Three Ahwatukee Boy Scouts from the same troop – including twin brothers – became Eagle Scouts in a joint Court of Honor ceremony Feb. 26 at Esperanza Lutheran Church.
David Neighbors and brothers Ewan and Fraser Darroch – all students at Desert Vista High School – attained scouting’s highest honor after completing community service projects.
The 16-year-old Darroch brothers, natives of Scotland who joined a Cub Scout pack when they were attending Cerritos Elementary School, followed in the footsteps of their older brother Alasdair, who also attained Eagle rank with Troop 78. He graduated from Desert Vista last year and is now attending a university in Scotland.
David, a senior, began his scouting career in first grade, and became a Boy Scout in 2011, graduating from Pack 78 to Troop 78, which is led by Scoutmaster Dave Merrill.
His project involved creating an obstacle course from pool noodles and PVC pipes for a 5K event to support hearing-impaired people during the 5K Walk 4 Hearing.
“The obstacle course was set up for the kids at the event so that they could run through and have fun before and after the 5k,” he said. “Before this, I was looking into some other organizations for projects but nothing really came to my until I learned about this one.”
He said the project taught him “the importance of planning and also adapting.”
“Much of the planning was done about a half a year in advance of the project, and the process helped me to set certain milestones over the course of the project,” he said, adding:
“As it came closer to the time of the project, certain changes had to be made as different factors came into play, like having less space than originally planned for and also having our setup time shortened by the shorter days of the year in November.”
A four-year member of the Desert Vista cross-country and track-and-field teams, he is a member of the National Honor Society and plans to enter ASU next fall to major in engineering.
Fraser and Ewan Darroch began their scouting career as Cubs in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2006 and joined Ahwatukee Cub Pack 879 four years later, moving into Troop 78 in 2013.
For his project, Fraser worked with Esperanza’s Children of Hope Preschool to build a wooden workbench, magnetic play wall and clean out the sand in their play area. “We also did a lot of landscaping work – planting and trimming trees and re-laying a lot of grass,” he said,
“I wanted to give something back to Esperanza,” he said, noting the troop meets at the church.
Fraser said he learned a lot from his work.
“I learned that undertaking a project of this size takes a lot of planning, and managing a large team of people takes a lot of leadership skills,” said Fraser, a member of the Ahwatukee Rugby Club.
Ewan worked with the Lost my Home Pet Foundation for his project. The group shelters dogs and cats whose owners have lost their home.
“We built an outdoor shelter for the volunteers to work in the shade,” he said. “I also cleared out a storage room and built new shelving units to help them organize pet food, bedding, toys, and so on.”
He also installed a new door post at the front entrance that allows the foundation workers to secure their screen doors so that the main doors could be open without the animals being able to escape.
Ewan’s project had personal roots.
“One of my family’s pets is a rescue dog, and I wanted to carry out a project for a shelter that cares for dogs who have nowhere to go,” he explained.
“I learned a lot about planning and carrying out a project involving a lot of work, a lot of people and a lot of planning and leadership,” added Ewan, who plays football for the Thunder and rugby for the Ahwatukee Rugby Club.