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Bettering His Community

By Julia Pine

Citizenship in the community. Citizenship in the world. Emergency preparedness. Those are just a few of the badges required by the Boy Scouts of America to become an Eagle Scout. A total of 21 badges are necessary to reach this high achievement, but Blake Takaaki Higa earned 48 merit badges over a seven-year period to earn what only six percent of Boy Scouts accomplish.

Blake, 18, is an SCGA Youth on Course member who lives in San Gabriel. As part of his quest for Eagle Scout, he completed a service project at Lashbrook Park in El Monte, developing a plan to revitalize the park and enhance its safety. He organized a group of kids and adults to build picnic tables, plant trees, work on landscaping and remove trash and debris.

"The goal was to make the park into a safe place that could be better enjoyed by the surrounding community," said Blake.

One of Blake's greatest passions is golf, which he has been playing since he was 10 years old. He participates on his high school team, and manages to get out to the course at least four times a week to work on his game, most often at Alhambra GC, where he is able to take advantage of $1-$2 green and range fess with his Youth on Course Golf Pass.

"The golf badge was actually the first one I ever received with the Boy Scouts," said Blake. "I had an uncle who took me to the range and I loved the game right away."

While the golf badge may have come naturally to Blake, other didn't.

"The one I'm most proud of is probably my sailing badge," he said. "It's special to me because it was a challenge. I've never been a strong swimmer, and this was small boat sailing, so I had to overcome that."

Trustworthiness and respect - both traits preached by the Boy Scouts - tie in well to the person Blake wants to be on the golf course.

"My experience with the Boy Scouts has helped me be a good citizen and leader, two things I want to display as a golf," said Blake. "It has given me the opportunity to give back through service projects and benefit my community any way I can. I'm extremely thankful for that."

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