On Thursday, Jan. 24, the Pukahi District (Puna, Ka‘u, Hilo) of the Boy Scouts of America held its annual recognition dinner, highlighting five deserving adult scouters who have helped further the Scouting program in East Hawaii.
The Scout Family of the Year is awarded annually for noteworthy service by a husband and wife registered in Scouting. Mitch and Kris Santa Maria were announced as the Scout Family of 2012 by longtime Scouter and Vice Chairman of Programs, Amy Ban. Mitch is serving as a Pack Committee member and also a Crew Committee member.
His wife Kris has served as a Den Leader, a Pack Committee member, a Troop Committee member and is currently registered as a Venture Crew Advisor.
The Silver Beaver Award is a coveted recognition presented by the Aloha Council to an outstanding adult volunteer.
The 2012 honoree is Jon Hayashi, a 24 year veteran of Boy Scouting. Jon, an Eagle Scout himself, has served as an Assistance Scoutmaster and is now a Scoutmaster.
He also serves Scouting by being a member of the District Committee and as a Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor. He has earned the District Award of Merit and has served as the chair for the annual Boy Scout Makahiki Show. The award was presented by Helen Shirota-Benevides, the Aloha Council Vice President.
Two adult scouters were the recipients of the District Award of Merit at Thursday night’s Recognition Dinner celebration by Walter Miller, PUKAHI District Commissioner. The Award of Merit is presented to scouters who render service of an outstanding nature at the District level.
The night’s first Award of Merit was presented to Gail Wagner, a scouter for over 15 years. Gail has served at both the Cub and Boy Scout levels and is now the District’s Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner. She has earned numerous other Scouting recognitions.
The second Award of Merit recipient for 2012 was Dr. Aaron Morita, a well known and well respected local physician. He is currently an Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 23. He was also the Assistant Scoutmaster for the Big Island Contingent of boys who attended the 2001 National Scout Jamboree and then again at the 2005 Jamboree. Aaron has been most generous with his time as both a physician and as a Scout Merit Badge Counselor.
Boys Scouting would not be possible without the many hundreds of hours that adults willingly contribute each year. Over 800 boys in the Pukahi District are in Cub and Boy Scouting. It takes nearly the same amount of adults to deliver a quality program. Boy Scouting has been a part of Hawaii for over 100 years and continues to thrive because of the dedicated involvement of adult volunteers like the ones recognized on January 24, 2013.
Scouting is open to all boys in first through twelfth grades and in the Venturing Program to girls 14 years of age and over. Anyone interested in finding out more about local scouting are encouraged to call the Scout Service Center Office at 959-0079.