We are so honored to introduce you to Jake Grana. Jake lives with his brother and dad in San Elijo Hills. On the surface, he looks just like a lot of 14 year old boys. Active in sports. Busy with friends. But, spend a little time talking with Jake and you will uncover some pretty big distinctions.
This month, Jake will celebrate his 15th birthday and the milestone of reaching the rank of Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. Not only is this a great achievement, but the average age for achieving this rank is 17…and Jake is just 14. Pretty impressive.
It takes a lot of focus and dedication to reach this rank – especially at this pace, but Scouting has been an important part of Jake’s family for many years. It all started when his mom decided to get him involved while his dad was on one of his four military deployments. Jake’s mom knew it would be a great way to reinforce their family values of leadership, citizenship and patriotism.
She was right. Scouting was a great fit. Later, Jake’s younger brother and dad joined in. In fact, Jake remembers the year his mom was working on her Doctoral degree. Scouts became a great way for Jake, his younger brother and his dad, to get out of the house so mom could study and do her course work.
Unfortunately, when Jake was 11, his mom passed away from a brain tumor. You can imagine how devastating this was for their family. But, Scouting became even more important during this time – something positive to focus on while dealing with the grief and learning how to move on in life without Mom.
Growing up in a military family, Jake has learned to be adaptable. They moved a lot when he was younger. In fact, Jake was born in Japan and lived in six other places. This meant changing homes, but also troops. Even so, Jake kept his focus. In each situation, he met new people and learned about leadership by observing the leaders around him.
Jake’s dad, Brian, is getting ready to retire from the Marine Corps. They have lived in San Elijo HIlls for about two years and are excited to be able to stay put here for the long-term. The Grana family is so excited to have found such a wonderful community – in the neighborhood, the schools, the sports programs and the local Scout troops.
Jake has already left a tangible mark on the San Elijo Hills community. His Eagle Scout project was building two benches on the San Elijo Middle School (SEMS) campus. He worked closely with Principal Doug Hall and put together a team of people from the school, neighborhood and Scouting community. It took months of designing, planning, funding and teamwork to make it happen. Today, you can see those two benches displayed across from the Principal’s office.
“You have to lead yourself before you can lead others,” Jake shared with us. Throughout the project, Jake was able to better define his strengths, but also his weaknesses. Jake continues to put his leadership skills to the test in a variety of ways. At SEMS, he received the “Regal Eagle” award for his conduct with the Eagle Scout project. He was also a leader on the stage crew for the “Wizard of Oz” last year and achieved the President’s Award for Educational Achievement.
Today, Jake is a freshman at San Marcos High School. He is on the wrestling team (which is doing amazing right now). The team recently competed in the Freshman County Championships. Jake also plays football and is looking forward to the new training season. He hopes to one day attend the Naval Academy, play college football, become a Mechanical Engineer and fly jets in the Marine Corps.
But, in the meantime, he looks forward to his new role as leader in Scouts and continuing to work on his palms. If you’ve ever thought about Scouting, Jake says it’s “a great adventure – an amazing opportunity for having fun, meeting new friends and finding mentors.”
Perhaps his best advice, though, is to not let where you are determine who you are. You don’t have to wait to achieve your dreams. “If you want to achieve something and you don’t fit the normal requirements, make it so it works for you. Show people that you can do it. Don’t let what’s ‘normal’ limit you.”
Congratulations Jake on this amazing achievement and Happy Birthday! We can’t wait to see what you do next!