Wilcox Earns Eagle Scout


Senior Elijah Wilcox completes his eagle project alongside his peers in order to obtain the prestigious honor of Eagle Scout. Wilcox has been working towards earning this title for over five years and enjoyed the process of working with others to master new skills through the Boy Scouts of America program.

Salida High School senior, Elijah Wilcox, recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout which is the highest rank you can earn in Boy Scouts of America. He’s been working for this honor since the seventh grade. 

“I went to one meeting and I was hooked immediately,” he said. 

Wilcox worked hard to earn the status of Eagle Scout; he had to put a considerable amount of time and effort into earning it. After going to scout meetings every Monday for over five years, earning 21 merit badges, and going before an eagle scout board of review, he had to complete an intense eagle project. Merit badges are earned by being tested on a skill, and they require a lot of paperwork.  An eagle project is a type of service project; Wilcox coordinated with Chuck McKenna from Longfellow Elementary School to set up a replica of the solar system on the elementary school playground. For him, it took around 13 hours of planning and 20 hours of actual service.

“The idea was that somewhere in the fourth-grade curriculum they have the solar system as part of their teachings. My goal was to help these kids spark an interest in STEM.”

 Wilcox was inspired by this project by his own love of STEM. This project was an attempt to engage kids with their curriculum and excite them about space. According to Wilcox, this project was a success. 

Merit badges are another essential part of earning Eagle Scout. Earning a merit badge for a skill he struggled with was very rewarding for Wilcox.

“When we did our fishing merit badge camp out, it took me probably the whole camp out to catch the one fish…Seemingly very insignificant, but for me, it meant a lot because I’m not a good fisher at all,” he recalls. 

This was one of the many moments that stood out to Wilcox. 

“We hiked out to old Monarch Pass, about a quarter-mile up, and we had some snow piled up from the night previous. We carved them out for about four hours, and then we slept in them. We called them quinzees. I think that’s the technical term. Snow cave would be under the snow quinzee above. It was freezing cold, and you get a little candle in there, you get tucked in real tight, and it ends up being a pretty cool experience.” Wilcox reminisced. 

While Eagle Scout is a final goal for a lot of boy scouts, it doesn’t have to be the end. After earning eagle scout, you can try to earn palms. There are bronze, gold, and silver palms. They signify going above and beyond normal scout requirements by getting extra merit badges. 

“The merit badges, often the self-paced ones, there’s a lot of paperwork, and at this moment I’m applying for my college applications, and more paperwork is not looking super favorable. So, I probably am not going for palms at this point.”  Wilcox said. 

Despite not going for palms, Wilcox still tries to stay involved with his troop despite his busy schedule. He finds joy in working with younger boy scouts including his brother Zeke. 

“The traditional style of scouts is for the older scouts to honor the younger scouts ranking up. I got to present Zeke his life scout merit badge. Kinda give the crowd a taste of what you had to go through to make it to that point.”

Wilcox never felt like he was wasting his time despite the time commitment. “Anytime I was with scouts it was a meaningful experience.”