Woman of merit

Boy Scout leader hon­ored for 42 years of ser­vice

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By KIRSTEN JOHN­SON Hawaii Tri­bune-Her­ald

In 1975, Hilo res­i­dent Amy Ban signed up her old­est son, Richard, for Cub Scouts.

Richard was 8 at the time, the age kids back then could of­fi­cially join Scouts. At one of Richard’s first pack meet­ings, Ban was asked to be­come a den leader (an adult vol­un­teer who over­sees a den of Cub Scouts).

“Not know­ing what that was, I said ‘OK,’” Ban, now 83, re­called Wed­nes­day with a laugh. “And I’ve been in­volved ever since.”

Ban has been an ac­tive Scout leader with the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica for 42 years. She’s one of the long­est-serv­ing fe­male lead­ers with the Aloha Coun­cil’s Big Is­land Pukahi Dis­trict, which en­com­passes young­sters from Hakalau to Ocean View.

In ad­di­tion to den leader, Ban also has served as a trainer for numer­ous Scout lead­ers, di­rected the Cub Scouts’ day camp

pro­gram and chaired a va­ri­ety of Scouting events and trips.

Ban also has men­tored thou­sands of Big Is­land Scouts through the years, in some cases span­ning mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions. She’s led youth on overnight camp­ing trips into Wai­pio Val­ley and through­out Hawaii Vol­ca­noes Na­tional Park. And she’s helped hun­dreds of Scouts achieve the Ea­gle Scout rank.

Ear­lier this year, about 200 of Ban’s cur­rent and for­mer Scouts, com­mu­nity mem­bers and fam­ily mem­bers sur­prised her with a cel­e­bra­tion lun­cheon to thank the long­time Scouting vol­un­teer for her ser­vice.

“It was truly a nice sur­prise,” Ban said.

“I just had no idea. It was so nice to see all the par­ents and a lot of my for­mer Scouts. They were all grown up and I couldn’t rec­og­nize them. But it’s truly been be­cause of the boys and the par­ents that I’ve re­ally en­joyed the pro­gram.”

“She’s been a great re­source for the pro­gram,” said dis­trict di­rec­tor Lee­len Park. “We’ve al­ways liked hav­ing her wis­dom to help us do our pro­gram. Even when I first started at the Pukahi Dis­trict, Amy was the one per­son who was kind of telling me what to do. She was my guide and my leader. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate all she’s done.”

There are about 1,400 Scouts is­land­wide with about 800 in the Pukahi Dis­trict.

Through the years, Ban said some as­pects of the pro­gram have changed — for ex­am­ple, she said things have be­come per­haps more tech­nol­ogy-fo­cused, and kids over­all seem to have a grow­ing num­ber of op­tions for ex­tracur­ric­u­lar sports and ac­tiv­i­ties.

Cer­tain parts of Scouting, how­ever, have re­mained the same. The pro­gram con­tin­ues teach­ing Scouts ba­sic life skills, she said, and it con­tin­ues to “re­ally teach boys to be­come bet­ter cit­i­zens.”

“As Scouts, the boys learn to be con­fi­dent in them­selves and through their mis­takes, they learn to do things prop­erly,” Ban said. “I tell par­ents, ev­ery boy has the op­por­tu­nity to be­come an Ea­gle Scout or go to (na­tional events) and I re­ally en­cour­age the kids to do that. I think the boys ma­ture af­ter do­ing all those things.”

“When I joined, I never thought I’d stay this long but I’ve truly en­joyed it,” she con­tin­ued. “Through Scouting I’ve re­ally learned a lot and had a lot of dif­fer­ent types of ex­pe­ri­ences. Be­fore Scouting I didn’t know how to have con­fi­dence or con­duct meet­ings or how to talk so adults can grow as well. So I truly be­lieve in this pro­gram and I’ve re­ally en­joyed it.”

HOLLYN JOHN­SON/Tri­bune-Her­ald

Amy Ban has been an ac­tive Scout leader with the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica for 42 years.

HOLLYN JOHN­SON/Tri­bune-Her­ald

Amy Ban has men­tored thou­sands of Big Is­land Scouts through the years.

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