There’s something both fitting and ironic that for Kaleb Needoba two of the scouting merit badges he picks as the toughest to earn are two that look to help him achieve the highest ranking in scouts.
A multi-sport athlete who racked up an impressive background in sales by the time he was a preteen, Needoba is looking to complete his Eagle Scout Project this summer, right around the same time he starts his senior year at Sequim High School.
“I know it’s good to finish a project I’ve started,” Needoba said.
“(For the Eagle Scout project), I wanted to do something personal.”
With a background in swimming, cross country and track, Needoba is looking to raise about $500 for materials and creation of five “Spirit Signs” at SHS lauding the efforts of the school’s five state champions: the 2007 and 2019 girls tennis teams, the 2011 fastpitch softball team and the 2019 track and field team, along with the 2018 Knowledge Bowl team.
Needoba said he conceived of the idea after seeing similar signs of team pride at other schools.
Needing a project to complete his Eagle Scout, he’s looking to raise money for the signs — designed by Needoba with the SHS Wolf logo, they’ll be finished by a local company — as well as 8-foot-tall poles, concrete and other expenses for the signs.
It’s a project he envisions could be a way to celebrate some school pride as well as provide a future project for an Eagle Scout prospect.
Raising money in a scout uniform is a bit of second nature for Needoba, who joined the Boy Scouts organization in 2009 as a first grader in Florida. He was the top popcorn fundraiser seller over five years at the Gulf Coast Council.
Needoba and his mother Kimberly said his sales totalled more than $50,000 — a figure that’s helped him pay for every uniform, scout trip and other scouting expense along the way.
In succeeding years Needoba started his own company, Kaleb’s Canine and Cat Care, to earn an entrepreneur badge — one of two badges he identifies as particularly difficult to earn, along with the physical fitness badge (because it took half-a-year).
He honed his business acumen with the pet care company, an effort that had him handing out business cards at age 11 and that he still gets calls for today.
Needoba wound up with three different scout troops after moving to Sequim, starting with Troop 90 under scoutmaster Karl Wood.
He also was a scout with Troop 1498 (scoutmaster Peter Craig) and Troop 1460 (scoutmaster Rory Macdonald) and is back in Troop 90, learning with scoutmaster Rene Nadon.
Over the years Needoba’s earned 53 merit badges, including 15 Eagle Scout-qualifying badges (13 is the minimum out of 21 possible) and all four of the organization’s NOVA badges that are STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subject-focused.
Needoba has participated in hikes and camp-outs along with several community service projects, including Rally in the Alley and Washington Coast Clean Up.
“(I) learned a lot about being a good citizen,” Needoba said.
But the work hasn’t been by himself, Needoba said.
By the time he was 13 he was a patrol leader for a group of about 35, often giving orders to telling teens older than himself.
Along the way Needoba’s held numerous scout leadership positions: Senior patrol leader, patrol leader, assistant patrol leader, scribe, troop guide, instructor, chaplain aide and Order of Arrow troop representative.
“Scouting has helped me overcome (a fear of public speaking),” he said.
Mirroring his experience in scouting, Needoba said he has a variety of interests as he looks to steps beyond high school. That may include something in business/sales, math, technology or in a field where he can interact with others in some form.
“I like social connections,” Needoba said, as well as making complex ideas relatable for non-experts.
Needoba said he’s hoping to complete the project sometime in September.
To donate to Needoba’s project — all funds go through Troop 90 — call 360-797-3348 or email to sour firstname.lastname@example.org.