TORRANCE — Boy Scout Troop 719, sponsored by Faith United Methodist Church in Torrance, recently announced its three newest Eagle Scouts:
• Micah Hiroshi Kaneshiro born on June 15, 1998, at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance. He is one of two children, with his younger sister Dani, of Shane and Michele Kaneshiro. Micah enjoys listening to music, playing basketball and volleyball, hanging out with friends, and taking trips to Hawaii to visit his family.
Micah attended Lincoln Elementary School and Casmir Middle School in Torrance and is currently a senior at North High School. He continues to support school activities whenever possible. He is the vice president of the Native American Club and is also a part of Varsity Boys Volleyball. Outside of school, Micah plays for the Hollywood Dodgers Kolohe Boyz and Islanders Basketball Club.
Micah began his scouting career at the age of 6, when he officially joined Cub Scout Pack 862 of Faith United Methodist Church. He achieved the Arrow of Light award, then at age 10 he bridged to Boy Scout Troop 719. For the past seven years, he has gained valuable knowledge and experience from the troop, learned the meaning of teamwork, has forged many meaningful friendships that will continue to impact his life as he matures into a young adult.
Over the years, he has held positions such as den chief, quartermaster, assistant patrol leader, patrol leader, instructor, and assistant senior patrol leader, and is currently a senior patrol leader.
For his Eagle project, Micah chose 186th Street Elementary School in Gardena because he wanted to do a project that would benefit kids and adults in the educational community. On July 18, 2015, with his advisors Chip Hino and Daniel Matsuda and a group of over 30 friends, family, and troop members and alumni, Micah redesigned three gardens, landscaped four walkways, and built two planters and placed them in one of the gardens. Overall, Micah is very proud of the accomplishment.
Being a Boy Scout, and now an Eagle Scout, has been a major part of Micah’s life and given him the essential skills necessary for his future. Leadership, patience, perseverance, and responsibility are just a handful of attributes that Troop 719 has taught him. As he grows into a respectable young man, he will remember the lessons he has learned and never forget the importance of giving back and being a positive role model to others.
Attaining the Eagle Scout rank has been the biggest accomplishment in Micah’s life so far, and he is very grateful for the people that have helped him accomplish this goal. He would like to thank his past patrol leaders, scoutmasters, the dads, the Mothers Club, the alumni, friends, the Eagle Board of Review panel, teachers, and most of all his family for all their love and support in this long journey.
• Grant Kuwata was born on Oct. 25, 1999 in Woodland Hills to Miles and Rouxann Kuwata. He has two older brothers, Cody “Hawk,” 19, who is Troop 719 Eagle Scout No. 165, and Jake Kuwata, 17, who is Troop 719 Eagle Scout No. 176.
Grant and his family live in Agoura Hills. He attended Oak Hills Elementary School and Medea Creek Middle School and is currently a sophomore at Oak Park High School. He likes to spend time with his family and friends, ski, and air soft. He plays the tenor saxophone, clarinet and bassoon and is actively involved with the Oak Park concert and marching band.
Grant participates in track and field, he competes in the 400-meter, 1,600-meter relay and the long jump. He has been involved with many Japanese American youth groups, including Kizuna Youth CAN, San Fernando Athletics Program, and Sangha Teen.
Grant has gone on many hikes and long-terms. His first long-term was to Manzanar National Historic Site, where he hiked many of the same trails the internees from Manzanar went to temporarily escape from the camp to go fishing in the High Sierras. Grant has also hiked to the peak of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii, and through the Desolation Wilderness of Lake Tahoe.
This year, Grant led his Usagi Warriors Patrol on a five-day, more than 30-mile long-term out of Devil’s Postpile Agnew Meadows trailhead to Thousand Island Lake. Unfortunately, he had two scouts who were ill on long-term due to altitude sickness. The hike did not go as quite as planned, and Grant had to make several decisions and adjustments on the trail to accommodate the safety of these scouts. In the end, all the scouts and adults finished the long-term hike safely.
The Usagi Warriors Patrol received the troop’s “Awesome Patrol” of the quarter award. Grant received the troop’s “Scout of the Quarter” award. He has made the Elite 50 Club the last four years at the annual Invitational Field Day Competition (IFD). He received third place in the first-aid competition at the 2011 IFD, first place in the orienteering competition at the 2013 IFD, and first place in first-aid competition at the 2014 IFD.
Grant has held the positions of quartermaster, chaplin’s aid, assistant patrol leader and patrol leader, and is currently assistant senior patrol leader for the troop. He has attended three summer camps — Mataguay Scout Ranch, Camp Whitset, and Cherry Valley on Catalina Island. He has earned 36 merit badges and plans to obtain his Silver Palm.
Grant chose the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center (SFVJACC) to complete his Eagle service project. He built three decorative wooden fences to beautify the courtyard area and create a Japanese rock garden. Thanks to his Eagle advisor, Carol Hashiro, and construction advisor, Jerry Tondo, the project was a huge success.
Scouting has had a tremendous impact on Grant’s life. Attaining the rank of Eagle Scout has been a long and hard challenge but in the end was a great accomplishment. He has met many new people and experienced things he would never have if not for scouting. Grant has learned that you can accomplish anything with hard work and perseverance, and that even if life doesn’t always happen “as planned,” you can make adjustments as you go and still accomplish great things.
Grant would like to sincerely thank Troop 719 and all his friends and family who have helped support and encourage him to attain the rank of Eagle Scout.
• Shaun Tanaka was born on February 24, 2000 in Torrance to Nathan Tanaka and Sharon Teramura. His older sister, Kara, is a freshman at Santa Clara University. A resident of Sherman Oaks, he attended Sherman Oaks Presbyterian Nursery School, Sherman Oaks Elementary School, Balboa Elementary School, and Holmes Middle School. He is currently a sophomore at the Cleveland Charter High School Humanities Magnet and a member of the Cross Country Team, Debate Team, California Scholastic Federation, and Coredinators Club.
Shaun enjoys playing airsoft, listening to all music genres, collecting coins and spending time with friends. Recognizing the importance of community, he wants to contribute to society and work with others toward the common good. He finds it important to be positive about what life gives you, to accept and be yourself, and to enjoy life.
Shaun joined Troop 719 when he was 11 since it was an opportunity to be with friends and make new friends. As a member of Hawk Kuwata’s Black Hawk patrol, he spent his first year learning practical skills, such as camping, and attending summer camp at Cherry Valley. The progress continued in his second year in Ryan Lee’s Call of Boy Scouts patrol, hiking the Manzanar Long-Term and attending summer camp at Mataguay.
During his third year, Shaun was awarded “Scout of the Quarter” as a member of the Rising Sons patrol, where Jonathan Tondo showed him how to make learning scout skills fun. That summer he was patrol leader for the Black Dragons patrol at Camp Whitsett. While in Jake Kuwata’s Scorching Tigers patrol during his fourth year, Shaun enjoyed many activities, especially the Lake Tahoe Long-Term hike.
Most recently he was the patrol leader for Project Delta, which received the “Awesome Patrol” award in the second and third quarters; he also received the “Scout of the Quarter” award.
For his Eagle project, Shaun chose to assist the Valley Japanese Community Center in Sun Valley. He wanted to carry on the volunteer work of his grandfather, who helped build the center. The project consisted of the building and installation of 20 feet of sliding doors to cover mirrors in the auditorium and garden beautification. The sliding doors were designed for durability, functionality and style. Many commented on how the doors added a Japanese look to the auditorium.
The garden also returned to the beauty it once had. New flowers were planted, and the bamboo garden and other shrubs were trimmed. With the guidance and support of his Eagle advisor, Arnold Kaji, the project was a success. The project allowed Shaun to develop and exercise his leadership and project management skills while helping the community.
As a second-year scout completing the Manzanar Long-Term, Shaun gained the confidence to complete any challenge that he faced. Learning from his fellow scouts and his own successes and mistakes, he recognized the importance of having the courage to make difficult decisions and stand up for what is right.
Shaun truly appreciates what others have done to help him become an Eagle and is committed to giving back to the troop. His journey has been memorable: he has learned many skills, defined important values, had awesome experiences, and developed a circle of friendship. All this is a result of the support of the 719 scouts, parents, and alumni.