When Brandon Khuu of Castro Valley was 7 years old and just starting in scouting, his dream was to someday be an Eagle Scout, the highest achievement in the organization, which culminates in a major project to demonstrate leadership and give back to the communit
This summer, Brandon, now 16 and a straight-A student on the Bishop O’Dowd tennis team, not only achieved his goal but made Merritt College a beneficiary as he planned his community project to improve Merritt’s tennis courts which now boasts of a 36-foot x12-foot tennis backboard. “I had seen backboards on other tennis courts and thought that Merritt’s courts could be improved by providing a place for team members to practice while others were playing on the courts,” says Brandon.
He had met with Bishop O’Dowd tennis coach Tom DeTurk to help him come up with an idea for the project. “Since we practice on Merritt’s courts, I wanted to do something to help the college,” he says. “I thought that Merritt’s
courts would be improved by providing a place for team members to practice while others are playing.”
After getting approval from the Troop 708 leader and the Boy Scout Council, the next step was to check with Kevin Bertelsen, Merritt’s Director of Facilitie. “I gave him an enthusiastic thumbs up,” says Kevin. “I thought it was a great project idea and would truly be a wonderful donation to the college to provide additional tennis capacity for practice and for recreation as well.”
So for the next two months, with the help and support of his parents, Coach DeTurk, scout volunteers, and a successful GoFundMe campaign of more than $2,000, the backboard became a reality. “It’s a perfect win-win,” said Merritt President Marie-Elaine Burns at an informal ceremony where Brandon handed her a check for the remaining $250 of the project funds. “Brandon met his goal of Eagle Scout, and Merritt has a beautiful new backboard for all who come to train and practice here for years to come.”