BY JAMES KUROPATWINSKI
The history of scouting in Los Alamos got a little deeper on Wednesday, November 3 when Ignatius Kuropatwinski successfully passed his Eagle Board of Review to become Troop 22’s newest Eagle Scout. To earn the rank of Eagle, a scout must learn the skills of at least 21 merit badges, advance through the ranks by learning and using leadership skills for groups of scouts, and finish by planning, developing, and giving leadership to others of a service project helpful to the community. The scout program is designed to form character, instill citizenship, and foster physical fitness in the youth participants. Each rank, and every merit badge is meant to build the scout’s personality.
Ignatius joined Troop 22 from the Cub Scout program during 5th grade. As is typically the case, it was a couple of older scouts – in this case Richard and Jacob Thompson – who made Ignatius feel welcome in the troop. During middle school and high school, Ignatius participated in many troop campouts and activities, Council-wide leadership camps, and even staffed a couple of summer camps. He was to staff the local summer camp again during 2020, but the pandemic changed that plan. Ignatius has enjoyed every aspect of the Boy Scout program. He advanced through the different ranks at a good pace, earned over 30 merit badges, and has been awarded numerous other awards.
The capstone of any scout’s experience is the Eagle Project. It does not have to be any particular size or effort; it does have to be something for the local community. Ignatius has a love of nature which he picked up at Gorham Scout Ranch when he staffed summer camp during the summer of 2018. In response to that love, he approached the Pajarito Environmental Educational Center, better known as PEEC, for a nature project. PEEC asked if he could build some raised garden beds that could be used to demonstrate different gardening techniques. Ignatius planned the project over the fall and winter months of 2019 with every intent to do the build in the spring of 2020.
After a delay of four months, PEEC gave him the go-ahead and he led a crew of about 20 youth and adults (no more than five at a time) during the heat of the first week of August to build three all-cedar raised garden beds. The beds measure 3 feet by 10 feet each with a removeable protective lid. Youth volunteers from Troop 22, Troop 122, LAHS NJROTC, LAHS Soccer, and LAHS Track and Field teams stepped forward to assist. They dug out the ground, constructed, and installed the boxes. Each box is specially dedicated. One box is dedicated to PEEC, another to the Boy Scout program, and the third to a friend whom this year’s Senior Class lost in 2019. The boxes are located at the entrance to the Ranch School Trail, just south of PEEC’s outside playground a very fitting location.
Ignatius is on track to graduate from Los Alamos High School in May 2021. His immediate plans are to enlist in the United States Marine Corp, of which he has already taken his Oath of Enlistment. His current aspiration is to become a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command or an Explosive Ordinance Disposal technician.