Troop 26 Nominates Sam Soga for the Independent Local Heros Award

You’ve got to wanna do it! Is the slogan of Boy Scout Troop 26. Sam Soga saw an ad in the newspaper back in 1976. A small local Boy Scout troop needed a Scoutmaster and asked whether anyone would be interested in taking the job. Sam Soga applied and the troop offered to give him a one-year test. If it wasn’t for Sam Soga wanting to take on the troop as a Scoutmaster the troop might have folded. While growing up in Japan during World War II Sam joined the Boy Scouts in Japan earning the highest rank, Fuji Scout (our equivalent to the Eagle Scout rank).

Sam took on the troop where he instilled core values to the scouts: respect for each other, work ethic, and good attitude. He became known for the 5 P’s: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. With Sam Soga as the Scoutmaster, scouts started doing more outdoor activities – week long treks in the Sierras, multi-day bike rides and monthly overnights in the local mountains. This year, at age 82, Sam Soga went with the scouts to Mammoth Lakes, CA in January to camp overnight in record snowfall near the top of the mountain. To get to camp they all hiked several miles wearing snow shoes each scout had hand built from scratch.

Sam knew years before the experts published studies that time spent in the outdoors would help the boys improve their concentration in school, their attitude, and help to build strong relationships with friends and family. His scouts were taught leadership in multi-day sessions, activities where boys are the lead so leadership is put into practice and improved on weekly. The troop made up of local boys has always been very ethnically diverse representing a plethora of religious beliefs, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds. Since 1976 and the beginning of his tenure, Sam has always taught the scouts that diversity is to be respected and appreciated. As the troop changed so has Scouting as a national organization. Scouting is now inclusive to LGBTQ scouts and leadership and has welcomed girls in to scouting just this year.

Sam Soga used his engineering background to keep track of Scout’s miles hiked, nights camped, and service hours provided to the community. To date, Troop 26 has well over 100 Eagle Scouts. Most have earned that under Sam Soga’s leadership as both a Scoutmaster and now as an assistant Scoutmaster. Last year the troop performed 644 hours of community service to local schools, nonprofit organizations and in the local forests and our outdoor spaces. In the 43 years as a scout leader Sam Soga has taught over 2,000 scouts respect for the outdoors, leadership and community involvement. Sam Soga has a strong commitment to our youth, their health, and well-being and the next generation of leaders that embody the ideals of Integrity, unity and community involvement. Sam is truly a role model and a hero.

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