Aaron Speare – “Ahote” (2011)

I’ve already talked some about Aaron, our Growth in Venturing winner tonight.

But I want to say a little more. Aaron cares a lot about others though he may not always express that.

Some of you may know he has been in ROTC for four years at Dutch Fork. He’s served as a captain there and as a flight commander. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, Aaron has served as one of the senior officers.

We talked about that recently and one of the things he told me very much impressed me. You see the pride of many ROTC programs is their drill team. They enter competitions and schools and their faculty sometimes become quite focused on winning drill team competitions. Therefore, sometimes those who are on drill teams tend to win the most honors and stay in the spotlight.

Aaron, however, chose not to try for the drill team because he was more interested in the whole unit. He likes hanging out with the ordinary cadets, he says, and didn’t want to endanger those ties by becoming a member of some elite squad.

One of the best words I can use to describe Aaron is deliberate. He is careful in his actions and in what he says. Anyone who has ever received a message on your voicemail from Aaron can attest to that.

In fact, when I asked all the seniors to tell me a favorite Venturing memory, his deliberateness surfaced in his reply about our bike trip down the Virginia Creeper.

“I enjoyed riding at a pace of my choosing through all that scenery, and the perfect parts for just letting the bike do all the work. I also got some practice in for the mountain biking I would be doing later that year. It was my kind of trip, because it was pressing, yet not exhausting, because I had enough energy to out run everyone who played zombie tag that night.”

He’s also one of the most curious crew members we’ve had. He loves to explore the natural world and loves creatures big and small. When we are camping, I sometimes watch him as he finds something in the area to study and watch.

Most in the crew by now know Aaron by his email name, Koala Bear. It’s a tag given to him by his father who says Aaron seemed to love the Koalas when they visited the zoo at a young age. Of course, Koalas are pretty sedentary and they don’t have any of those living in the wilds of North America so the Indians have no name for Koala.

So I thought of another trait. He rarely sits still. It maybe that he wants to explore something or talk to someone. He seems always to be on the move. He loves to find a walking stick wherever we go and uses it constantly.

This is the time for graduates to move on with their lives, to open new chapters and explore new places, people and things. Therefore, it is my honor tonight, Aaron, to give you the Hopi name Ahote, which means, Restless One.


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