I’d like to call our first recipient up here now, Ryan Ahuja.
Ryan has served as quartermaster and webmaster in his time with us and has grown a lot.
He’s gone on our big adventure to the Badlands two summers ago and is part of the group that is going to the Florida Sea Base this summer, Scouting’s high-adventure sailing base in the Florida Keys.
When we went to Legacy last fall, which is an annual gathering of Venturers from this part of the nation, he placed second in a shooting competition, which is quite notable for all the shooters that participated.
When I say that he has grown, I don’t mean he’s 2 feet taller than when he joined. He has grown emotionally and in character. He’s helpful now and friendly and regularly pals around with Dillon.
One of the most important contributions he made to us recently was serving as a lifeguard. Ryan is a certified lifeguard, something we used to have in abundance with the crew. When it came time to do our swim tests, a certified lifeguard had to give them and sign the BSA form. The YMCA where we did our tests said they could not supply a guard or the guard on duty did not have their paperwork or something. So I asked Erin to see if anyone in the crew was a lifeguard or knew of one and Ryan volunteered.
Most of the names you will hear tonight are Cherokee, which I thought appropriate because they were the predominant Native American culture in the Carolinas. And as an aside, I am always asked how to pronounce these names. I am not a Native American so all I can offer is my best guess. But in the Cherokee language, the written words or names have multiple syllables and each often stands for a separate idea, which strung together makes a name. So if you want to know how to say your name, break it apart into short syllables.
Back to Ryan. When we think of Native Americans, we think of their running through forests to hunt or riding a horse on the plains. But they also had to know how to fish and travel on water and cross streams and rivers.
So it is my honor tonight, Ryan, to award you the Cherokee name Ihu-ah-neh, which means Swimmer.