History of

Troop 578

It all began at Hanamatsuri, 1977. It rained. The public address system was getting wet. Mr. Norman Nishioka asked two strangers to take the public address system into the library so the equipment would not be damaged by the rain. The two strangers, Ed Tanaka and Larry Kamei, watched the rain through the window. They were both thinking of something to say to one another. For some reason, Ed said, “Do you know what this church needs? A boy scout troop.”

Larry said, “You know, I was thinking the same thing.” This was to be the spark that became the light.

In the conversation that followed, it was decided that Norman Nishioka would be the one to talk to; he was then the Chairman of the Orange County Buddhist Church Board. Norman said it sounded like a good idea but that a few years back, a cub scout pack was started but didn’t last too long. Norman also mentioned that Satoru Togashi had also mentioned the possibility of a boy scout troop for the church. When Larry found Satoru and mentioned the idea, it was like adding gasoline to a roaring flame. Satoru was eager and all supportive of the idea, but cautioned that, “Starting a boy scout troop would require total support from the boys’ parents.”

So now, where should they go from there? There were three men and an idea. The three talked to other parents who they knew, and everyone thought it was a good idea, but no one knew what to do. About this time, Dr. Leo Nakayama came on the scene. Leo’s enthusiasm gave the effort a needed shot in the arm. This is when Mr. Maurice Nakagawa came into the picture. Maurice, being an Eagle Scout, would surely know how to organize a troop, it was surmised. So, in the fall of 1977, Ed Tanaka, Satoru Togashi, Leo Nakayama and Maurice Nakagawa met at Larry Kamei’s home to talk with the scout executive from the Orange County Council. The executive gave them information on what was needed to form a troop.

The next meeting was held at Satoru’s home to discuss what kind of troop was to be formed. Satoru said, “No drum and bugle corp!” And he didn’t want anything to do with a tailgate troop. So there was only one choice, a backpacking troop. That is the reason Troop 578 has a backpacking tradition.

The third meeting was held at Ed Tanaka’s home to go over the bylaws for the troop. It was a knockdown, drag-out discussion. When to meet, where to meet, should there be dues, on and on into the night. Finally, everyone agreed on the bylaws. Next, they needed to ask the church board to be the troop sponsor. Satoru drew the short straw, so he had to go to the board to make the proposal, and needless to say, they approved.

Since a boy scout troop needs equipment, and lots of it, they needed money. So where do they get money? Satoru approached the Buddhist Women’s Association. Well, all those early mochitsuki mornings when Satoru went to start the fire burning under the rice paid off. The BWA gave the troop enough to get started. Then it was time to get a troop number. Satoru then went to the Scout House to get a number...simple, right? WRONG!! The Scout House asked him what number he wanted. How about 48 for Buddha’s birthday? “No, it’s taken.” How about 128 for Bodhi Day? “Sorry, it’s taken too.” Well, how about 578, for May 1978? “That’s a good number. No one has taken it yet.” With great relief, Satoru came home with a troop number.

Now came much anxiety. All was in place, everything was ready. All that was needed were BOYS!! On June 11, 1978, they held their first meeting. Eleven boys attended that meeting. The adult leaders were ecstatic. Remember, 1978 was not exactly the time for uniforms and discipline. And so, with twelve (one added later) boys, the great adventure began.

Since then, the troop has grown to be among the largest troops in the Orange County Council and has earned a reputation as one of its most capable scout troops. Over the last 41 years, Troop 578 has produced over 75 Eagle Scouts. By providing the adventure, discovery and fun of Scouting and setting the examples of leadership citizenship, our troop has provided the opportunities and the challenges for our boys to develop positive attitudes and grow to fill their individual potentials. For it has always been the thrust of Scouting, for the adult volunteers and professionals alike, to serve the needs of boys. Through the many years of growth and development, it has always been the expectation for everyone, both boys and adults, to live by the Scout Oath, Law, Motto and Slogan that has set the performance standard for Troop 578.