Ethan Camp | Credit: Courtesy of the Camp family

When Santa Barbara High School junior Ethan Camp started preparing for his Eagle Scout project — a way for Boy Scouts to show leadership through a project that benefits their community — he decided to give back to a familiar place and help build a much-needed bike trail at his old school, Monroe Elementary.

Monroe recently received a donation of 40 mountain bikes but had no bike trail for students to safely ride. So when the opportunity presented itself to give back to the school that Camp says helped shape his life, he took it. 

Credit: Courtesy of the Camp family

On Monroe Beautification Day on Saturday, April 9, Camp led the main work day to construct the 200-foot-long bike trail. Around 40 to 50 volunteers came out to help, he said, including local children and athletes from Santa Barbara City College.

“It was just a really great collaboration between all kinds of people in Santa Barbara,” Camp said. According to Camp, the project came to fruition through the support of the community, including local businesses, construction companies, the Monroe Parent Teacher Association, and principal Brian Naughton.

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The cost of constructing the bike path is $2,500, and Camp said he has been fundraising with help from family, friends, and the community. 

Credit: Courtesy of the Camp family

He began his Eagle Scout project a year and a half ago, and it has gone through many different iterations, he said. Throughout the process, he said, he knew he wanted to help kids be more active and independent. 

Eagle Scout is the “ultimate culmination” for Boy Scouts, with only 4 percent of Scouts achieving the ranking, said Camp, who is a member of Troop 33 of the Los Padres Boy Scouts Council. The project is a big accomplishment and holds a lot of meaning to him. 

“It’s rare that people can really give back to the community they grew up in,” Camp said. “I just feel lucky that everything kind of aligned.” He hopes the bike trail will inspire the children at Monroe and future Eagle Scouts. 

The bike trial is not yet fully complete, and Camp will be going back to lay the final groundwork in the next few weeks. Camp said Monroe Elementary’s principal also aims to expand the trail beyond the Eagle Scout project.

The trail will require more fundraising to finish, which will include the addition of around 650 more feet of track. Monroe’s PTA is now actively seeking donations from the community to continue the project.

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