Troop 578 announces 5 Eagle Scouts

From left to right: Benjamin Mendoza, Michael Lee, Matthew Lee, Tyler Chia, Kenji Swun. (Photo by Mike Nishida)

ANAHEIM – Boy Scouts of America Troop 578, licensed by the Orange County Buddhist Church (OCBC) in Anaheim, is proud to announce five Boy Scouts who recently attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

On May 21, Michael Lee, Benjamin Mendoza, Kenji Swun, Matthew Lee and Tyler Chia were recognized at an Eagle Court of Honor. The ceremony included an inspirational speech by Deputy Scout Leader Edwin Wakabayashi.

Only 4% of scouts obtain the rank of Eagle. To be considered for the rank, the highest honor a Scout can earn, a candidate must be active in their troop, hold a leadership position, earn at least 21 merit badges (including 13 required Eagle badges), complete a leadership service project benefiting their local community and receiving letters of recommendation.

The rank of Eagle represents many years of dedicated effort and the successful completion of a long process that began when the young man became a Scout. It’s a demonstration of how people, working together, can really help shape a young man with a strong sense of leadership, citizenship and responsibility.

Michael Lee, son of Peter and Linda Lee, is a junior at Los Alamitos High School. He plays for the Los Al Lacrosse team, has captained the JV team, and is currently a varsity athlete. He is also actively involved in many school organizations such as the California Scholarship Federation and First Robotics Team 6220, as well as various clubs.

Michael started scouting as a Tiger Scout with Pack 578 and later moved to Troop 578 in 2016. Throughout his scouting career he has held many positions, at patrol and troop level , including: Outdoor Ethics Guide, Patrol Quartermaster, Patrol Leader, Troop Quartermaster, Patrol Instructor and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.

Michael attended almost every event offered by the troupe. Some of his favorite events are shotgun camp, summer camps, and beach camp. One of his greatest experiences while scouting was during the 2017 whitewater rafting camp, when the troop forgot to bring cooking utensils and they had to find a new way to prepare their having dinner.

For his Eagle Project, he created COVID care packages for seniors in the city of Long Beach. Its beneficiary was Gladys Kaiser of the Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation, and Marine-Senior/Older Adults program. He chose this project because his great-uncle (Tom), a resident of the Nikkei Senior Gardens Home in Arleta, had mentioned feeling isolated and a lack of activities for him due to social distancing and outdoor restrictions. Michael wanted to provide Long Beach seniors with activities to keep them entertained while remaining socially safe. In his care kits, he included reusable masks sewn by Scouts and volunteers, handwritten letters of positivity and encouragement from Scouts, reading book, crossword/sudoku/activity books, pens , hand sanitizer and disposable mask, all contained in a T578 tote bag.

In the future, Michael hopes to pursue a career in mechanical engineering and computer science. Additionally, he will participate in the 2022 AIM summer program at the US Coast Guard Academy, after which he hopes to attend one of the five service academies.

Benjamin Mendoza, son of Sandra and Jesse Mendoza, recently graduated from Cerritos High School and is attending UC Irvine in the fall. While attending Cerritos High, he was involved in numerous student organizations such as the Associated Student Body, where he served as President of ASB, Model United Nations, Cross Country and Track.

Benjamin started scouting as a Tiger Cub in the 578 pack. He finished Cubs in 2014 and then moved on to 578 Troop. While in 578 Troop, he held a plethora of leadership positions , including troop historian, troop scribe, patrol leader, patrol instructor. , and Deputy Senior Patrol Leader.

He has many fond memories with Troop 578, one being his time at Rock Creek, which is Troop 578’s annual camp at Mammoth with a fishing tournament. He attended this camp several times and really enjoyed his time there.

Benjamin started his Eagle project in September 2021. His aunt, Ines Mendoza, is a kindergarten teacher at Compton Avenue Elementary. During the summer, he visited his kindergarten class. It’s a Title 1 school, and he noticed that the classroom lacked important supplies and materials such as books and furniture. For this reason, he decided to build a bookshelf and organize a collection of books to give to the class. With the support of his Eagle Project advisor, Mike Nishida, Benjamin was able to successfully build the shelf and donate it to the class.

Regarding the book drive, Benjamin has been in contact with the school principal, who has organized a list of books they would like to receive. These books covered topics such as diversity and inclusion. The principal and Benjamin felt it was important to collect book donations that reflected the diversity of the school. The book drive was a success with over 100 books collected.

Benjamin officially obtained the rank of Eagle on April 12. He is deeply grateful for the support of Troop 578, the Buddhist Church of Orange County, and all of the friends and family who have supported him along the way.

Kenji Swun, son of Si and Sallie Swun, is a rising senior at Los Alamitos High School. He is a varsity cross-country and track runner and will complete his fourth year in both sports this year. He has taken many advanced placement courses and has been involved in the CSF, Spanish Honor Society and volunteer clubs. He has served as Co-Chair of the Helping Hands Volunteer Club for the past two years.

Kenji started scouting in first year as a Tiger Scout in Pack 578 and moved up to Troop 578 in 2016 with his Arrow of Light, Metta Award, and Super Achiever Award after fifth year. He has held several positions including Patrol Historian, Scribe, Quartermaster, Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, Instructor, Trail to First Class Instructor and Troop Guide. Kenji’s favorite summer camp has been Camp Cherry Valley on Catalina Island, as well as the annual shotgun shooting event.

For his Eagle project, Kenji planned and executed the creation of four raised bed planters and a large movable trellis for the Orange County Buddhist Church in Anaheim. He chose OCBC as his beneficiary because he was a lifetime member of the Dharma School, taiko, youth groups, sports and scouts. His inspiration came from his grandfather and Eagle counselor, Paul Fujimoto, who is an active member and helps maintain the landscape of the temple. Thanks to the guidance of his grandfather and his “uncle” Earl, Deputy Scoutmaster Earl King, the older members of the OCBC now have a place where they can grow vegetables and flowers.

Kenji was granted the rank of Eagle Scout on April 26. He would like to thank Troop 578, OCBC and the families who have supported and guided him throughout his Scouting career. When Kenji graduates in 2023, he plans to pursue a career in economics and finance.

Matthew Lee, son of Peter and Linda Lee, is a rising senior at Los Alamitos High School. He is the electrical manager of FIRST Robotics Competition Team 6220 and a member of the CSF. He took several AP courses and maintained good grades during his time in high school. Additionally, he has participated in several other activities, such as OCBC SEYO Basketball and Jr. YBA.

Matthew joined Pack 578 as a Tiger Scout before finally crossing over in 2016 to join Troop 578. He has held various leadership positions, such as historian, outdoor ethics guide, patrol leader Kuma and, more recently, Trail to First. Class coordinator.

Matthew went on many outings during his time in Troop 578. Some of his favorites included summer camp at Camp Cherry Valley and beach camp at San Clemente State Beach. One of his favorite memories was on the New Boy Hike, where he hiked to the top of Mount Wilson as an inexperienced hiker. Accomplishment has taught him that he can do anything if he has the determination to do it.

For Matthew’s Eagle Project, he built storage cubbies and a shelf for his former Grade 2 teacher, Ruth Freedman-Finch, at Weaver Elementary School. With the help and guidance of his Eagle ASM advisor, Sutai Wu, Matthew was able to build two new cubby units and a tiered storage unit to store books and other supplies. He looks forward to his senior visit to Weaver Elementary in 2023 to see the new furniture in action.

In the future, Matthew plans to pursue a career in electrical or computer engineering. He plans to attend an accredited university with a major in electrical engineering.

Tyler Chia, son of Jenn and Tom Chia, recently graduated from El Dorado High School in Placentia. While attending El Dorado, he was involved with volleyball, basketball, National Honor Society, CSF, OC Outreach, and various other clubs.

Tyler began his Scouting career with Troop 578 in 2017. He was part of the Scorpion Patrol and has served as Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, Troop Scribe, Troop Outdoor Ethics Guide, and Scouting Instructor. troop. His favorite events include the annual sea fishing trip, Rock Creek camping, backpacking trips, and shotgun shooting.

For his Eagle Scout project, Tyler built four basketball stands for Chibiko Basketball with help from ASM Mauldin, ASM Wu, and Beneficiary Representative Calvin Togashi. Chibiko Basketball is a youth basketball clinic held at the Orange County Buddhist Church for elementary school boys and girls. Basketball hoops have replaced the old bins that were used to store balls. They will help make the clinic more organized and provide players with a better experience. They are also constructed with non-marking rubber casters to protect the new OCBC Gymnasium floor and made foldable for storage in tight spaces. Each of the racks was painted with the color of the teams – red, yellow, green and blue.

Tyler would like to thank everyone who has supported him in his time with Troop 578, from all Scoutmasters, to ASMs, Boy Scouts and everyone in between. In the fall, he will attend UCLA, where he will study physical sciences in hopes of pursuing a career in statistics.


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