Point Loma Boy Scout’s Eagle project: make and distribute 1,000 masks for homeless
Fourteen-year-old Killian Treppa likes to do the typical things young teenage boys like: He’s an avid gamer (Minecraft is a favorite). He likes card and board games. He enjoys spending time with his family — a family that has been involved in the Ocean Beach-Point Loma community for decades. And he especially likes being a Boy Scout in the Point Loma-based Troop 500.
Being a Scout is a family tradition, according to his grandmother Jill Treppa.
“He’s the only boy of the grandchildren. So the cousins are all Girl Scouts. His sister is in both organizations; she’s a Cub Scout and a Girl Scout. Grandpa was a Boy Scout. Great-grandpa was a Boy Scout. I was a Girl Scout. So we have four generations — a long history of Scouting,” she said.
Killian, an eighth-grader at Correia Middle School in Point Loma, is currently a Life Scout, just one rank from Eagle Scout. To achieve the Eagle rank, one of the things he had to come up with was a project to serve the community.
To make Eagle, Scouts typically must meet many requirements, like earn badges for safety, first aid and community service. There’s a camping requirement and a hiking requirement. And then there’s the Eagle project, a culmination of all the Scout’s diligence and hard work.
“I love the Eagle project,” said Ben Howard, Killian’s Scoutmaster. “It’s the capstone requirement that really amounts to about four years of work. And there’s not many programs that 11- to 17-year-olds are involved with that take that long ... and that leave a lasting impact on our community.”
With the coronavirus pandemic still raging toward the end of 2020, Killian decided his Eagle project would be making 1,000 disposable face masks for homeless people in Ocean Beach and Point Loma.
With help from family, community members and other volunteers, Killian makes the masks by hand — out of shop towels, rubber bands and staples. The bulk of the supplies were donated by stores such as Lowe’s, Staples and OB Hardware. To finance the rest of the project, Killian collected recyclables from neighbors.
“I wanted an Eagle project that helps other people that are in need,” Killian said. “We got an idea from my aunt. What we do is we fold the blue shop towels and then we put rubber bands as the ear hoops and then we staple them on so they don’t fall off.”
Killian organized about 20 volunteers to help with the mask-making. He wrote step-by-step instructions and created a how-to video to help people make the masks.
Killian estimated he’s made about 700 of his 1,000-mask goal. The masks are being distributed by the Ocean Beach Town Council and a partnership with People Assisting the Homeless, which is funded by the city of San Diego. PATH began work in the Ocean Beach community in March.
“PATH has just launched in the peninsula area,” said OB Town Council board member Cameron Reid. “And part of what they do is provide personal protective gear to homeless, so it’s already in their wheelhouse. It’s serendipitous timing. They appeared when the masks appeared, and all of a sudden it was like, ‘Oh, this is incredible,’ because they have a strong workforce and they truly know those people who are in need in the community.”
Howard said Killian is a proactive kid, the type who reached out periodically during the early days of the pandemic, when many other Scouts went “off the radar.”
“He does a lot of community service,” Howard said. “Throughout the quarantine in 2020 ... he would periodically touch base with me, asking, ‘Hey, can I get conservation hours if I do a street cleanup in Ocean Beach or if do beach cleanups?’ He collects glasses that can be recycled for use. ... This is one project, but he has his fingers in a lot of different things that are beneficial to the community in other ways. And he was proactive throughout the pandemic, looking for opportunities to help those around him.”
Reid described Killian as self-motivated, especially since the teen brought the project to the Town Council.
“He really took it in under himself and was fully responsible for it, checked in with each milestone, but I really didn’t have to hold his hand,” Reid said. “He’s a very exceptional young man. We were lucky to be able to participate in this project. ... We look forward to more projects like this.”
Killian, who said his favorite part of being involved in Boy Scouts is the camping and the friends he’s made, hopes his Eagle rank will look good on his future college applications and resumés. He’ll start next school year at Point Loma High.
“He’s done a lot of work. We’re very, very proud,” Jill Treppa said.
For more information about Boy Scout Troop 500, visit troop500.com.