Seven OCBC Scouts Attain Eagle Rank

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From left: Kevin Kato, Ryan Oune, Kynan Oune, Nicholas Nguyen, Ryan Togashi, Marc Marutani, and Kevin Shishido.

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 24, 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, OCBC President Howard Nagasaki, and Laura Yamamoto, representing OCBC Buddhist Women’s Association. The ceremony included an inspirational speech by Craig Ishii, co-founder and executive director of Kizuna, a nonprofit organization with a mission of building a vibrant Nikkei community.

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 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 as well as something that fulfills a need within the community and leads to positive change.

• Kevin Takeshi Shishido, son of Ray and Arleen Shishido, graduated with honors from Laguna Hills High School. He was a four-year member of the Hawks football team, playing on the varsity team during his junior and senior seasons. He also played varsity golf during his junior and senior years and achieved Scholar Athlete in each of his four years.

In addition to sports, Kevin played double bass in the symphony orchestra and was an active member of Key Club and MADE Environmental Science Club. A member of the California Scholarship Federation, his academic curriculum this year included Advanced Placement courses in calculus, biology, Spanish and psychology. He had a busy and enjoyable four years at Laguna Hills High School.

Kevin has been active in scouting at OCBC since joining Tiger Cub Scouts in the first grade. Some of his favorite scouting memories include: attending the 15th Nippon Jamboree in Asagiri, Japan, catching a 35-pound yellowtail (“jackpot”) fish on a deep-sea fishing trip, rock-climbing in Joshua Tree, and being Kuma patrol leader when they were awarded “Best Patrol” at the 2010 Orange Frontier District Camporee. 

Kevin earned 42 merit badges and completed Trailblazers National Youth Leadership training during his scouting career.  In addition to achieving his Eagle Scout rank, he earned both Bronze and Gold Palm awards.

For his Eagle Scout project, Kevin designed and constructed five garden benches and 27 poetry plaques for the Verse Garden at George Key Ranch in Placentia. The historic park was in need of new benches and plaques to replace the deteriorated ones, which had seen better days. The project required extensive coordination with Orange County Parks Resource Specialist Bradley Flynt and planning by Kevin under the guidance of Eagle Advisor Chris Oune.

As a result of Kevin’s leadership and the hard work of 30 scouts, visitors can now relax on the much-needed benches and enjoy the verses of George Key. Upon completion of the project, Flynt stated, “Your efforts have helped to maintain our gardens as a place of reflection to be enjoyed by all our visitors.”

Kevin will be attending UC Riverside in the fall, majoring in chemical engineering.

• Ryan Sadayoshi Oune, son of Chris and Kimiko Oune, is a graduate of Arnold O. Beckman High School, where he was the founder and president of the Beckman Taiko Club. He was a two-year member of the football team as well as an honors scholar.

He has been attending Dharma Sunday School since sixth grade. He is a member of Jr. YBA and has served one year as the religious chair on cabinet. He has played in SEYO basketball since second grade and volunteered to help coach for OCBC Chibiko in his junior year.

Ryan has been in scouting since Tiger 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, scribe, patrol leader, senior patrol leader, and junior assistant scoutmaster. His trip to Japan was one of his greatest memories of his time as a Boy Scout.

His Eagle project consisted of him building two festival games for the everyday use of the church and utilities for OCBC. The two games, known as Freddy Launching and The Pachinko, can be seen or played at the Hanamatsuri and Obon festivals.

In the fall, he will be attending Cal State Fullerton, where he will be working towards obtaining a degree in computer science. He hopes to join other clubs and activities to become more involved with campus life just as he was involved in many organizations at OCBC.

• Kynan Toshio Oune, son of Michael and Noreen Oune, and co-triplet to Kaley and Nyles Oune, graduated in June 2012 from Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, where he was a four-year member of the Lancer Varsity Wrestling Team and active participant in the annual “Feed the Homeless” at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Buena Park. Kynan was recognized with a certificate by the County of Orange for his continuing participation in this community service event.

He was also a member of OCBC Gohan boys basketball team, and a member of OCBC Jr. YBA.

Kynan is a freshman attending California State Fullerton with a focus on biomedical sciences. In addition to his primary focus on collegiate academic studies at CSUF, he is also a member of the local Nikkei Student Union chapter.

Kynan has been in scouting for 13 years. He appreciates and is grateful for the values and many friendships formed during his tenure, especially while fishing, skiing, hiking in the mountains, and high-adventure experiences such as climbing to the summit of Mt. Fuji in 2010, along with the leadership, inspiration and knowledge he has acquired from his adult leaders, who have had a profound impact on his educational path. 

He led his fellow scouts in the planning, design and building of four Red Mangaris benches for an outdoor seating area at St. John Maron Maronite Church in Orange. Kynan researched many Eagle Scout projects within Troop 578 and decided to do one that would represent the troop to the community outside of OCBC and give back to that community. The Orange Frontier Boy Scout Council-petitioned project was presented to him by Kenneth Takemura, Eagle Scout program advisor.

Kynan felt a sense of accomplishment, honor and satisfaction when he presented his newly built Red Mangaris hardwood benches to the parishioners at St. John Maron Maronite Church. The priest, clergy and parishioners received the benches with great excitement and much appreciation. The priest mentioned that they would first use these benches inside the church because they were so nicely constructed, then place them in the church courtyard for parishioners to enjoy.

His project advisor was Dr. Randall Kanemaki, a former Troop 578 scoutmaster, father of four, and continuing active alumnus in the annual Troop 578 shotgun shooting event.

• Nicholas Tuong-Lan Duc Nguyen, son of Linhcat and Nhan Duc Nguyen, graduated with honors from Troy High School and the Troy Tech program. During his years in high school, he was active in swimming and martial arts. He was also an active member of the Future Business Leaders of America and Best Buddies clubs, along with volunteering his time helping the Orange County Food Bank and feeding the homeless during the holiday seasons.

Nicholas has been in scouting for five years, holding various leadership positions from patrol historian, patrol instructor, and patrol leader to troop instructor within Troop 578. He has enjoyed fishing, shotgun shooting, skiing, and hanging out with his scout friends. During this time in scouting, he has also earned the Sangha Award and World Conservation Award. He attained Eagle in December 2012.

His Eagle project consisted of building two wooden display kiosks at George Key Ranch Park in Placentia. The park’s current display kiosk had gotten old and moldy, and was beginning to fall apart. This project required much cooperation between Nicholas and his project advisor, Randy Nakahiro. The park now has two sturdy display kiosks that will last a long time into the future and will help spread information regarding the park to the public. He is very pleased at the work he has done to help the park and the community.

Nicholas will be studying biology in the fall at UC Riverside.

• Ryan Cody Togashi, son of Calvin and Kyung Togashi, graduated from Cypress High School, where he was a member of the National Honors Society and graduated with academic honors. He was a four-year member of the basketball and volleyball teams, playing two years of varsity in both sports. In each basketball season he won the Scholar Athlete Award and the Coaches’ Award of Excellence, and was nominated to the All-Empire League Team his senior year.

Ryan will be attending UCLA in the fall, majoring in biochemistry. He hopes to go to a graduate school and ultimately enter into a healthcare profession.

At OCBC, Ryan is a fourth-grade basketball coach, a Dharma School kindergarten assistant teacher, and a member of the Jr. YBA. He enjoys working with kids and seeing them develop as individuals through the years.

Ryan began his scouting career in the fall of 2001 when he joined Cub Scout Pack 578. After five years of Cub Scouts and attaining the Arrow of Light, he crossed over into Boy Scout Troop 578. He was an active member of the troop, serving as a patrol leader, instructor, assistant senior patrol leader, and other leadership roles.

His favorite memory of scouting was in Philmont, where his trek consisted of five days hiking in the back country for 36 miles with a 55-pound backpack. Although he may have dreaded the experience during its occurrence, he is very appreciative of the life lessons it taught him, including putting others before himself and trying to make the best out of every situation.

For his Eagle project, he installed a rain gutter system on one of the OCBC residential homes. Under the supervision of John Nakamoto, he successfully completed his project. The rain gutter system will prevent water damage to the house and save the church money for years to come.

Ryan took the project because he wanted to give back to OCBC. He is very grateful of the all opportunities the church has offered him throughout the years.

• Kevin Tadashi Kato, son of Jim and Stephanie Kato, graduated from Fountain Valley High School in Fountain Valley. He was an AP scholar with honors and a member of the National Honor Society and Science Olympiad as well as a four-year member of the golf team at his school. He was also the co-president of OCBC Jr. Young Buddhist Association.

Kevin began his scouting career in Tiger Cubs and has been active in scouting for 12 years. He has held nearly every major leadership position, including patrol leader, senior patrol leader, instructor, and junior assistant scoutmaster. One of the highlights of his scouting career was hiking the back country of Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, where he served as trek leader. 

For his Eagle Scout project, Kevin renovated a garden and installed a new irrigation system at the Fountain Valley Historical Society. The purpose of this project was to benefit the visitors of the park by providing a more visually appealing garden as well as alleviating some of the work needed to manually water the area. He worked under the guidance of his Eagle project advisor, Dr. Howard Nakashioya.

Kevin’s experience in Troop 578 was one of the most memorable times of his childhood. Scouting has taught him to be a good leader, follower and friend. He would like to thank Troop 578, his family and friends who have supported and encouraged him.

He will be attending UC Riverside in the fall, majoring in business informatics.

• Marc Kenji Marutani, son of Joel and Wendy Marutani, is a junior at El Modena High School in Orange. He is currently taking several AP courses, and is a member of National Honors Society at his school, California Scholarship Federation, and the Flash Mob club. He participated in three years of high school basketball, and one season of track. Having played piano since the age of six, he plans to play in his school marching band and the jazz band this upcoming year.

Marc has been a part of OCBC since the age of five, having gone through all the years of Dharma sShool, and participated in Chibiko basketball and Seyo baseball and basketball. This year he volunteered as an assistant teacher to the third-grade Dharma School class, and as a returning assistant coach for Chibiko. He is also an active member of his church’s Jr. YBA, having served as the religious chair this past year, and plans to serve as the fundraising chair this year.

For his Eagle project, Marc constructed a wooden bench, a display board and a sensory garden for his high school’s nature center. Its purpose is to provide visitors with ideas for their own gardens, using California native plants. This area will also aid the students of the surrounding elementary schools with their lessons, as they visit the nature center to learn about what plants Native Americans used.

Within Troop 578, Marc has served a variety of leadership positions, including senior patrol leader, and has participated in the troop shotgun competition several times, plus rock climbing, backpack hiking, and several summer camps. He is looking forward to visiting Japan for the first time, for the Boy Scout Japan Jamboree.

In the summer of 2012, he was selected to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine at UCLA, and he will represent his school as a delegate to Boys State 2013 this summer.

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