TORRANCE — Boy Scout Troop 719, sponsored by Faith United Methodist Church, celebrated and honored five young men — Mitchell T. Tanaka, Derek Tsutomu Inouye, Timothy Masahiko Kubota, Mitchell Y. Fujimura, and Jonathan Yutaka Tondo — for their achievement of attaining the highest scouting rank as Eagle Scouts at the Ken Nakaoka Memorial Community Center in Gardena on March 22.
• Mitchell Tanaka was born on Jan. 30, 1996 at Torrance Memorial Hospital to Paul and Karen Tanaka. Mitchell has one older brother, Eagle Scout Cary Tanaka, who, despite being in a different troop, has helped and supported Mitchell throughout his scouting career. The path to becoming an Eagle was full of challenges, but with the knowledge and skills learned through scouting to prepare him, Mitchell was able to overcome many obstacles to achieve the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.
Mitchell attended Peninsula Montessori School, Yukon Elementary School, Seaside Elementary School, and Calle Mayor Middle School and is currently attending South High School, where, for the past four years, he has been an active member of the marching band.
After Mitchell’s father passed away in 2001, his uncle, Craig Yabuta, who was also an Eagle Scout, moved from Boise, Idaho to act as a paternal figure. With his uncle’s encouragement, Mitchell began his scouting career in 2003 as a Cub Scout of Pack 586. Instead of following his brother’s footsteps and joining Troop 683, Mitchell chose to take his own path and bridged over to Troop 719 in 2007.
His first patrol was the Ducks patrol with patrol leader Eric Masukawa. He was also a member of the Ninja Spartans, Spam Musubies, Grantaloupes and Wadamelons, Mario Party and Most Wanted patrols and was the patrol leader of the Tanaka Flocka Flame patrol. As a patrol leader, Mitchell learned many valuable lessons and discovered his true strengths and weaknesses. Scouting has also offered Mitchell many opportunities for exploration and adventure, such as several summer camps, visiting the Philmont Scout Ranch twice and summiting Mount Whitney.
As a large supporter of Mitchell’s scouting, his grandfather, Richard Yabuta, was the main inspiration for his Eagle Project. Being a pharmacist, Richard was the pharmacy consultant for Dr. Faye Williams and her facility, the Prairie Place Adult Day Health Care Center. This is a care center for the mentally and physically disabled. For his Eagle Project, Mitchell designed and constructed four planters fit for the use of the clients of the care center in wheelchairs. This enabled the large majority of the facility’s population to enjoy outdoor activities such as gardening. Under Mitchell’s direction, the project was completed with the help of over 70 volunteers and 481 hours of hard work.
“I would like to thank all of my fellow Troop 719 scouts, the Scoutmaster Corps, fathers, Mother’s Club, alumni, friends and, of course, my family. Without any of you, I would not have been able to reach this amazing goal,” Mitchell said.
• Derek Inouye was born on May 28, 1996 to Wade and Juliann Inouye. He has an older brother, also an Eagle Scout from Troop 719, named Daniel and a younger brother, Dale, who lost his life to cancer at the age of 9. Derek attended Arlington Elementary School and Casimir Middle School, and is currently a senior at North High School. He is actively involved in the Associated Student Body (ASB) Leadership Program and multiple clubs, including California Scholarship Federation, the National Honor Society, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, where he is the current president. He hopes to attend UCLA or UC San Diego and someday become a pediatric oncologist.
Outside of scouting and academics, sports is a major part of Derek’s life. At the age of 5, he began playing basketball for the F.O.R. Knights. He also became a student of aikido at the Yoseikan dojo in Palos Verdes. Soon after he began playing T-ball with the Islanders and eventually baseball with the Sansei Tigers.
At the age of 8, he joined the award-winning Halau Keali’i O Nalani and competed with the men’s team in the 2011 Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo, Hawaii and the Ia ‘Oe E Kala Hula Festival in Pleasanton, Calif. Although he remained dedicated to these programs growing up, his passion is basketball. Derek played on the freshman, JV team and is currently on the varsity team at North High School under coaches Luke and Gary Duperron. Derek also loves to swim and is a 4-year varsity swimmer.
Music has also been an important part of Derek’s life. He enjoys playing the drums and ukulele with his church youth bands and filling in as a drummer for a band featuring his father, FUMC music director Rick Izumi and Miles Watanabe.
Derek grew up always wanting to be like his older brother, doing every sport and activity he did, including Boy Scouts. Although Danny continues to be a strong influence in Derek’s life, much of his inspiration comes from his younger brother, Dale, who fought courageously against leukemia for seven years. This life changing experience taught Derek to never give up and live life to the fullest. Dale’s memory lives on through a hiking patch given only to the hikers who have peaked San Jacinto five times. Dale will forever be Derek’s inspiration and hero.
One of Derek’s most memorable times in scouting was serving as patrol leader for the Hawaiian Sun Patrol. His most rewarding challenge was leading his patrol during Long Term at Manzanar, where he learned the importance of communication, encouragement, and trust. Derek’s leadership continued on as senior patrol leader and he was awarded the “Scout of the Year” honor in 2013.
Derek’s Eagle project took place at Faith United Methodist Church , where he is currently an active member of the youth ministry. With Jerry Takao as his project advisor and Arnold Kaji and Jerry Tondo as his construction advisors, he helped design and build five chair racks with wheels to store 100 newly purchased chairs for the church. In addition, he spray-paint stenciled the initials of the church and placed security identification stickers on the bottom of each chair. Cleaning out and reorganizing the southwest storage unit of the church was also necessary for storage of the chair racks. With the help and support from Faith United Methodist Church, Troop 719 members, alumni, alumni Eagle Scouts, family, and friends, Derek’s project was a success.
He would like to sincerely thank Troop 719, past and current patrol leaders and scoutmasters, Mother’s club, his Eagle Board of Review panel, coaches, teachers, and his family and friends for the love, support and encouragement throughout his journey to Eagle.
• Timothy Masahiko Kubota was born on Sept. 19, 1996 to Neil and Midori Kubota at Little Company of Mary Hospital. He is the younger child of two sons. His older brother is Matthew Kubota, who became an Eagle Scout of Troop 719 in 2006.
Timmy started out at Arlington Elementary School, but after second grade he got moved to Lincoln Elementary School. He then attended Casimir Middle School. He is currently a senior at North Torrance High School. Timmy plays volleyball for North but at the same time strives for good grades.
Some activities Timmy enjoys are playing basketball, hanging out with friends, listening to music, playing video games, watching TV, and most importantly, sleeping. He also enjoys the occasional family vacation to Hawaii. Growing up, Timmy participated in T-ball and baseball for six years. He has also continuously played on the Clippers basketball team for seven years.
Timmy began his scouting career at age 11 in 2007. He decided to join because he wanted to follow in his brother’s footsteps and one day attain the rank of Eagle Scout. Timmy has gone on many scout outings and hikes. He has seen the highest and lowest points of the contiguous United States, literally. He has peaked many mountains, including many peaks around San Gorgonio Mountain, San Jacinto, Mammoth, Tooth of Time Peak in New Mexico, Haleakala on Maui, Mauna Loa on the Big Island, and his biggest accomplishment, Mt. Whitney.
Timmy has held various positions in the troop such as historian, chaplain aide, assistant patrol leader, and patrol leader. Each position has earned him valuable knowledge that he will carry on with him forever. In 2013 he became a patrol leader for the Most Wanted patrol. With his outstanding leadership, he and his patrol received the “Awesome Patrol” award during the third quarter of that year. Timmy currently holds the position of instructor.
In August of 2012, after a year and a half of intensive studying of Buddhism, Timmy received the Sangha Award, the most prestigious award for Buddhist Boy Scouts. In order to receive this award he had to attend class twice a month for a year and a half.
For his Eagle Project, Timmy decided to help Lincoln Elementary School. He specifically chose that place because he wanted to help the school where he graduated from and where his mom currently teaches. On April 7, 2013, he executed his project. With the guidance of his advisor, Dr. Wade Inouye, he led a group of family, friends, fathers, mothers, and scouts who built a planter, repainted the lines in the kindergarten yard, sanded and painted the outdoor shelves of the classrooms, and designed and painted a chessboard on the playground.
He built the planter to block cars from parking in that particular area. He decided to paint the lines because they were becoming faded and hardly noticeable. He painted the shelves to brighten them up. He then painted a chessboard on the asphalt for the after-school Chess Club at the school. Katherine Castleberry, the principal, expressed her gratitude and appreciation for all the projects done that day.
Attaining Eagle Scout rank is by far the greatest accomplishment so far in his life. A few of the important things he learned in the process were starting and planning projects early and good communication, which is the key to anything.
Timmy would like to thank everyone who has helped and guided him through his long journey to Eagle. This includes the current scouts, alumni, the fathers, and Mother’s Club. He would like to thank his brother for his encouragement and also his parents for their love and support throughout his journey and guiding him all the way.
• Mitchell Y. Fujimura was born to Ross and Nancy Fujimura on July 22, 1996 at Torrance Memorial Hospital. He is the younger of their two sons. His older brother Jonathan is also an Eagle Scout. The family resides in Torrance. His hobbies include skateboarding, running, music, hiking, camping, fishing and scouting.
Mitchell attended Hickory Tree Elementary School and Lincoln Elementary, then went on to Casimir Middle School and North High School in Torrance. At North High, he was involved in many school clubs: Japanese Club, Photo Club, Chess Club, Auto Club, K-pop Club, and Karaoke Club. In his earlier years he also played baseball in the Sansei League on the LA Dodgers team. He had eight years of piano lessons at Mrs. Van Burren’s music studio in Lomita. Last year he finally earned his driver’s license.
He joined Cub Scout Pack 733 in March of 2002 as a Tiger Cub. In November of 2004 Mitchell joined Pack 862. During his Cub Scout years he was exposed to the outdoors through camping, cook-outs, pinewood derbies, rainbow regattas, and hiking. He obtained the Arrow of Light award from Pack 862 in January of 2007. At 10½ years old he “bridged over” to Boy Scouts.
Joining Boys Scouts of America Troop 719 was the beginning of his hiking experiences and outdoor adventures. Mitchellwent to summer campsat Catalina Island, Emerald Bay and Cherry Valley; the High Sierras; Camp Whitsett; and New Mexico’s Philmont Boys Scout Ranch in 2010 and 2012. Mitchell enjoyed hiking Mt. Whitney, Yosemite, Mammoth Mountain and Hawaii’s Big Island. Hiking over the years has brought him closer to nature and an appreciation for the great outdoors.He also learned the importance of skills such as teamwork and leadership. As a new leader in Troop 719, he attained positions as assistant patrol leader and patrol leader and is currently assistant senior patrol leader.
Mitchell’s Eagle scout service project took place at Denker Elementary School in Gardena, on July 20, 2013. It involved the building of nine planter boxes to be used for classroom projects and beautification of the school. He had to fill all the boxes with potting soil. He got help from Kellogg’s Garden Company, who gave him 127 bags of their product. Without their generous donation. he would not have been able to fill the boxes. The whole troop came out to complete the project. It turned out great.
Mitchell is planning to attend El Camino College for two years to obtain his AA degree then transferring to the University of Southern California to major in biology in order to obtain his bachelor’s degree in biological science. After that he plans on going to pharmacy school to earn his pharmacy degree. Then he will pursue a career in the medical field.
He believes that BSA Troop 719 has given him the opportunity to try many things. The lessons he learned from being in this troop, such as first aid, knots and leadership opportunities/skills, will help him be successful in life. The Troop 719 family has given him so much and for that he is truly grateful.
• Jonathan Tondo was born on Nov. 7, 1996 in Los Angeles. He attended Grand View Elementary School and Manhattan Beach Middle School, and is currently a junior at Mira Costa High School. He has one just wonderful sister, Jessica (19).
Besides scouting, Jonathan is very active at his high school and in sports. He is currently the president of Young at Heart Club, which teaches senior citizens how to use computers. He also played badminton for a year at his high school. Outside of school, Jonathan plays for the F.O.R Lakers and played for Sansei Baseball on the Angels for five years.
Jonathan joined the scouts in January of 2008. In his first year, he was lucky to have great leadership in the Ninja Spartan patrol led by Justin Doi. Later Jonathan would become part of the Mucha Musubi’s, Hamburglers, and the Tanaka Flocka Flames patrols. During this time he observed and learned from his patrol leaders. In 2013, Jonathan tackled the challenge of being patrol leader himself. The position was both fun and challenging. Every challenge that was thrown at him during this time has shaped him to strive to be the best leader that he can be.
For his eagle project, Jonathan chose to build a resource room for Faith United Methodist Church, which has always been a part of his life, making it the undeniable choice for his project. With the help of Maxine Butcher, Jerry Takao, Eagle Coach Glenn Murakami, Troop 719 Scouts, families, and friends, Jonathan’s project to build bookshelves, clear closets, paint benches, and touch up the bathroom and resource room in the Peter Chen annex was successfully completed on Sept. 7, 2013.
Looking back on his years in Troop 719, Jonathan believes that these moments and experiences in the troop have been the most memorable and influential in his life. Scouting not only is preparing him for the road ahead, but has also given him lifelong friends, priceless lessons and amazing experiences that he will treasure for the rest of his life. Jonathan and his family thank the troop for the support that they have given so selflessly over the years.