I was born and raised in Culver City and my 2 children attended CCUSD all 12 years of their education. When my son was bridging from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts we decided to send him to Troop 915 in Westchester for 2 reasons. One, because 2 of his friend’s brothers were already in that troop and second, because Culver City Troop 108 really wasn’t doing much. My son is 1 year younger than Dan’s son and Dan had just stepped up to be Scout Master of Troop 108 and was about to hit the ground running.
Fast forward 3 1/2 years later, my son started to get frustrated with his troop. For some reason he was being overlooked for leadership positions and ranking up. He was going on all the camp outs, constantly volunteering for Troop events and earning lots of Merit Badges. By then I had seen and heard all the great things Troop 108 was doing under Dan’s Leadership. We felt it was time for a change before my son lost interest. I didn’t personally know Dan then, but I saw all that he was doing outside of scouting for our city and I really impressed. I spoke to Dan and told him our situation and without giving it a second thought, he invited my son to join Troop 108. I felt as if he didn’t want my son to give up on Scouting after all he already accomplished. It was like he cared about us and it was genuine.
Right away we sent my son on a camp out with Dan and Troop 108. They camped at San Jacinto in Palm Springs. The Scouts took the Tram, where they met up with Dan and a couple others who hiked from the desert floor before dawn (Cactus to the Clouds) and from there they all summited to the top and hiked back down to the campsite in the dark. I purposely did not attend this campout because I needed my son to build new relationships without me as a crutch. Dan somehow knew exactly how to handle the situation. He put my son right in front to lead. His confidence in my son gave my son the confidence he needed to continue scouting. He came home with a new attitude and with Dan’s guidance and leadership, my son reached Eagle Scout rank 2 1/2 years later. I have also camped and hiked with Dan since then and I admire his determination on reaching the top of any mountain he sets out to conquer.
I’m confident Dan is what our city needs right now to bridge gaps, build relationships and lead with integrity. I’m proud to be part of his team and call him a friend.
Andres Aniceto Islas
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