Troop 2 BSA Santa Monica to Award Eagle Scout Rank to Seven Local Youth
The Eagle rank honors exemplary effort, leadership, and service
June 8, 2023
In June 2023, seven Santa Monica teenagers will be recognized with the highest rank one can earn in the Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America).
The seven Scouts are Isaiah Armour, Jacques Winn Barnett, Oliver Berger, Jacob Grossman, Anthony Joseph (AJ) Matise, Isaac Rockwell, and Kyle Spiteri.
Rockwell and Barnett are graduating from santa monica high school, Spiteri is a junior. Grossman is a sophomore in Santa Monica High’s Project-Based Learning (PBL) Pathway. Matise and Armour are graduating from Loyola High School, and Berger graduated from Geffen Academy last spring.
All seven Scouts will be honored at the Troop 2 Eagle Court of Honor on Sunday, June 11 at the Kuruvungna Village Springs on South Barrington in West Los Angeles.
The Eagle rank honors exemplary effort, leadership, and service. Only eight percent of Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle. In addition to demonstrating proficiency in first aid, citizenship, camping, swimming, emergency preparedness, and many other skills, Eagle candidates must coordinate and complete a community service project that demonstrates significant leadership abilities. Each of the Scouts being honored led a major project to
improve the quality of life of people in the community. All of the projects included many hours of work by other Troop 2 Scouts, working under the direction of the Eagle candidates.
The 2023 Eagle Scouts completed the following community service projects
For his Eagle Project, Armour built a cabinet system for Claris Health, a West Los Angeles non-profit women's health organization that serves underprivileged women in the wider Los Angeles area. The cabinet system is used to store health kits, and the project included the assembly of over one hundred and fifty kits. The most challenging aspect of the project was the
assembly and installation of the cabinets, but the Scouts got the hang of it quickly and the installation came out great.
The Gabrielino Tongva Sacred Springs are an oasis in West Los Angeles dedicated to the area's indigenous Tongva people. For his Eagle project, Barnett supervised the draining of one of its major ponds and clearing the basin of leaves and debris. Troop 2 Scouts also cut back dead and overgrown plants and restored the surrounding paths. The center piece of the project
was Jacques' design and construction of a walking pier over a pond using planks sawed from a recovered live oak tree. This pier serves as both a maintenance platform and as a spot over the water where visitors can contemplate the natural and spiritual aspects of the Springs and the rich history of the Tongva people.
Berger's project involved assembling critically needed hygiene kits for the St. Joseph Center, an organization that provides social services to the homeless community. Ultimately, ninety-seven kits, containing razors, women's hygiene products, and other essential toiletries, were assembled and donated. Berger says that the project's most challenging aspect was the
transfer of liquid hygiene products from large containers into hundreds of small bottles.
For his Eagle Project Grossman designed and constructed thirty-two rabbit houses for the LA Rabbit Foundation, a nonprofit focused on providing care and shelter for abandoned rabbits and educating the public on the proper care of rabbits.
Grossman says the hardest part was gathering and transporting the wood planks needed for construction. He was especially proud that his project exceeded the goal of twenty-four rabbit homes and that he was able to get all of the building materials donated. Grossman would like to extend a special thanks to Bourget Brothers in Santa Monica
for their generous donation.
Anthony Joseph (AJ) Matise
For his Eagle project, Matise designed and constructed eight redwood
planters to brighten the appearance of the playground at St. Timothy School
in Los Angeles. Though the primary goal was to improve the appearance of
the children's play area, the planters also serve as educational tools by
allowing students to grow their own plants. Matise says the most challenging
part of the project was coordinating his Scout teams to build all the planters
simultaneously so that the project could be completed on the required
Rockwell's Eagle project was for Adrian's Place, a Santa Monica community
center with programs and resources for teens and transitional-aged adults
with special needs. The project involved the construction and finishing of a
"green wall" adorned with drought-tolerant plants, contributing beauty and a
calming atmosphere to the center. The wall's creation involved a surprising
number of engineering, aesthetic, and gardening challenges. Rockwell’s efforts have been met with gratitude from the staff and students at Adrian’s Place, and has renewed his commitment to making a difference in his community and setting a positive example for his peers in the process.
Spiteri's Eagle project was to build a science center for Mount Olive Preschool in Santa Monica. Two bookshelves were assembled and installed, then stocked with science books and science kits with science materials for all eight classrooms. One hundred individual science experiment kits, one for each preschooler at Mount Olive, were also included. As a toddler,
Spiteri attended Mount Olive Preschool, and his little brother, Landon, currently attends, which made his project especially meaningful. Spiteri has been able to inspire and create learning opportunities for not only his little brother, but also the current and future students of Mount Olive.
For graduating seniors, achieving the Eagle rank also means the scouting experience comes to an end. These accomplished young men were asked what they will remember most about their years in scouting.
My favorite experience with Troop 2 was the 2022 Minnesota canoeing trip. I got to travel through the Minnesota Boundary Waters with my dad and friends. On the first night, there was a large lightning storm. Lightning struck very close to our campsite on the island we were on. On another day my Dad and I were canoeing across a bay in heavy winds and our canoe
capsized on some rocks. There was another canoe team with us and another
scout and I had to problem solve the best way to get back to the rest of the
group waiting for us across the bay. Together, we were able to reload our
packs, move to a less windy area along the coast and relaunch our canoes.
Thankfully, we rejoined the rest of our group safe and sound. Through the
lightning storms, crazy wind, mosquitoes and leeches we encountered during
our high adventure week, we all had an amazing journey we will never
Reflecting on my scouting journey, one of the most memorable moments for
me was when we were camping in the Angeles National Forest. One
morning I woke up to a surprise snowfall while still in my tent. Memories
like that make me so grateful that I joined Boy Scouts.
Anthony Joseph (AJ) Matise
Although all Troop 2 events are filled with unforgettable moments, my favorite memory is the First Class mystery camp. I was paired with another scout who brought a brand new tent that he said was of the "utmost quality."
It wasn't until we reached camp that we realized the tent's rain fly wasn’t functional, and of course, that night it rained hard ... really hard. I remember waking up shivering, and realized I was sleeping in a two inch deep puddle.
Unable to sleep, the other Scout and I bonded over our misfortune, talking throughout the night. When the sun came out, we were relieved and went on to successfully earn the First Class rank. Memories like these help remind me about how much Troop 2 has helped me grow as an individual. By being placed in uncomfortable situations and learning how to remain calm, I am now confident I can face any obstacles in my future!
I have had many great memories from my years in Troop 2, but the most notable was the high adventure trip to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota in 2022. At the end of the first day, after hours of canoeing and a particularly long portage, we had to endure a massive thunderstorm that went all afternoon and into the night. It was a daunting start, but we awoke the next day to a beautiful blue sky and enjoyed a day of canoeing through tall reeds and lily pads. The next day we braved extremely high winds, but the day after that we were paddling through areas of lush flora and diverse wildlife.
Due to higher water levels we did not have to undergo another grueling
portage, which fortunately made the journey much easier. The trip was a
beautiful and unique experience. It is my most fond memory because I
became much closer with all of the Scouts in my group.
Troop 2's 2021 high adventure trip to the stunning Hoover Wilderness in
Northern California easily marks my favorite Scouting memory. The trip as
a whole was an incredible experience and a beautiful farewell to that year's
seniors, who took the trek alongside us. Still, there's one moment that stands
out in particular. On our second to last day, after having endured a scramble
that was equal parts steep and arduous, we reached a serene lakeside
campground where we would stay for the night. Before dinner, however, it
was spontaneously decided that one of the Assistant Scoutmasters would
lead a group of those willing to the imposing Tower Peak. While the summit
itself was not far from our campground, the trail to reach it was incredibly
steep and, as it turns out, not a real trail. Naturally, I volunteered to go. In
spite of the burning in our legs and lungs, we eventually managed to reach
the top. As we did, we were greeted by an enormous glacier resting on the
mountain. A stream of water trickled from the great bed of ice. Bright
wildflowers bloomed peacefully along the glacier's runoff. As part of our
reward, we enjoyed the most pristine water on Earth, drinking straight from
the glacier. It truly was a moment I can never forget.
My favorite experience in Troop 2 was canoeing through the Boundary
Waters in Northern Minnesota. It was our third day on the water, and we had
just portaged through a particularly tough trail. Done with our last back and
forth carry of the portage, my bowman and I loaded our canoe and pushed
off into the water, waiting for the rest of our team. We took a couple of
strokes and drifted out into a scene more beautiful than I could ever imagine.
The lake was dead ﬂat, not a wave or ripple in sight. The sun was setting,
and long puffs of clouds absorbed the red, orange, and pink colors
emanating from it. This breathtaking painting of color was perfectly
mirrored on the dark surface of the lake, with only the reflection of the trees
intervening. As we ﬂoated across this wondrous reproduction, our canoes
left a subtle wake, unzipping the sky behind us as we moved forward. That
sunset was the most magniﬁcent sight I have ever experienced. I am grateful
to Troop 2 for offering us these amazing high adventure experiences, and I
hope that every Scout that follows behind me experiences something as
profound as I did.
My favorite experience while in Troop 2 was our week-long canoe trip in the
Boundary Waters of Minnesota in the summer of 2022. There were less than
seven in my group, together required to keep track of our food, travel speed, water purity, and so many other things we take for granted in day-to-day life.
During our time out of the canoes, we would catch fish, tell stories, and have
a great time. I grew much closer to the four other Scouts on the trip with me
throughout that week, and it's an experience I wouldn't trade for the world.
Troop 2 is one of the oldest and largest Scout troops in the western United
States. In its remarkable 76 year history, Troop 2 has awarded Eagle Scout
rank to 387 deserving individuals. The storied troop has traveled to Scout
camps and high adventure destinations throughout the United States, and all
together Troop 2 Scouts have saved more than 67 lives using CPR, water
rescue, first aid, and other skills and training.
These seven Eagle Scouts flourished in Troop 2 under the guidance of Dr.
Steve Marcy, beloved Scoutmaster of the organization for the last 34 years.
Dr. Marcy passed away peacefully in January, 2023, at the age of 77. True to
form, he was working on plans for the January Court of Honor at the time of
his passing. A remarkable and devoted man by any measure, the entirety of
the troop and the thousands of Scouts that he mentored over his decades of
leadership mourn his loss.
(Photo provided "Troop2 2023 Eagle Scout Photo.jpg")
Left to right: Oliver Berger, Jacques Barnett, Kyle Spiteri, Anthony (AJ)
Matise, Scoutmaster John Matise, Jacob Grossman, Isaiah Armour, Issac
Photo by Ken Sleeper