2nd annual Leaders of Character Gala fundraiser set for October
Story and Photos by Margie Anne Clark
"On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law: To help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong; mentally awake and morally straight.” – The Scout Oath
Continuing a tradition of service to country that began in 1910, local Boy Scouts - tigers, cubs, bears and Eagle Scouts alike - had much to celebrate on Saturday, during the lively grand opening ceremonies of the Boys Scouts of America's Santa Clarita Valley Service Center.
A milestone for the community, the event opened amid a rustic and colorful backdrop of tee-pees, bagpipe music, a powwow drum circle, the presentation of colors, inspiring speeches and more - all in the heart of Old Town Newhall.
"From what I see here today, I am optimistic about the future of our nation," said U.S. Congressman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon representing California's 25th District during his VIP address to a gathering of scout leaders, dignitaries and local Boy Scout troops, who turned out in force in support of the continued growth of the Boy Scouts of America in Los Angeles County.
"Trustworthy, helpful, loyal . . . how would you like to have people like that for your neighbors," asserted McKeon of the important role scouting plays in building strong character and good citizenship qualities.
McKeon reminisced about his days growing up as a Boy Scout, in his home town of Tujunga while commending those who go on to earn their Eagle Award - the highest honor bestowed upon a scout.
He lauded local scout leaders and their troops for their diligence in converting the small facility - a building that was once a home in the early days of Newhall - into a neatly painted and welcoming new headquarters for the Santa Clarita division of the Western Los Angeles Country Council, BSA.
Also among the speakers was special guest Ross Harrop, council scout executive of the Western Los Angeles County Council, BSA
"There is only one time that is important - now! It is the most important time because it is the only time that we have any power," said Harrop, borrowing a quote 19 th century Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy.
"The Santa Clarita Boy Scouting programs will continue to grow and it won't be long before they outgrow this Service Center," Harrop said of the need to continue to plan ahead for the ongoing growth of the Boy Scout programs in the Santa Clarita Valley.
In addition to McKeon and Harrop, other guests who were among the dignitaries in attendance were Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean and Chris Perry, McKeon's district representative along with Rosalind Wayman, senior deputy representing L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich's 5th District office.
Executive district scout leaders from the Bill Hart District, Mark Murphy and Terry Duffy were also among the speakers. Murphy stressed the importance of fund raising for the scouting program, noting that the traditional popcorn sales were coming up soon.
Murphy also noted that the scouting program's newest fundraiser, the second annual Leaders of Character black- tie gala will be held on Oct. 27 at the Hyatt Grand Ballroom in Valencia.
Proceeds from last year's inaugural Leaders of Character gala played a substantial role in the establishment of the newly opened Service Center. Last year's Leaders of Character honorees were Chamber CEO, Larry Mankin and his wife Sue, along with and local CPA Gary Condie and his wife Myrna, and former Dodger baseball manager, Kevin Malone, co-owner of Mercedes-Benz of Valencia and his wife Marilyn. Representing last year's honorees at the opening ceremonies were the Condies and Larry Mankin, who were among the VIPs in attendance.
This year's Leaders of Character honorees - set to be honored at the Hyatt on October 27- are Carl and Jeri Goldman, owners of AM 1220 KHTS radio; Dianne Van Hook, president/superintendent of College of the Canyons and the Santa Clarita Community College District and her husband Roger Van Hook; and Jim Ventress, chief operating officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley.
For more information about the Santa Clarita Valley Service Center of the Bill Hart District of the Western Los Angeles County Council, BSA, or to order tickets to the second annual Leaders of Character gala, call Terry Duffy at (818) 785-8700 ext.113.