Scouting Chairman Thom Sprat with Cub Scout 603 Award winners.

By Steve Rusie
Elks National President, National President Michael T Luhr recently proclaimed May 1-7, 2019 Elks National Youth Week. In observation the local chapter, Mission Viejo-Saddleback Valley Elks #2444 presented Youth Appreciation Night on Tuesday May 7, 2019 at its evening awards program.
Elks Lodge President Jamie B. Camunas opened the evening program with her welcome speech honoring local youth for their accomplishments. Boy Scout Troop 603 Color Guard presented the flag. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Lodge Esquire Rick Moscoso and Opening Prayer was given by Lodge Chaplain Lauren A Perry. Master of Ceremonies, Past Lodge President Dave McLeod introduced Mission Viejo Mayor Pro-Tem Brain Goodell who presented the City’s Elks National Youth Week Proclamation.
American Essay awards were presented to the following students: Ivana-Yrebella Bugtong of La Madera Elementary, Grade 5 Division 1; Ruby Lane Jacobs of Cordillera Elementary, Grade 6, Division 1; Katie Sperle of Valencia Elementary, Grade 6, Division 1; Max Cubacub, of Serrano Intermediate, Grade 8, Division 2; Kathy Salazar of Serrano Intermediate, Grade 8, Division 2; and Norma Cortez of Serrano Intermediate, Grade 8, Division 2.
Jacob Lowe of Trabuco Hills High School was named a Semifinalist for Elks National Foundation, Most Valuable Scholarship Program.
Daniel Hernandez, Lodge Chairman for the Elks National Hoop Shoot Program presented 1st Place winners for the lodge competition. Aiyan Mahallati, Boys 8 & 9 yr. old; Mason Farber, Boys 10 & 11 yr. old; and Trae Johnson 12 &13 yr. old, will each proceed to Southern California competition.
Boy Scout Program Awards were presented by lodge member & local Scout Leader Thom Sprat. Pack 603 Cub Scout of the Year was presented to Theodore Ng. Pack 603 Cub Scout Leader of the Year was presented to Michelle Datwyler and Jeffrey Goold. Arrow of Light Awards were presented to scouts Daniel Datwyler, Justin Fritz, Kyle Gaghan, Theodore Ng, Orion Taguchi and Sid Gaikwad. Troop 603 Boy Scout of the Year was presented to Nicholas Marvin. Teyo Jacobson and Jonah Berstein were presented as Troop 603 Eagle Scouts.
The Benediction was given by Chaplain Lauren A. Perry. Youth Appreciation Chairman, Vice President Stuart D. Urquhart led a chorus of God Bless America, and President Camunas closed the program with an invitation to all to join her for cake and punch.