Boy Scout Troop 578’s Newest Eagle Scouts

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Back row, from left: Ryan Nakamura, Trenton Tanioka, Kevin Sollberger, Kurt Hirata, Grant Ogawa. Front row, from left: David Sadakane, Ryan Kawahara, Sahil Thiruvengadam, Kevin Takemura. Not pictured: Matthew “Hunter” Shinto.

ANAHEIM — Boy Scout Troop 578, sponsored by Orange County Buddhist Church (OCBC) in Anaheim, is proud to announce that 10 of its members have recently received the rank of Eagle Scout.

On May 13, nine of these scouts were recognized at an Eagle Court of Honor. The ceremony was celebrated with their family, friends and fellow scouts. The boys were presented with Eagle neckerchiefs, badges, and pins.

Special guests in attendance were Rev. Marvin Harada, Rev. Alan Sakamoto, OCBC President Rumi Nakatani, and Janet Kotake, representing OCBC Buddhist Women’s Association. The ceremony included an inspirational speech by Rod Nakamoto, former OCBC Troop 578 scoutmaster and co-founder of the Ugroup at Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown.

To be considered for the 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 12 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. The Eagle project is something that fulfills a need within the community and leads to positive change.

• Kevin Sollberger, son of Lori Nomura and Mark Sollberger, is a senior at Irvine High School, where he is a member of the National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, Student Forum and Link Crew; and a three-year varsity volleyball player and captain in his senior year.

He is a member of Jr. YBA, where he has served as vice president, corresponding secretary and religious chairperson.  He also plays on the OCBC Plowboys basketball team.

In his 12 years of scouting, Sollberger has enjoyed the variety of experiences and friendships he was exposed. He has spent some of his most memorable times on scout outings, which include climbing to the top of Mt. Fuji.

His Eagle project consisted of making a new goldfish booth for the biannual religious festivals held at OCBC. As a member of the church since preschool, he has always been a part of these festivals as both a volunteer and participant. In seeing the devastated state of the old goldfish booth, he decided that it was time to make a new one. He organized and coordinated a team of experienced scouts in building a new booth from scratch, doing everything from cutting the wood, to painting it, to putting it all together. Sollberger felt fulfilled with the completion of his project as he enjoyed the smiles of the children who played the game.

• Ryan Nakamura, son of Chris and Dave Nakamura, is a senior at Cerritos High School, where he participated in cross-country, track and field, and baseball. He earned the Coach’s Award for baseball and the Golden Don Award for cross-country, and attended Mammoth camp with fellow runners. He attends St. Irenaeus Church in Cypress. His favorite basketball team is the OCBC Plowboys. He will attend UC Davis in the fall.

Since joining the Tiger Cubs 12 years ago, Nakamura has been active in the scouting program at OCBC. Many of his friends started off on the same path and remain close today as they shared the same experiences: the challenge of the Sierra hikes, friendly competitions at Camporee and IFD, the excitement of catching golden trout, the joy of Christmas caroling at Keiro, and numerous Iron Chef competitions.

Highlights from his scouting days include participating in the 14th Nippon Jamboree, canyoneering in Zion National Park, attending Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, climbing Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Nevada, winning first place in the Boy’s Life photo contest, and hiking along the shores of the Pacific Northwest in Washington.

For Nakamura’s Eagle project, he chose to make improvements at the Girl Scout Program Center in Anaheim. This was a three-part project: building three six-foot benches for a sitting area, aligning and mounting a 4’ x 6’ bulletin board to disseminate information, and clearing overgrown ivy along a 195-foot brick wall and replacing it with 100 Japanese boxwood plants.

The project involved approximately 30 scouts and a number of adult volunteers. After completion of his project, he received complimentary letters from the Girl Scout Council of Orange County and the Anaheim neighbors.

• David Sadakane, son of Ann and John Sadakane, is a junior at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, where he is a junior varsity swim team member and honor student studying advanced placement calculus and environmental science.

He started his scouting career as a Tiger Cub at OCBC. During his 11 years of scouting he assisted his fellow scouts as troop guide, patrol leader, and counselor in training, and is currently senior patrol leader. Among the most memorable scouting events to date were attending the 15th Nippon Jamboree in 2010 at Asagiri Plateau, Shizuoka Prefecture, and earning the Friendship Award.

Growing up in Huntington Beach, Sadakane enjoyed the outdoors and wildlife of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve with its sprawling estuary that he often visited with his grandparents. It was a natural choice to dedicate his Eagle service project to help the environment and community through the restoration of the Little Mesa at the reserve. He worked under the direction of Vickie Price, project coordinator for the Bolsa Chica Conservancy.

His service project consisted of: building 30 native plant protection cages; researching native seed stock and delivering seeds and starter seedlings; clearing all non-native plants, hand-watering and nurturing native seeds and seedlings over a four-month period; researching and delivering two greeting card displays for use by the Visitor Center for handmade cards depicting scenes and wildlife of Little Mesa. The completion of this project restored the animal habitat and enhanced visual enjoyment for the visitors.

• Grant Ogawa, son of Glen and Lynda Ogawa, is a senior at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, where he has been on the varsity boys’ water polo team and varsity swim team and a member of the National Honor Society this year. He has served as vice president and religious chairman for OCBC Jr. YBA, and is a member of the OCBC Plowboys basketball team in SEYO League.

Ogawa has been in scouting for 12 years in OCBC Pack 578 as a cub scout and in Troop 578 as a boy scout. He has enjoyed going on Sierra hikes, snowboarding at Mammoth, whitewater rafting on the American River, canyoneering in Utah, and a high-adventure trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

He also had a memorable trip in 2006 to the 14th Nippon Japan Jamboree held at Refresh Village on the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture. In Japan, he was able to enjoy home stays in Hiroshima and Kyoto.

His Eagle project was to help the restoration of Gibbs Park in Huntington Beach, an overwintering site for monarch butterflies on their long migration from Canada to Mexico. Ogawa directed over 30 volunteers from his troop and local high school students to prepare planting beds and to plant over 300 milkweed and other varieties of to provide food and shelter for the caterpillars and butterflies.

He enjoys going to the park, seeing all the butterflies flying about and knowing he helped restore their habitat. Thanks to the support of Huntington Beach Tree Society and park representative Leslie Gilson, who supplied all the plants, Gibbs Park is home to many new butterflies. Ogawa also appreciated the guidance from his eagle advisor, Robert Wakai, and the support of Troop 578’s scouts and parents.

He will be attending Arizona State University as a mechanical engineering major in the fall.

• Kevin Takemura, son of Ken and Cathy Takemura, is a senior at University High School in Irvine, where he was captain for the varsity wresting team as well as team captain for the previous three years, and has earned MVP and the Coach’s Award.

He is a second-generation Eagle Scout; his father and two uncles also hold that rank. He joined Troop 578 in 2007 and has spent 115 nights outdoors and hiked 198 miles during summer camps at Whitset, Circle X, and Cherry Valley, and many backpacking trips in the Sierras, San Jacinto, Mt. Baldy, Lytle Creek and other locations.

He earned 54 merit badges and awards, such as the Sangha Buddhist Religious Award and the Leduc High Adventure Award. He completed the Trailblazers national youth leader training and held the leadership positions of quartermaster, patrol leader and assistant senior patrol leader.

One of Takemura’s scouting highlights was participating in an eight-day backpacking trek through New Mexico back country at BSA’s Philmont Scout Ranch in 2008. He also participated in Troop 578’s 2010 Japan tour and the 15th Nippon Jamboree in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture. He led the troop as the senior patrol leader during the tour, and was honored to be one of a select group of representatives from around the world to attend a special reception and dinner with Crown Prince Naruhito. He is hoping to attend the 16th Nippon Jamboree in Kirarahama, Yamaguchi Prefecture in 2013.

This summer, Takemura will be working his third year as a member of the camp staff at the BSA Los Angeles Council’s Forest Lawn Scout Reservation in the San Bernardino Mountains, where he helps the participants to earn merit badges, and enjoy a summer camp experience with other scouts.

For Takemura’s Eagle service project, he designed six large rolling storage cubicles with spaces for 54 backpacks. The cubicles are used by the Kids Klub after-school care program operated by the City of Irvine at Turtle Rock Community Park. He led troop members and volunteers in building, sanding, and finishing the cubicles over a weekend. The cubicles were built using wood certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council. Some of the materials for his project were donated by Ganahl Lumber and Deft Inc. of Irvine. His project advisor was Dr. Truong Leduc, a former Troop 578 scoutmaster and father of four Troop 578 Eagle Scouts.

• Prithvik Sahil Thiruvengadam, son of Sujata and Ravi Thiruvengadam, is a senior at Troy High School in Fullerton, where he is an assembly member of the Junior Statesman of America Debate Club and part of the Troy Tech and International Baccalaureate Programs. For the past three years, he has been part of the California Scholarship Federation and a member of the National Honor Society. He has volunteered for the Orange County Early Literacy Program, reading books to children and distributing information and books to parents. Over the summer, he interned at the UCLA Linguistics Department, working on various research projects investigating the acquisition of language in infants.

Thiruvengadam has been in scouting for 11 years. He has valued the opportunities that scouting has given him; he has had the chance to climb mountains, bike along the beach, and hike in the snow. He has grown both as a scout and as a person through his many experiences in the outdoors.

His Eagle project involved rebuilding and installing fencing along Yorba Regional Park’s hiking/biking trail. In many areas along the trail, there were gaps where bikers cut across, which severely damaged the grass and plants that surrounded the trail. As a result, wildlife in the park was being disturbed; the park rangers wanted to avoid such recurring damage to the vegetation of the area.

To solve this problem, he assembled a group of about 14 scout volunteers, along with many parents, removed the termite-infested posts, and installed new, round lodgepole posts to ensure a clear distinction between trail and grass. Thiruvengadam’s efforts ultimately led to other people contributing to similar projects along the trail, and now the entire 1.5-mile stretch of trail has sturdy lodgepole posts.

• Kurt Hirata, son of Ken and Lorene Hirata, is a senior at Fairmont Preparatory Academy in Anaheim, where he was active in the Academic Decathlon Team, vice president and co-founder of the Academic Decathlon Club, and a member of the National Society and California Scholarship Federation. He played the trumpet in the school orchestra, pep band, wind ensemble and All-Southern Honor Band.

Hirata was involved in scouts from the first through 12th grade, receiving the Arrow of Light. He enjoyed hiking and camping trips from the Sierra Nevada to Puget Sound, receiving the 100-mile and 80-night camping award. He also participated in the National Youth Leadership Training Program at the Lost Valley Boy Scout Camp, where participants are mixed with scouts from other troops from the Orange County Council, and are taught better leadership skills. He held positions as troop guide, troop instructor, and troop bugler.

In January 2011, Hirata attained the rank of Eagle Scout. For his Eagle project, he built a portable literature stand, wooden direction signs, and an archeological teaching box for day campers at the Turtle Rock Nature Center in Irvine.

• Trenton Tanioka, son of Jo Ann and Kevin Tanioka, is a senior at John F. Kennedy High School in La Palma, where he was student body president this past year as well as a varsity football and a varsity baseball player. In September, he was recognized as a “Student of the Month.”

He has served as president and religious chairman for the OCBC Jr. YBA, and has been an assistant Dharma school teacher for the past three years. He is member of the OCBC Plowboy basketball team. He will be attending UC Irvine in the fall.

Tanioka has been in scouting for 12 years. He has enjoyed the friendships that he has developed through scouting as well as the activities that he has been able to experience, including camping, hiking and service projects.

His Eagle project was to build storage cabinets for the ASB room at Kennedy High School. As student body president this past year, he saw a need for the ASB members to have a personal space to store their books, backpacks and various handouts and flyers. He assembled and led scout volunteers in building four oak cabinets, each of which would allow eight students to store their personal items. After the cabinets were assembled, the scouts stained the cabinets. Tanioka felt satisfaction when he presented the cabinets and saw and heard the excitement expressed by the advisors and class members.

• Matthew “Hunter” Shinto, son of Paul and Vicki Shinto, attended John F. Kennedy High School in La Palma, and graduated with honors. He was in the award-winning Kennedy Shamrock Regiment marching band for four years and was section leader of the drumline.

For his Eagle project, he led a team in building three white oak benches for his church, Cerritos Baptist. The benches are now enjoyed by the parishioners and will be enjoyed for many years to come. Hunter will be attending UC at Irvine in the fall, majoring in biological sciences.

• Ryan Minoru Kawahara, son of Eugene and Sharon Kawahara, is a senior at Rancho Alamitos High School in Garden Grove, where he is the historian for the French Club. He also likes to run and bike on his own. He enjoys the outdoors and one of his hobbies includes taking pictures of the things around him.

Kawahara has been involved with scouting for 10 years, starting out as a Bear Cub Scout. He values the experiences that he has had and friends he has made since he began, and has fun on all the hikes and high adventure outings the troop has to offer.

His Eagle project was coordinating the activities for the Miramar Christmas Party, located in Miramar, San Diego. The party was put on for the families of the Raiders, a Marine air refueler squadron. He collected over 300 toy donations that were then wrapped and labeled so that they could be handed out by Santa at the party. He set up a booth that printed group photos of families with Santa and another booth where families were able to make video messages for loved ones who were stationed away from Miramar. The kids had a blast and Kawahara was pleased that the party went over so well.

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