Boy Scout Troop 578 Recognizes 7 Eagle Scouts

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From left: Lucas Oune, Brandon Sasaki, Joshua Suzuki, Ryan Leung, and Kevin Hazama. Not pictured: Kyler Goto, Christopher Iba.

ANAHEIM — Boy Scout Troop 578, sponsored by Orange County Buddhist Church (OCBC) in Anaheim, has recognized seven scouts who recently attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

On May 26, an Eagle Court of Honor was celebrated with their family, friends and fellow scouts. The boys were presented with Eagle neckerchiefs, badges, and pins.

Special guests in attendance were Minister’s Assistant Ellen Crane, OCBC President Alan Endo, and Jodi Hisamoto, representing OCBC Buddhist Women’s Association. The ceremony included an inspirational speech by Trenton Tanioka, math teacher at Richard Gahr High School and former Eagle Scout from Troop 578.

To be considered for the Eagle Scout rank, the highest award a Boy Scout may earn, a candidate must be active in his troop, hold a leadership position, earn at least 21 merit badges (including 13 Eagle required badges), complete a leadership service project benefiting his local community, and receive letters of recommendation.

For the boys, the leadership skills, organizational skills, sense of community and commitment are a foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship. The Eagle Award project is the culmination of all the work the boys put forth to advance through the ranks as well as something that fulfills a need within the community and leads to positive change.

• Joshua Mitsuo Suzuki, son of Sean and Wendelyn Suzuki, is a graduate of Troy High School and had completed the Troy Tech Program. During his four years of high school, he was heavily involved in cross country and track and field. In addition, he participated in the Japanese Club as well as UNICEF, in which he served as treasurer.

As a scout of Troop 578, Joshua realized at a young age that Boy Scouts involved many fun experiences and relationships that were not available from school. As a result, he took pride in his accomplishments as a scout and made sure to participate in multitude of opportunities that scouting provided. His favorite experiences consisted of the Mt. Whitney trek, Northern Tier, Japan, and Belize trips. Joshua enjoyed snorkeling, hiking, and canoeing, and these outings, as well as others, gave him the chance to partake in these activities.

Being with the troop for seven years, Joshua has had much leadership experience, and he has grown more confident and mature from his time with the troop. From his first year in the troop, he has served as historian, scribe, quartermaster, patrol leader, instructor, and troop quartermaster, and eventually became assistant senior patrol leader. Over the years, he has had many scout leaders and he has utilized his experiences with them to construct his own skills as a leader.

For his Eagle project, Joshua constructed two wooden trashcan enclosures for the Fullerton Arboretum. For decades, the arboretum has introduced the public to botanical diversity in California, displaying hundreds of plant species native to the state as well as foreign species from around the world. While it provides an extravagant and peaceful environment for visitors, it has had problems with waste disposal and litter, taking away from the nursery experience. The arboretum had only a few trashcans for such a big facility and all waste was being disposed of in one place.

Joshua helped to solve this problem with his Eagle project. His trashcan enclosures provided additional places to dispose of waste. In addition, the three labeled compartments of each enclosure helped to ensure that trash, landfill, and recyclables would not be mixed.

In the fall, Joshua will continue his education at Cal State Long Beach, where he will study marine biology in hopes of pursuing his passion.

• Kevin Junichi Hazama, son of Jon and Kay Hazama, is a graduate of Brea Olinda High School. He was an AP scholar, and loves to learn about math and science.

He has been an active member of the Junior Young Buddhist Association from OCBC for three years, serving as the athletic chair on cabinet this year. He has played SEYO basketball with the same team since second grade, and has volunteered for the Chibiko basketball clinic for the last two years.

Kevin has been in scouting since he was a Tiger Cub and bridged into Boy Scouts after the fifth grade. He has served in a plethora of positions for Troop 578 ranging from patrol scribe, historian, quartermaster, assistant patrol leader and patrol leader to troop historian, instructor, assistant senior patrol leader, and junior assistant scoutmaster. His favorite Boy Scout trips were those to Japan and Belize.

His Eagle project included building a sign, planting new drought-tolerant plants, and creating a drip irrigation system for the Brea United Methodist Preschool, which he attended for two years. Dean Yamanaka was his project advisor and was involved every step of the way.

In the fall, Kevin will attend Fullerton College to study biology, then transfer to a University of California school. He hopes to become a worker in the medical field.

• Lucas Tatsuo Oune, son of Michael and Noreen Oune, graduated last May from Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, where he was a four-year member of the Sunny Hills Lancer Regiment Marching Band, serving as Brass Section leader. He was an AP scholar and active member in the Sunny Hills High School Engineering Program and the Conservatory of Fine Arts (COFA).

He was also a member of OCBC Shockwave Boys Basketball team.

Lucas is going to attend CSU Fullerton in the fall with a focus on computer engineering.

Having been in scouting for 14 years, he appreciates and is grateful for the values instilled in him, his many friendships, and his experiences, especially the lessons learned in fishing, skiing, hiking in the mountains, climbing to the summit of Mt Fuji, and attending Japan Jamboree 2013. He also appreciates the leadership, inspiration and knowledge he has acquired from his adult leaders, who have had a profound inspiration and impact on his scouting and educational path.

Lucas led his fellow scouts in the planning, design and building of three drum racks for his fellow marching band members at Sunny Hills High School. He participated in many Eagle Scout projects within Troop 578 and decided to do one that not only would give back to his school, but also to his fellow band members.

Lucas felt a sense of accomplishment, great honor, and satisfaction when he presented his newly built drum racks to the band director and fellow band members. The band director and students arranged and put them to use right away, and they still remain at the school to this day. His project advisor was Dr. John Nishimoto, current scoutmaster and father of a scout in Troop 578.

• Ryan Dao Leung, son of Roger and Kasie Leung, is a junior attending Oxford Academy High School in Cypress, where he takes many rigorous AP courses and currently plays on the school’s varsity basketball team.

He has been involved with OCBC and SOC since he was six. He is a member of SOC Octagon and has served one year as vice president. He has played in SEYO basketball since second grade and loves going to all the tournaments.

Ryan has been in scouting since Wolf Cubs in OCBC’s Cub Scout Pack and eventually bridged into Troop 578’s Boy Scout Troop. He has served in several leadership positions in the troop, such as quartermaster, historian, patrol leader, patrol instructor, instructor, and senior patrol leader. He has also gone to many events, such as shotgun shooting, rock climbing, Rock Creek, Sierra Hike, and Japan Jamboree.

His Eagle project consisted of him building four redwood benches for the children and elderly at Vinh Nghiem Temple in Pomona. People gather at this temple every Sunday, but prior to Ryan’s eagle project there were no outside sitting spots.

In the fall, he will be going back to Oxford Academy High School to finish his senior year. He hopes to pursue a career in chemical/industrial engineering and attend UCLA or Georgia Tech in the fall of 2018.

• Brandon Toshio Sasaki, son of Ronald and Linda Sasaki, graduated from Los Alamitos High School. During his high school years, he volunteered at McAuliffe Middle School for the school’s Mural Program. His Eagle project, with the program as its beneficiary, was making three rolling drying racks and a rolling storage cabinet to create space for wet projects instead of using the various tables and counters in the classroom.

He communicated often with the director of the Mural Program to create customized pieces to fit in specific places within the classroom and was grateful for the guidance of his Eagle project advisor, Michael Oune, a former Troop 578 scoutmaster.

Brandon has been in scouting for 12 years, starting as a Cub Scout and joining OCBC’s Troop 578 when he was 10. He attended the 2013 Japan Jam, the highlight of which was reaching the summit of Mt. Fuji. He also joined the Order of the Arrow and went to Michigan for the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference, which marked their 100th anniversary.

He earned the World Conservation Award as well as 44 merit badges. He attained Eagle last March. He served in various leadership positions throughout the years such as historian, patrol leader, and instructor, among others, and as senior patrol leader for one weekend backpacking trip.

Brandon enjoyed the various activities the troop had to offer, such as shotgun shooting, summer camp on Catalina Island, and canyoneering. He is grateful for all the things he was able to experience in the troop and is thankful to all the people who helped him on his journey in attaining the rank of Eagle.

• Kyler Keoki Goto, son of Myles and Laurie Goto, graduated from Valencia High School in Placentia. He participated in the school’s International Baccalaureate program and participated in the school’s Model United Nations club. He also was on the school’s boys’ cross country team and boys’ track and field team from freshman year to junior year.

Kyler’s scouting career first started in Cub Scout Pack 580 and eventually transitioned to Cub Scout Pack 578. He crossed over to Boy Scout Troop 578 after attaining the Arrow of Light. He has served in several leadership positions in the troop such as patrol leader, patrol instructor, troop quartermaster, and assistant senior patrol leader. He has participated in various scouting activities but his backpacking trip into the Sierra Nevada was one of his greatest memories. On the trip, he was able to be the fourth member of his family to reach the summit of Mt. Whitney.

His Eagle project consisted of building three mobile signs, one mounted sign and an information board for the Children’s Ministry at Wintersburg Church in Santa Ana. He worked under the guidance of his project advisor, Mike Oune, and coordinated with Wintersburg’s director of children’s ministry, Sue Masamitsu.

Kyler’s experience in Troop 578 had a great impact on his life. In scouting he made lots of friends as well as learn important leadership skills. He would like to thank Troop 578 for all the memories and skills he learned from the program.

He will be attending CSU Fullerton in the fall, majoring in political science.

• Christopher Kenji Iba, son of Al and Patty Iba, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Huntington Beach High School. He was a four-year member of the Huntington Beach High School Model United Nations program and Academy of Performing Arts. He also played basketball during his freshman and sophomore years.

Chris has been active in scouting since the age of 12 joining Troop 578 on the recommendation from his cousin, Jason Yamashita. Some of his favorite scouting memories include rock climbing at Joshua Tree, camping in Belize, annual ski trips to Mountain High, and hanging out with his fellow Ninja Patrol members.

For his Eagle project, Chris designed and built three podiums for the Huntington Beach High School Model United Nations program with the help of other scouts and members of HBHS. Model United Nations is a top-tier program that competes around the world in cities such as New York City, Montreal, Rome, Dublin and Haarlem. The program had used worn-down podiums for decades and was in need of new ones.

Under the guidance of Eagle adviser and former scoutmaster Dean Yamanaka, Chris successfully provided all three MUN advisers with new podiums.

After graduating from high school, Chris decided not to go directly to college and instead enrolled in a program known as Global Citizen Year. On his Bridge Year he lived in a small fisherman town known as Garopaba in Brazil, where he worked at the Federal Institute in Environmental Sustainability for eigh months.

Chris will attend UC Berkeley in fall, majoring in computer science.

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