Eagle Project Becomes a Community Treasure

I didn’t want to build a bench for my Eagle Scout project. In March 2010, when I heard that the SRCA was looking for someone to research Scripps Ranch history and create a history wall, I jumped at the opportunity to take on this interesting and important volunteer project. I thought it would be a great way to learn something while helping the community. I had never thought about what must have happened in the years before I grew up. That was when I realized how little I knew about my community. But I wanted to learn more.

I had planned to capture the history of Scripps Ranch on five picture banners and a small notebook. Thoroughly researching and documenting this project took longer than I ever anticipated. I found more stories, pictures, and documents than could ever be displayed on banners. Ultimately, I captured Scripps Ranch history in a book.

In the 3½ years since I began the project, I led the creation of a 437-page spiral- bound book, Scripps Ranch Through the Years, that includes a detailed chronology of Scripps Ranch history. It has more than 160 pages of color photos and documents and 57 interviews from a variety of residents. The book has five main sections: the early years, and each of the decades Scripps Ranch has been a community.

For each time period there is a chronology chapter and a number of color photo pages. At the end of the book, a section contains all 57 of the interviews that were completed during this project. The interviewees were true representatives of Scripps Ranch, from community activists to long-time residents to people who grew up here and have come back to raise their families—and even a couple of teenagers.

For those of us who lived and grew up here, Scripps Ranch Through the Years is a way to remember. It’s a way to get a sense for what the place we live in was like decades ago, a way to understand the spirit of Scripps Ranch, and a way to reminisce about the times we’ve spent here.

When asked what made Scripps Ranch unique in the interviews, the most common response was the kind, thoughtful people. The book is evidence of how devoted residents are to their community. This project was a true community effort, with 131 volunteers contributing almost 1,700 hours of effort, including roughly 800 hours of my own time.

Scripps Ranch has a story like no other, and it taught me three things that I’d like to share with you. I learned that, through good times and bad, harmony and controversy, neighbors look out for each other. Scripps Ranch sticks together.

Next, I learned that what makes Scripps Ranch special is the decision by the people who call this community home to say, “Yes! I care,” and then volunteer to do something to improve the community.

Finally, obvious but true, I learned how lucky I am to have been born and raised in Scripps Ranch. Anyone who knows and understands the history of this community is both inspired and blown away.

The book, the most comprehensive document of our community’s history, is in our library and will eventually be available online as well. The book has already been used by Mr. Will Lofft to help fight an effort to destroy historic olive trees.

At this point, it’s fitting to thank all those who have been part of this process. It’s not possible for me to thank everyone here, but I will mention a few people. Thank you to my mother and father for helping me revise the written part of this project, for providing transportation, and for allowing me access to printer, computer, and paper.

Thank you to everyone who was interviewed or filled out a survey. Thank you also to everyone who was an interviewer, especially to Elinor Reiss, who enthusiastically interviewed an incredible number of people. I also appreciate the work of everyone who provided information for the chronology or pored over old SRCA Newsletters. Thank you to Bob Dingeman, Adam Grofcsik, and Will Lofft for providing invaluable information about this community and to Victoria Mazelli for her information and graphic design.

I’d like to close by expressing my gratitude to the community. Community support has made this project a possibility. Community support has made Scripps Ranch the wonderful place it is. Only continued community support will preserve it for people like me.

Jake Todd

[Editor’s note: As of press time, Jake was expected to officially earn the rank of Eagle Scout on Oct. 24, after going through his Eagle Board of Review. Jake is a senior at Scripps Ranch High School. We thank him for his time and commitment to his community.]

If you have a story about a special person, place, or thing in Scripps Ranch and you would like to share it with the community, please send it to [[email protected]]. Stories should be approximately 700 words. Please include the author’s name, address, and phone number. Not all submissions may be used. The editorial staff reserves the right to select and edit published articles.