More names will be added as we get their biographies

Silver Beaver Award

Kurtis Bedford – Silver Beaver Award Recipient

Kurtis was never involved with scouting as a youth. In fact, he didn’t even really know that it existed. To him it was something from the Midwest that he only knew about from movies. Certainly, it didn’t exist out here in Los Angeles. Even as an adult he really didn’t seem to be that interested when his sister Debi, Cubmaster of Pack 226 at the time, repeatedly tried to get him involved with the Pack his nephews were in. Other than a Pinewood Derby car or two it really didn’t catch his eye…yet.

After he had two sons of his own, his wife decided that perhaps Scouting was a great way to teach their sons life skills. “By the way, you’re taking them to scouting” were his instructions…and he begrudgingly complied.

Well after his sister and nephews had moved on, he found himself a member of the same Pack they had left. At first, he was one of those fathers who sat in the back of the room on their phone. That all changed when Cubmaster John Petring asked for someone to design the float for the Chatsworth Holiday Parade. As this was right up his alley he enthusiastically agreed. Little did he know that one activity started him down a slippery slope that would take him from barely observant father to den leader, Cubmaster, District Cub Camp Program Director, District Committee Member, District Recognition Chair and Co-host, Council Recognition Dinner writer and Co-host, Wood Badge participant, Wood Badge Staff, International Committee Member (although he still doesn’t know what he is doing), ScoutCast LA podcast Co-host, District Newsletter publisher and now the very humbling Silver Beaver Award Recipient. It just shows you that sometimes people just need a little nudge to get them moving in the right direction.

There are three fellow scouters that Kurtis would like to acknowledge for his achievements. First and foremost, would be his sister Debi. She was not only a previous cubmaster to his Pack but led a great example by seeing both of her own sons through to Eagle Scout. She has always been there to ask questions of and has been an inspiration not only in scouting but throughout his whole life. John Petring, the previous Cubmaster of Pack 226 who went above and beyond for the health of the Pack, even after his own son had bridged out. John did more than Kurtis realized and was one of those that gave him an initial push. Fellow recipient (and cohost of various endeavors) Jonathan Watts. Not only did they go to high school together, but they started their sons in Cub Scouts the same week (but didn’t mention it to each other so they ended up in different Packs). Jonathan has been a constant source of productive nudging…sometimes to Kurtis’ chagrin.

Dan O’Brien – Silver Beaver Award Recipient

When Dan began in scouting, it was as the “parent who camped”. Mom went to all of the meetings. At some point, the scoutmaster announced to the troop and parents that he was stepping down, as his son had just earned his Eagle rank. Unaware (because Dan never went to meetings), and months later, the scoutmaster announced at the Court of Honor that the troop was going to have to shut down because no one had stepped forward to take over for him.

Dan felt that would be a huge disappointment to his enthusiastic son and decided to take the dive into scoutmaster-ing. With little outdoors experience as a leader, Dan’s training included a backpack where he lugged his only tent along: a 6-person Coleman. Realizing he had to up his game quickly, Dan eventually became competant and sought out the most adventurous camping locations he could find: Joshua Tree, Mojave Desert, Death Valley, San Onofre to start. He also upped the challenges with High Adventure Backpacking and Hiking, setting adventures to summit the highest peaks in Southern California, like Baldy, San Jacinto and San Gorgonio; they even did Cactus to the Clouds a few times.

The troop also began to summit 14’ers: Mount Whitney, Mount Langley, Tyndall Peak and White Mountain. Their summer activities were split between traditional summer camp at Emerald Bay and Whitsett, but there was also a High Adventure offering of rafting down the Green River in Colorado and Utah and doing a 50-mile backpack through Yosemite.

The adventures weren’t only in the outdoors. Dan organized a entomophagist to the troop to do a presentation and tasting at one of the meetings. Utilizing the talents of other parents, the troop toured SpaceX as a part of the Space Exploration Merit Badge, and also toured one of the tunneling sites of the Metro underground rail line. Dan also invited his college friend and Eagle Scout to talk about he and his wife’s successful summits of the Seven Summits.

Word of the adventure spread, and over two years, the troop grew from around 15 scouts to 70. Before Dan became involved in scouting, he didn’t camp, he didn’t hike much, and definitely couldn’t tie anything more than his shoes. Scouting has “been a gift” to Dan, and he feels grateful to receive the Silver Beaver Award for just having a great time.

Dan is currently seeking more adventures for adult leaders to pass on to their scouts as the WLACC High Adventure Team Chairperson.

Tom Rosholt – Silver Beaver Award Recipient

Tom began his scouting career in 1974 as a 7-year old in San Francisco in Mount Diablo Council’s Pack 64. He especially enjoyed all the scouting activities, and it was an added bonus that his best friend’s mom was his den leader. Unlike the traditional young scout, he actually built his pinewood derby car completely by himself, without his parents’ help. Tom achieved the rank of Webelos, but mid-year his family moved to Southern California and he was unable to find a new pack. In junior high, Tom briefly joined the Boy Scouts, but this stint was brief due to family problems and he had no friends in the troop. He lost interest in scouting until his son joined.

In 2012, Tom’s son Jake became a Tiger in Cub Scout Pack 311 in WLACC’s Cahuenga District. Tom, Jake, and the rest of the Rosholt family went to Camp Whitsett for Cub Family Weekend and had a blast! Jake earned three belt loops that weekend. As he entered Jake’s achievements into ScoutTrack.com, Tom discovered that he had been registered as the Pack’s den leader. Tom never found out how that happened, but willingly took on the role.

It wasn’t long before Tom added Assistant Cubmaster to his title. After Jake bridged to Troop 139 in BSA Scouts, Tom became an Assistant Scoutmaster. The next year he became the Scoutmaster, and has been leading the troop for the past three years. As he progressively grew more active in district training, Tom eventually became the Training Chair for Campo de Cahuenga District, a position he still holds today. His enthusiasm for scouting and camping is reflected in his IOLS trainings.

Tom has found working with the youth to be an immensely rewarding experience. He enjoys scouting, but finds that he has the most fun on camping trips. Like most scouters, Tom can’t wait for the Covid-19 restrictions to be lifted so he get to back to camping!

Jeff Rudner – Silver Beaver Award Recipient

Mr. Rudner has been involved with the entertainment, corporate and special event industries for the last thirty years. His diverse professional background in live (in person) & broadcast production and technical direction sets him apart as a well-rounded, global expert and influencer in his field. Mr. Rudner’s portfolio of projects includes the Olympic Games, World Cup Soccer, Rose Bowl and Super Bowl events, major corporate global meetings, consultancy for Dubai 2020 World Expo, The Oscars, Radio Music Awards, Royal wedding parties and galas throughout the Middle East, a long list of concert events, tours, and more. He has worked with many of the world’s most recognizable corporations to produce meetings, events and broadcasts for them. Mr. Rudner’s diverse creative, production and technical background greatly benefit the projects in which he is involved. His out of the box creativity helps to make his productions unique and unforgettable. This couldn’t be more evident in every event he has created and produced for Scouting, particularly with Scout Saturday Live!

Mr. Rudner became involved with Scouting first as a parent in 2007. In 2012, he was selected to be the next Cubmaster of Pack 333 in Calabasas, California, which had 47 Scouts at the time. Mr. Rudner’s creative and epic events, camping trips and incredible meals that he planned and executed for the Pack became a huge draw, and membership quickly grew to 164 Scouts! Mr. Rudner became fondly known as “Chef Jeff” during his five years as Cubmaster. The highlight of Mr. Rudner’s tenure as Cubmaster was the time in which all three of his sons were in the Pack at the same time. Mr. Rudner bridged (along with his sons) to Troop 642 in Woodland Hills, California, where he has served as an Assistant Scoutmaster for the last nine years. Mr. Rudner also serves as the Crew Advisor for Crew 642.

In 2016, Mr. Rudner became the Special Event Chair for his District and Council. He drew from the skills of his professional career to create many of the most successful and memorable events for his District and Council, including on-field huge flag ceremonies during the National Anthem for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a Council-wide carnival, the “Food Drive-Thru” food collection & other beloved events that Scouts and their families will fondly remember for many years.

When COVID-19, the quarantines and stay-at-home orders cancelled all in-person Scouting events, Mr. Rudner wanted to create an event that would be “COVID-proof” and allow Scouts to continue their connection to the program, its values, education and most importantly, FUN! On March 13, 2020, he told his Council’s executives about his Scout Saturday Live! idea, conducted auditions for the show’s hosts, and two weeks later, broadcast the first episode on March 28th. Rudner’s Scout-forward approach (only Scouts would be on the show except for an occasional introduction at the beginning of an episode) made Scout Saturday Live! the only Scouting community livestream show that featured Scouts exclusively. Today, Scout Saturday Live! thrives with viewers and followers across 48 states in the USA and 36 additional countries worldwide. He looks forward to the show’s exciting future!

Mr. Rudner has been married for twenty-four years and has three sons. His oldest (20) is a broadcast journalism major at Arizona State University and achieved First Class rank in Troop 642. Rudner’s middle son (18) is a freshman at UCLA studying computational math and cyber security. He is an Eagle Scout, Vigil Honor member of the OA, National Metal of Merit recipient, and founding President of Crew 642. Rudner’s youngest son (15) is a sophomore in high school, a Venture Scouts and a First Class Scout in Troop 642. Mr. Rudner enjoys flying (he has his pilot’s license), camping, camp cooking, gardening and making people happy through his events.

Steve Vincent – Silver Beaver Award Recipient

Steve Vincent

Steve started as a Scout in 1976, with Troop 724 in Canoga Park, CA. It was not an auspicious beginning. As his Scoutmaster of the time would tell you, Steve wasn’t a particularly motivated scout and he barely made it to 2nd class. You can ask him. His scoutmaster was Jim Penny, who is still active with Troop 126.

When Steve’s son Riley got to scouting age, they joined Cub Scout Pack 246. At their very first Pack meeting, Steve volunteered to be the Popcorn Kernel. Little did he know what that would lead to. During their time with the pack, Steve was Committee Chairman, a Cub Leader, and finally Webelos Leader. It turns out Steve was a much better Scouter than he ever was a Scout.

When Riley bridged to Troop 22, Steve became an Assistant Scoutmaster. He was also a Patrol Advisor, Equipment Manager, Merit Badge Counselor and Wilderness First Aid instructor. One of his favorite trips was when he led the troop during their summer at Camp Makualla in Oregon. He even organized a pizza delivery to the train for lunch on the way home.  When his daughter Bailey started scouting, he became the advisor to Crew 22.  When Scouts BSA started and Troop 22G was formed, his daughter became a founding member and he was their first Assistant Scoutmaster.

Now that both his kids have earned the Rank of Eagle, Steve is getting more involved with the Reyes Adobe District and WLACC. Over the last few years, Steve was helping with the Las Colinas Camporee, eventually becoming the Camporee Chair. He has been active in helping on the training committee and has been staff on two Wood Badge courses. He is going to be Senior Patrol Leader of the upcoming course in September.  He also helped Jeff Rudner get Scout Saturday Live off the ground, being the editor for most of season one, before moving to more of a consultant and mentor position. He recently took on the role of Reyes Adobe Advancement Chair and is looking forward to more Scouting in the future.

Jonathan Watts – Silver Beaver Award Recipient

Jonathan Watts has had a love of scouting ever since he picked up a used copy of the Boy Scout Handbook at a garage sale in 1982; it piqued his imagination and he read it cover to cover many times. A couple of years later he saw that a boy across the street was wearing a Boy Scout uniform and got up the courage to ask if he could join him at meetings. Jonathan spent about 2 years hitching a ride to meetings at Troop 328 in Reseda and achieved the rank of Tenderfoot before he was financially unable to continue. Disappointed that he could not continue as a Boy Scout, he vowed that if his kids were interested in scouting, he would do whatever he could to make sure they had the opportunity to participate. True to his word, both Gwendolyn (Ship 481) and Sawyer (Troop 642) are living the “Scout Life”.

A huge believer in Youth Leadership, Jonathan has served as Committee Chair, Assistant Cubmaster, Cubmaster, and Assistant Webelos Den Leader for Pack 246. From 2016 to 2019 he served as Membership Chair and Vice Chair for the Las Colinas District. He currently serves WLACC Units as a Merit Badge Counselor, and a Commissioner. He is the founding and current Chair of the Reyes Adobe District, and the Sea Scout Commodore for the WLACC. As if all that wasn’t enough to fill “an hour a week”, Jonathan also co-hosts the popular “Scoutcast LA” podcast, and serves as Advancement Advisor for the wildly successful “Scout Saturday Live” program.

A proud Owl and elected SPL from Wood Badge W4-51-16, Jonathan has received the Assistant Cubmaster of the Year award, the BSA Chief’s Growth Challenge Achiever Award, Scouter’s Key Award, Scout Leader’s Training Award, Unit Leader Award of Merit, the BSA WLACC Innovator Award, and the BSA District Award of Merit.

Distinguished Commissioner Service Award

Jessica Pazdernik – Distinguished Commissioner Service Award Recipient

My scouting story started like probably most scouting stories do….

When my son and I went to his first cub scout meeting, they asked for volunteers to lead the tiger cub den and my hand went up first! I thought, this could be fun and it probably won’t take too much out of my time. (Insert laughter here)

It was that simple – I became his den leader that night, and never really learned how to put my hand down from there. Through his cub scout years, I was his Den Leader, the Pack’s Committee Chair and the Pack’s Advancement chair. When he moved into Boy Scouts (now Scouts BSA), I was an Assistant Scoutmaster for his troop and Patrol Advisor for his Patrol. Because scouting is a real family affair for us, my husband and I also founded a Venturing Crew (Crew 128), and I served as the advisor, and we founded the first female Scouts BSA troop (Troop 2019) in the Bill Hart District, where I am currently an Assistant Scoutmaster and the Advancement Chair with my daughter. I am the extremely proud parent of one Eagle Scout (my son) and am even more proud to help advise my Life Scout daughter on her Eagle journey as we speak!

Scouting has also given me an extended family at the District, Council, Area and National level. I translated my love for summer camp into running the Bill Hart Cub Day Camp program for 8 years, volunteering with our Council’s Cub/Family Camping program for 8 years and working with future camp directors on the National Camp School staffing team. I was able to turn a new found passion for archery into an instructor role and am now a Level 3 USAA Archery Coach as well as an NRA RSO and am a Merit Badge counselor for multiple merit badges. I was honored to be the first female Council Commissioner for WLACC in it’s history and I am now really enjoying my new role as Council Vice President of Program.

On the training side, I currently serve on the Area 4 Training team, but by far, my favorite activity within scouting though, is my work with National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT). After staffing a few Woodbadge courses, I made the jump back over to the youth side 7 years ago. NYLT has been a huge part of my life since, and I am proud to not only have served as Course Director for a number of courses, but am thrilled to serve on the NYLT National Task Force to help update the syllabus for 2021 and beyond. By working with NYLT, I have seen the very best in scouting, and have gotten to mentor and get to know the finest scouts, all while doing it with my family by my side. My NYLT scouts are truly my “extended scouting family”!

I have received the following awards in scouting: BSA District Award of Merit, WLACC Council Venturing Leadership Award and the Silver Beaver award, along with a few district awards including Den Leader of the year, Venturing Leader of the year, and Committee Chair of the Year, which I am very grateful for.

Professionally, I work in the film industry as a Costume Supervisor. This past year, I have been working in Atlanta supervising the next installment of the Spiderman franchise – Spiderman – No Way Home. It’s been a load of fun getting to play “dress up” for 24 years in this business, and I really enjoy these big action movies!

Personally, I enjoy hanging out with my family (son Zach, daughter Anna and husband Michael) and my dog Maggie. I love to go camping, boating, exploring and trying new adventures. I’m an avid deep sea fisherman, an archer, an artist and an overall creative soul.

It’s been an absolute joy to be this involved in scouting for the past 15 years, and I look forward to the next 15 + years and beyond!

Albert Sarfati – Distinguished Commissioner Service Award Recipient

I joined BSA in 1998 to become my son’s Tiger Cub Den Leader, I soon had to assume the position of Cubmaster as well ( voluntold!). Ironically, I had never been a Scout or spent much time out in nature. The beauty of BSA is that anyone could step in and be taught all they need to know! I often learned in preparation to teach our young Scouts back then.

5 years later, as my son bridged over to Troop 67, I went along and was immediately asked to become an ASM. During my years at Troop 67 I held the positions of ASM, Troop Chair, and Scoutmaster. I attended Wood Badge in 2005 and was the District Training Chair in Crescent Bay for 3 years. I have continued as a Member at Large and took on the role of Unit Commissioner several years ago, as I slowly stepped away from the troop for the new leadership to take over. I have been a Unit Commissioner ever since.

5 Years ago, I stepped back into Cub Scouting and combined 2 units which had crumbled apart, and reformed Pack 67, where I currently continue to serve as Cubmaster to a healthy Pack, as well as maintaining my role as a Unit Commissioner.

Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award

Elbert K Fretwell

Deja Munn – Elbert K Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award

Deja Munn is a 7th and 8th grade math and science facilitator (teacher), who has taught all subjects from kindergarten through 8th grade. As a lifelong learner, she entered the education profession 8 years ago as a fourth-generation educator.

The Scouts BSA program and Deja’s education philosophy are complementary. At school, she mentors youth to realize and develop their own leadership abilities through social-emotional learning and rigorous project-based learning curriculum using the 8 Habits of highly effective people, Character lab traits, entrepreneurial skills, and 21st century skills.

It is a tremendous gift to participate in mentoring youth outside of school to develop as leaders and people of character who contribute to making the world a better place.

Currently, Deja serves Troop 2019 as an ASM, Outing Chair, committee member and merit badge counselor.

Until very recently, she also served as an Associate Advisor to the Area 4 Venturing Officer’s Association.

She is also a Troop Guide for the Wood Badge course, whose patrol members are working through this pandemic on completing their tickets.

You never know what you can accomplish in just “one hour a week”!

Nicole Turner – Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award

Nicole has had a passion for science her whole life. She studied biology and worked with marine mammals while she was in college, but it was sharing her passion for science with kids that brought her the most joy. She took her two favorite things, science and working with kids, and became a teacher in 2006. She started out teaching high school biology at LACES and then Panorama High for LAUSD. Now she is an elementary school science teacher working with kids from 2 years old to fifth grade.

Six years ago Nicole’s sons joined Pack 777 as tigers. Within a month she was running the tiger den meetings and soon signed up as a den leader. She has taken her joy of working with kids and brought excitement and fun to her den meetings. Her daughter is now a bear and her sons have moved on to Troop 777. She is still a den leader and also the scoutmaster for Troop 777g.

This year has put educators and scout leaders to the test. She has spent countless hours coming up with ways to engage her students and keep her scouts interested. Knowing that the kids are what matters the most has been her driving force this year. She has helped to make some great memories for her scouts and her students while still dealing with COVID-19.

Emily Williams – Elbert K. Fretwell Outstanding Educator Award Recipient

Emily Williams has been teaching for 22 years in both the Burbank and Saugus Union School Districts.

She received her BA and MA in Child Development as well as her teaching credentials from CSUN.

She has focused on teaching children, ages 5 thru 8 years old. She currently is a 2nd grade teacher at Emblem Academy in Santa Clarita, California. Emily enjoys hands-on learning opportunities during lessons and incorporates the arts into her daily lessons with her students.
This past summer she taught art lessons to scouts at Bill Hart Day Camp. Emily has a love of learning and likes to share her knowledge with her students.

She is a scout leader for Saugus Pack 57 and serves as a den leader for the Wolves and Assistant Den Leader for the AOLS.

She is happy to bridge her love of teaching to scouts with the boys in her two dens.

BSA Council Alumnus of the Year Award

Diane Freeman – BSA Council Alumnus of the Year Award Recipient

Diane Freeman began her scouting history in 1959 as a Bluebird and then a Camp Fire Girl which was originally a sister organization to Boy Scouts of America.

Diane is married to Robert Heft and has 3 adult kids. Heather, Jonathon, and AJ. Jonathon and AJ are both Eagle Scouts of Troop 307. Diane’s adult scouting experience began with her son Jonathon joining Pack 307. Jonathon bridged into Troop 307 as his brother AJ joined Pack 307. Soon after joining Troop 307, Diane became an active member of the Troop Committee as well as the Advancement Chair. Within a few years Diane became Troop 307’s Committee Chair. This position was held on and off for 12 years. She continues to be a member of the Eagle Advisory Team, during which time 56 Troop 307 Scouts have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. She has also been the adult Leader Training Chair, member of the Troop Committee and has been the District Commissioner for Pack and Troop 307 for past 12 years.

Within Diane’s years as an adult scouter and a Registered Nurse, she was a summer camp nurse 9 years for Habonim, a Jewish youth organization. Balboa Oaks District Camporee First Aid Station for 14 years, Chief Medical Officer for West Los Angeles County Council (WLACC), National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) 4 years, WLACC sponsored Relay for Life First Aid station for 4 years. Diane has lead disaster and trauma preparedness for Ventura County as well as Trauma care for the state of California. Diane is a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Critical Care and Trauma as well as a registered Public Health Nurse in the state of California.

In 2002 Diane received a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for Leadership and Training in scouting. She has received awards as Troop Committee Chair 2003, 2005, and 2009. The Golden Knot 2006, District Award of Merit 2007, District Committee Member 2008, Silver Beaver Award 2010, Distinguished Commissioner Award 2018. In 2016 Diane became the Balboa Oaks District Commissioner. As the Journey to Excellence became a guide for a quality program in scouting, Balboa Oaks received Silver every year with a goal of Gold for 2019.

Diane Freeman was the District Chair for the Balboa Oaks District in 2019; the first female District Chair in the Balboa Oaks history. When Balboa Oaks was divided and then merged into Campo De Cahuenga and Reyes Adobe districts, Diane became Vice Chair Administration at Reyes Adobe where she assisted the newly created district for the first year to smoothly transition into it’s currently robust status. During the transition year she also served as co=chair of the Eagle Scout advancement process.

Currently Diane continues to be an active Commissioner for Pack and Troop 307 as well as Troop 550. Diane is a Merit Badge counselor for 7 different Eagle required and fundamental merit badge courses. Diane is also the West Los Angeles County Council Chair of Medical and Safety. She also serves on the Reyes Adobe District as the Vice Chair of Medical and Safety.

(By the way; Diane loves the scouting program and what it does for our youth and adults who have so much to contribute to the program. She is not retiring from scouting in the near future. LOL)

Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award

Rich Yamashita – Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award Recipient

Rich Yamashita grew up in Gardena, CA and is a third generation Japanese American. His family has a long history in Scouting with his sister, Qris in Campfire Girls, his brother George and nephew Andy – also Eagle Scouts, and two parents (Sam & Etsuko) who contributed countless hours to support each of their children’s growth through Scouting and importance of community. Rich started his journey in Scouting with Pack 198-C at Chapman School in Gardena, CA. He bridged to Troop 1230 at the Gardena Buddhist Church where he was first introduced to backpacking and high adventure. After Troop 1230 was discontinued, Rich continued his journey with Troop 719 where he learned to overcome challenges through collective effort and apply leadership skills built from a Scouting program executed through the Troop’s high adventure and long-term backpacking program. Rich became an Eagle Scout in 1979 two weeks before his 18th birthday. Rich returned to Scouting in 2011 when his oldest son, Sam joined Cub Scouts. He currently is the Parent Committee Chair and a Den Leader at Marina Cub Pack 79, Culver City, CA Pack chartered through Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. During his10 years in the Pack Rich has also served as Pack Treasurer and an assistant Den Leader. In addition to his responsibilities in Pack 79, he is currently Assistant Scoutmaster at Troop 719 and previously served as the Troop’s Hikemaster responsible for the Troop’s backpacking and high adventure program.

Rich received his undergraduate degree at UCLA and later earned his master’s degree from the Marshall School of Business at USC. Rich has held Treasury and Financial leadership positions with various publicly traded multinational companies that include Dole Food Company, Amgen and Herbalife. In 2014, he returned to UCLA where he is currently serving as the University’s Treasurer and is a member of the Board of Directors for the University Credit Union.

Rich has also been active in the community in support of various organizations; including, UCLA UniCamp, LABCC Summer Camp, Venice Japanese Community Center, Kinnara Taiko, Venice and Senshin Buddhist Temples, Cub Scouts, Scouting and various youth sports organizations.

He currently lives in Culver City with his wife (Joyce), a Life Scout in Troop 719 and SSL host (Sam) and a Webelos Scout in Pack 79 (Mark).

Medal of Merit Award

Taylor Bell – Medal of Merit Award Recipient

Taylor Bell

Venture Scout, Crew 197 Nashville, TN

While Taylor wears her Venturing uniform on SSL!, Taylor is also in Scouts BSA Troop 2019 and is deep in her quest to earn 50 merit badges in 50 states, however, her most exciting Scouting experience was at the St. Thomas Sea Base. Her favorite food is conch fritters (perhaps the very best at St. Thomas!) and enjoys US History class in school. Her most memorable Scouting experience was her OA induction when a thunder storm interrupted a night sleeping under the stars!

Nathaniel D. Cox – Medal of Merit Award Recipient

Nathaniel D. Cox

Eagle Scout, Troop 10 Reseda, CA

Nathaniel enjoys his Math and English classes in high school and someday hopes to publish a story book. Among other things, he likes playing piano, basketball, baseball and parkour, and always likes camping with his Troop. Nathaniel has a pet turtle named Parker. He loves to eat Costco pizza and his Mom’s lemon-pepper chicken with Spanish rice. To date, Nathaniel has earned 36 merit badges.

Ji “Swayzee” Dooley – Medal of Merit Award Recipient

Ji “Swayzee” Dooley

Life Scout, Troop 223 Pacific Palisades, CA

Swayzee is an outgoing Scout who has enjoys his graphic arts classes in school. Aside from Scouting, Swayzee enjoys drawing, writing songs, dancing and playing football. He loves spending time with his family and being a great brother to his older and younger sisters (one of which is also in Scouting). Swayzee will never forget the fun he had on a Scouting high-adventure trip to Idaho with his Troop.

Charlotte Green – Medal of Merit Award Recipient

Charlotte Green

Sea Scout, Apprentice, Ship 481, Canoga Park

Charlotte is a Sea Scout on the Mystic Yankee ship. Her favorite Scouting memory was her first time sailing a small boat and nearly tipped it over! She loves Thai food and watching Castle on television. Charlotte has two brothers (her younger brother, Chase, is regularly a guest Host on SSL!). Her most awesome Scouting experience was a camping trip where she at “Worms in Dirt” (look it up… it’s yummy!).

Cameron Irvine – Medal of Merit Award Recipient

Cameron Irvine

Life Scout, Troop 22 Woodland Hills, CA

Cameron enjoys science, music and entertaining in school. He plays many instruments (too many to name) and is his Troop’s Bugler. Cameron has been involved with musical theatre since he was four years old! He has three older sisters (all in Scouting). Cameron’s most epic Scouting trip was to Camp Pupukea in Hawaii where he earned merit badges, learned about Hawaiian culture and got to hang-out at the beach!

Miranda Jenne – Medal of Merit Award Recipient

Miranda Jenne

Life Scout, Troop 10 Reseda, CA

Miranda’s favorite class in school is Introduction to Business. She enjoys listening to music and taking care of her pets (1 dog and 1 cat). Miranda has a twin brother who is also in Scouts. She has earned 20 merit badges to date and looks forward to more. Miranda’s most memorable Scouting experience was attending Camp Emerald Bay where she stayed for 10-nights and participated in leadership training.

Josh Rudner- Medal of Merit Award Recipient

Venture Scout, Crew 642 Woodland Hills, CA

Josh is a First Class Scout as well as a Venture Scout who enjoys the outdoors, kayaking and helping his community. His most memorable Troop adventure was a weekend camping trip at a US Navy Base. Josh enjoys playing piano, and participating in yoga classes (often with his Grandmother). He has a love for the theatre, especially the backstage operations including lighting and stagecraft. Josh’s favorite subject in school is Earth Science.

Bailey Vincent – Medal of Merit Award Recipient

Bailey Vincent

Eagle Scout, Troop 22G in Woodland Hills, CA

Bailey enjoys reading and writing in her school English class. She is an avid Scout who loves camping and trips with her Troop. Bailey’s best Scouting experience was when she was a staff member for a National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) camp. She has two dogs and loves eating hot Cheetos. Bailey’s favorite hobby is Scouting, Scouting and more Scouting!

Kyle Wrigley – Medal of Merit Award Recipient

Eagle Scout, Troop 10 Reseda, CA

Kyle is an Eagle Scout who has experienced some amazing Scout camps including Philmont Scout Ranch, Camp Baker (Oregon), and the three amazing camps in his own Council, Whitsett, Josepho and Emerald Bay.

Kyle’s favorite class in school is Film Production (quite befitting of his Editing role with Scout Saturday Live!), as well as English.

He enjoys sushi, specifically a Rainbow Roll, video games, and playing the ukulele.

Kyle looks forward to the next time his Troop has “Strategy Camp”- an annual outing with an epic game of capture the flag!

Sam Yamashita – Medal of Merit Award Recipient

Sam Yamashita

Life Scout, Troop 719 Culver City, CA

Sam’s favorite school subjects are mathematics and science, as he can apply those skills into real-live practical applications. His favorite Scouting adventure was a week-long backpacking trip. Sam has one brother and a pet shrimp! He has earned twenty-three merit badges and is on his way to earning many more. Sam enjoys playing different video games, biking and from time to time, drawing.

Micah-Zeff – Medal of Merit Award Recipient

Micah started Scouts about six years ago with Troop 583 in Castaic, CA. He was always excited and eager to learn new things and complete merit badges. His favorite merit badge he completed while he was still scout was the Rifle Merit Badge because he always wanted to shoot firearms.

Micah was able to shoot up through the ranks all the way to Star Rank. After about a a year and a half, Micah transferred to troop 119, where he currently resides. Throughout his entire Scouting experience, Micah never achieved the rank of SPL but served 5 terms of ASPL in a row. In his opinion, this was actually more beneficial for developing his leadership because he was able to perceive what each SPL did well or what would have worked better. Recently, Micah was able to complete his eagle project after setbacks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Micah is now a senior in high school, and he enjoys working with and teaching kids fun and useful skills that he has learned from the Boy Scouts organization.

Micah also plays a lot of sports such as baseball and soccer.

Some of his hobbies include playing musical instruments and photography. Micah loves nature and taking hikes in all sorts of places and likes to get outside whenever he can.

His favorite memories from in the Boy Scouts organization consist of when he worked at Camp Whitsett as a Waterfront Staff member for two summers in a row.

North Star Award

Jim Heggem – North Star Award Recipient

Bernard James “Jim” Heggem has been the webmaster for the Antelope Valley District since 2004. He started helping with the WLACC websites in late 2019.

All the posts you see on the WLACC Events-Offers-News page and the Home page slider were created by him. He also created the Events-Offers-News page.

He helped develop the TRICΔMP website and is helping maintain the other camping websites. This includes updating the look of the Emerald Bay Facilities page
and creating the Family Rentals (now Youth Single Family Rentals) page.

He works on updating and/or adding information on the websites daily, usually including the week-end days.

WLACC Innovator Award

Milla Fangonil – WLACC Innovator Award Recipient

My name is Ludmilla Fangonil, better known as “Milla” and I started my scouting journey in 2014 when my youngest son, Max, entered into Pack 575 as a Tiger Cub and middle son Noah as a Wolf cub in the Bill Hart District WLACC.

I was the observant parent coming to meetings with a discerning eye, never crossing my mind to be involved beyond a chaperone. It wasn’t until the following year, at Summer Day Camp, that I volunteered to co-lead the First Aid station. It was a great fit for me having a background in my medical profession as an Ultrasound Technologist and BLS certified. From then on, my interest in scouting grew and every year since I have volunteered at Summer camp moving from Arts & Crafts, First Aid, Den Leader, STEM, and more recently Scout Skills, Nature and Outdoor Activities.

I have been the Advancement Chair for Pack 575 and currently in Troop 2 a Committee member, ASM, Merit Badge Counselor & Nova Mentor/Counselor.

In 2019, I attended National Camp School at Camp Pollock at the Hubert Eaton Scout Reservation in Lake Arrowhead and had the time of my life. Being one of the Camp Directors for our District has been a fulfilling experience in giving back to the program that has enriched my son’s lives in many ways.

I look forward to the future diversification, team building and pure awesomeness the adventures of scouting encompasses.

Shawna Howerton – WLACC Innovator Award Recipient

Shawna’s scouting journey started with pulled pork, maybe I should explain….. Her neighbor is an amazing scouter. She is an inspiration and she coerced Shawna into making lunch for her Cub Pack for Bill Hart’s annual Cub Cup. Oh was that a slippery slope! Since that day 7 years ago, Shawna has had more fun and has met so many amazing people!

She started as an Assistant Den Leader for her neighbor’s Bear Den, even though her son was not a Bear. The next year she was the Den Leader for the Snarling Blue Lions and hasn’t looked back since. They are Wolves now.

Shawna’s daughters are some of the first female Cub Scouts in the Bill Hart District and In 2020 they bridged to Scouts BSA.. Together they have founded Troop 2379G. Shawna is so proud to be their Scoutmaster. Shawna believes in the mission of Scouting. As a Unit Commissioner, she feels that she best serves that mission by helping others. In addition to her role as Scoutmaster, Shawna volunteers at the District level as Bill Hart Membership Chairman, Bill Hart Training Team member, Awards Dinner Chair, Cub Cup Chair, Merit Badge Councilor and Newsletter Chair.

Jennifer Hudson – WLACC Innovator Award Recipient

I am a Small Business Owner and mother of two boys here in Santa Clarita. I have been involved in Scouting since my oldest son joined Cub Scout Pack 575, back in 2011.

Currently, I serve as Assistant Committee Chair and Den Leader (Pack 575), Assistant Scoutmaster (Troop 609), District Member-At-Large (Bill Hart), Day Camp Director (WLACC), Merit Badge Counselor.

In the past, I have served as a District Vice Chair of Communications, Pack Communications Chair, and Pack Treasurer.

Jennifer Johnson – WLACC Innovator Award Recipient

My name is Jennifer Johnson and I started scouting when I was just a young girl myself. In first grade, I became a Brownie, Girl Scout. I was a Girl Scout until my Girl Scout troop dissolved a few years later. I had a lot of fun, learned a ton, and that gave me the foundation for the love of Scouting. I knew when I would have kids of my own they would be scouts.

When my son, Gavin was about 3 he saw a Cub Scout for the first time. The scout he saw was in a uniform and was selling popcorn. Gavin was sold and he could not wait to be old enough to be a scout, so he could sell popcorn at a store front too. I was overjoyed for his excitement of the scout program and couldn’t wait until he was old enough to join his own pack. In 2013, we joined Scouting BSA. I became a leader and a committee member for pack 575. We started on our amazing adventure with scouts. In 2018, my younger son Cooper became a Lion in the pilot program. Again, we were so excited for his opportunity in scouting. I became his leader too. The following year my older son became a Boy Scout in troop 2. I became an ASM and am always willing to help where I can.

I love to lead new outings where boys have the opportunity to experience something new. I feel that scouting is not always about merit badges, but about experiencing life. I have taken Troop 2 to the Pantages theatre to see Phantom of the Opera. It was an amazing opportunity for them and it gave them the chance to learn to love the theatre. They could not wait to go back. We were supposed to go see Hamilton last year. We will, and they can’t wait. These are the things that make my heart so happy, to give these scouts unique experiences. From putting together an outing, a Campout that is Harry Potter Themed, a Hollywood Style Blue and Gold Banquet, or a summer camp that is virtually down on the farm, what ever I do, it is to give these scouts an amazing experience. In the end, the scouts will not remember me, but as long as they remember scouting, that’s all that matters.

To help these scouts earn their way, I am also the fundraising chair with troop 2. I think it is very important for the boys to be given the opportunity to help earn their way in scouting. When Bill Hart District offered camp cards to sell. I thought this was a great idea. What an easy way for the scouts to earn money for their pack/scouting fund and pay for camp! It was a win win. My two boys typically sell enough cards every year to pay for summer camp for themselves and so do several boys in the troop. I love encouraging all the boys in our pack/troop to help earn their way in scouting. A scout is thirty. This is an important life skill that they will take with them. Not only does it help them, it helps their pack/troop, and their family.

I am super thankful for this scouting family. I too have learned a lot from scouts and am very proud to be apart of this program.

Adi Petersen – WLACC Innovator Award Recipient

My name is Adi Petersen and my Scouting journey started in Israel at the age of 9.

At 16 I joined my patrol and traveled to Poland educating myself on the concentration camps of World War 2. That is where I began to learn about intolerance.

At 18 I completed my Eagle Scout Award equivalent where I started a program to teach Israeli and Palestinian youth tolerance.

At 19 I spent 6 months working with young Kibbutzim on developing farmland and another 6 months teaching reading in a development town in southern Israel.

At 21 I was asked to return and sit on the council for the program I had started to help Israeli and Palestine youth relations.

At 25 I returned home to LA and got my degree in Nursing. In 2006 I worked with pregnant teens where my community service spark rekindled.

In 2014 my oldest of 3 sons joined scouting as a tiger cub and I took that opportunity to finally give back to a program that gave me so much.

I have done many jobs in scouting over the last 7 years. Currently, I am a member of Pack 575 working as a patrol leader for the Panther AOL patrol, the patrol leader for Shark Warriors Webelos patrol, and the Committee Chair.

I am currently a member of Troop 48 working as an Assistant Scoutmaster, a Merit Badge Counselor and Fundraising Chair.

I am the Nomination Committee Chair and Vice-Chair of Programs for Bill Hart District. I have been the Bill Hart Day Camp Director for the last 3 years and continue to take on that role again this year.

I am also currently the Chair of the Western Los Angeles County Council’s Cub Scout Program Committee.

Scouting has definitely been at the heart of me since my youth and I enjoy being part of the diversity it brings with my children and community.

Y-Vonn Teh – WLACC Innovator Award Recipient

Y-Vonn Teh won many awards as a youth in Girl Guides/Rangers in Singapore and New Zealand including the Baden-Powell Challenge Award, Colors Award – Girl Guides Singapore, Colors Award – Lone Sea Rangers (NZ Navy), Honor Guard – Pope John Paul II, Guiding Star Award, and Queen’s Guide.

In the 4 years since being a part of L.A. Lone Scouts with her son, Y-Vonn organized Merit Badge days at Disneyland, Mt Wilson Observatory, USS Midway, Star of India, Alcatraz Island, Tanaka Farms and her alma mater University of Southern California for all Scouts BSA

.