall climbing, airplane flying, making sailboats and sailing them in Haines Canyon pond, touring JPL and running the robots, camping at Pereira Canyon, learning to rappel, BB gun shooting, model rocket building and launching, Scouting for Food, and finally bridging to Boy Scouts.  He appreciates the many leaders in Cub Scouts including his Cubmasters Bob Fletcher, Allen Farrington, Gilbert Bowman, and John Giese, and his dad as Den Leader.

Boy Scouts in Troop 288 brought new adventures including rock climbing at Vasquez Rocks, Joshua Tree and Big Bear, backpacking, bugler at the troop meetings and reveille at Fiesta Island and Emerald Bay camps, planting trees at Charlton Flats after the Station Fire, flying a glider high above Lake Elsinore, white water rafting, snowboarding, rocket launching at the muddy camp, leading troop meetings as assistant senior patrol leader, helping at the 9/11 commemoration at Two Strike Park, and working with friends for his Eagle project.

Attending camps was fun and included snorkeling, swimming and rowing at Emerald Bay camp, tents on the beach, and wake boarding and windsurfing at Fiesta Island camp, 50 out of 50 skeet shooting for the shotgun merit badge at Camp Chawanakee, the long train ride to Camp Baker and rifle shooting, camping, and playing in the sand dunes.

He appreciates the help of many Assistant Scoutmasters in Troop 288 and his Scoutmasters Bob Fletcher, Todd Neubrand and Andy Turner.

Backes held Boy Scout leadership positions of bugler, assistant patrol leader, patrol leader, and assistant senior patrol leader. For his Eagle project, Backes coordinated cleaning up and repainting the game room, repainting a window, and repairing the pool table at the Fire House at St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church.
Backes is a senior at Crescenta Valley High School.