Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated which school Caden Taylor attended and that he had already earned his Eagle Scout designation. Taylor is a junior at San Juan Hills High School and is currently in the process of completing paperwork to earn the Eagle Scout designation.
By C. Jayden Smith
Before becoming an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must complete a service project designed to give back to their local community by benefiting a charity or nonprofit organization.
Recently, one nearby Scout contributed to San Clemente’s Boys & Girls Club of the South Coast Area by donating equipment for street and ice hockey, and spending time teaching children about the game he loves.
Caden Taylor, a San Juan Hills High junior and goaltender for the Capistrano Coyotes hockey club, angled away from the normal type of project that sees Scouts create something by instead working to share his sport with others.
Having played hockey for more than eight years, his initial idea was to work with a local ice rink, but his focus shifted to asking charities whether they wanted equipment or to have the children they work with play the game.
“So, I reached out to the local Boys & Girls Club, and I just said, ‘Hey, what can I do?’” Taylor told The Capistrano Dispatch, adding, “They said, ‘Well, here’s the current state of our gear and here’s what the kids do with that gear.’ ”
From there, Taylor received monetary and gear donations from sporting goods stores, coaches, and family and friends to an extent that surprised him.
The value came out to around $1,900, which could prove to be important for the children at the Boys & Girls Club given the tremendous commitment in time and money necessary to play hockey.
Taylor’s father, Corey, mentioned that there are no longer ice rinks within the immediate vicinity of San Clemente where children can take lessons or play in general, and that the access to street and ice hockey equipment could open the door for prospective players to go further.
“You’re driving to (Aliso Viejo), or you’re driving to Lake Forest, or you’re driving to Irvine—the three closest (rinks)—to take lessons where there’s ice,” he said. “Overall, it’s certainly not one of the least expensive sports to take up. It’s a big commitment.”
The donation event, which was held on Nov. 4, went well, according to Taylor. He invited hockey friends to join him in unloading all the gear and teaching the children the basics of the sport.
Taylor enjoyed seeing the excitement of the children at the club and relayed that he was told even those not normally into the sports were “ecstatic” by the end of the event.
“From the kindergartners to kids who are maybe a year younger than me, everyone was into it,” said Taylor. “It was really awesome to see how people can just come together and enjoy the sport.”
His favorite moment came at the end of an exhibition game when a child, who Taylor could tell had been struggling, scored the game-winning goal and everyone erupted with joy.
In total, Taylor donated two sets of ice hockey gear for goaltenders, six sets of head-to-toe ice hockey equipment, 36 street hockey sticks, 50 street hockey pucks, rule sheets, nets, helmets, and gloves.
The elder Taylor expressed the pride he and his wife Susie had for their son when he completed the final step to get to the Eagle Scout designation. He added that they also enjoyed watching the project come together and seeing the excitement on the faces of the Club officials.
“For the past six months or more, he’s worked on top of all his other commitments and responsibilities with school and hockey,” he said. “He’s worked diligently to make this happen and really took the initiative.”
Caden Taylor, a member of Boy Scout Troop 724, is completing paperwork to earn the Eagle Scout designation and will go before the Eagle Scout board in early 2023.
C. Jayden Smith
C. Jayden Smith graduated from Dana Hills High in 2018 before pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in digital and broadcast journalism from the University of North Texas. After graduating in December 2020, he reported for the Salina Journal in Salina, Kansas. Jayden loves college football and bothering his black lab named Shadow.