Scout Troop #108 Launches Eagle Scout Donovan Islas – Shifting the Pandemic from Obstacle to Inspiration

 Donovan Islas is a Culver City High School Senior and a Culver City Troop 108 Boy Scout, and now, he’s an Eagle Scout.

Early in 2020 he decided he wanted his project to be about refurbishing the vegetable garden at CCHS. Having several friends in the Garden Club, Donovan interviewed them and found there was a need to repair or replace the fence and gate, add some sort of storage for tools and together they came up with the idea of possibly building benches, a pathway and upgrading the irrigation.

Then, COVID -19 brought everything to a halt.

Donovan set a personal goal of making Eagle Rank by November, so he could put it on his November college applications for UCLA and Berkeley.

Scout Master Dan O’Brien offered “Donovan really is what any Scoutmaster would hope a scout would become as they culminate their time with the BSA. He has all of the traits that a scout should espouse, and he takes it to the next level with his own personal initiative and ownership of responsibility. Most boys – even the best scouts – need reminders and cues to do their duty at any given moment. I think this is true for most any person. Donovan is the rare self-starter. I’m extremely proud to have had him in Troop 108 and would love to take credit, but his accomplishments are a great testament to the love and support he gets from his family. It takes a village to raise a child in every way.”

By late May Donovan had completed the four Merit Badges required to rank up to Eagle. That itself was a challenge because those last four badges were done remotely with Counselors from Troop 108 and a Counselor from a Troop in Lancaster via Zoom meetings, Facetime, texting and many back and forth e-mails.

As early June came around, it became clear that the high school garden was not going to be able to be the focus of the Eagle Scout project, but a few days later, out of the blue, he told his parents, Andres and Erica Islas, he had an idea for his Eagle Project. He said, “I want to make Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Kits for the homeless.” 

Fast forward to a couple weeks later and a stop at Sorrento’s Italian Market for lunch. Donovan was with his dad, and the always affable Albert Vera he asked hen how they were doing. Donovan mentioned working on his Eagle and how he wanted to do PPE for the homeless. Albert said if he needed help, contact him because he was on the board for Upward Bound House.
That got the ball rolling, as the family was already connected to UBH.

Andre Islas, Donovan’s Dad offered, “I told him how his mom was one of the Interior Designers who designed a room for a family when the UBH Shelter opened on Washington Boulevard about 10 years ago. Although he was only 6 at the time he remembered and said that’s it dad I want to make PPE Kits for UBH.” 

In the weeks that followed he contacted Albert who put him in touch with Ally Piddock from UBH. After Donovan put together a list what was needed he shared the details of the project with his Eagle Scout Counselor, Bunny Saavedra from Troop 108.

Troop 108’s Assistant Scout Master Jerry Wiener noted, “Donovan is one of the most dependable individuals I know. He always does an excellent job on anything he is involved in.”

Fast forward to this past week in the final days of September, Donovan delivered 57 PPE Kits for adults and kids including masks, hand sanitizer, gloves face shields (for staff) and over 120 reusable masks. 

While the pandemic had originally been the obstacle, it became a part of the path and then, a focus for the goal. 

Donovan has completed his Eagle Project, sent in his Eagle Application with all the necessary paperwork, he is 99% there. He still needs his “Board of Review” just to make it official. Just waiting to tick the last box on a long list, but he’ll be pleased when it’s finalized and he can focus in on his next goal; college. 

Judith Martin-Straw

The Actors' Gang

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