As a Boy Scout, Travis Larsen has hiked 155 miles, spent more than 50 nights camping outdoors and contributed more than 70 hours of community service, but his biggest Scouting achievement was earning the Eagle award recently.
The Eagle Scout rank is the highest award in Boy Scouting and is earned by less than 3 percent of all scouts. Larsen accepted his award in a ceremony at Resurrection Lutheran Church in late November, where he was received by fellow Eagle Scouts, including former attorney general Bruce Botelho.
Larsen first joined Boy Scouts in 1996, as a member of Troop 4 in Ketchikan. When his family moved to Juneau in 1998, Travis transferred into Troop 11, which is sponsored by the Alaska Army National Guard.
His father, Doug Larsen, is the troop's scoutmaster.
To earn the Eagle award, a scout has to earn at least 21 merit badges and complete a service project. For his project, Larsen built a trail at the Shrine of Saint Therese to the prayer cabin, and he installed the floor and door. In six years as a Boy Scout, he earned 26 merit badges, including programs in environmental science, first aid, hiking and citizenship.
As a Boy Scout, he has served as a den chief by guiding younger Cub Scouts; as a patrol leader, guiding a group of Boy Scouts; and as senior patrol leader, guiding the entire Boy Scout troop.
Larsen serves as the patrol leader for the Bald Eagle patrol, a group of mainly younger scouts who benefit from his experience.
"It's been fun watching my friends and fellow scouts grow as responsible leaders who can be depended on," Larsen said.
Hid scouting career has led him to sleep in snow caves north of Skagway, canoe some of the waters of Admiralty Island and hike 33 miles over the famed Chilkoot Trail. He has attended summer camps in Juneau, Anchorage and Seattle, completed Junior Leader Training and earned the Boy Scouts' World Conservation award.
Larsen is a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School and plans to attend the University of Alaska in Fairbanks next fall, where he will pursue training in fire science and medical services.
He also plans to work with a scout troop in Fairbanks as an assistant scoutmaster, giving back to the program some of what he has received.
"Scouting and the volunteers who support the program have given me a lot of help and guidance over the past six years," Travis said at his awards ceremony. "For this I am very grateful, and I want to give something back for all I have received."
Dirk Miller is an assistant scoutmaster of Troop 11.