Leading Scouts down the right path

Although La Crescenta native Rich Toyon dedicates countless hours every week to his job as a production designer for the entertainment industry, he still finds time to remain active in his community. Toyon stands firm behind his belief that a person does not need to be elected as a community official to make positive changes in his surroundings.

While balancing family, work and his volunteer endeavors, Toyon, served as a La Crescenta Town Councilmember in 2005. He no longer has time to attend weekly meetings as a councilmember, but that hasn't stopped him from being a community leader, he said. Toyon is president of La Crescenta's land preservation group V.O.I.C.E. and also volunteers for the Foothills Design Committee, the Crescenta Valley Arts Capital and the Haramoknga American Indian Cultural Center.

Additionally, Toyon is scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 317 in Montrose. Toyon's oldest son, Zane, has been in the troop since he was a Tiger Cub. When the troop's former scoutmaster moved out of town in 2008, Toyon took over the job.

"I didn't expect to become scoutmaster, but it fell in my lap, and I was happy to take it on," he said. "I was a little ambivalent at first because BSA (Boy Scouts of America) offers little training in how to become an effective scoutmaster, so you have to learn on the job."

The troop is sponsored by Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Montrose and meets every Tuesday. Throughout Toyon's command, he has led the troop on a rock climbing trip to Zion National Park, a beach camping adventure at Emma Woods in Ventura and multiple backpacking trips. In 2010, he plans to lead the troop on a snow camping trip and summer trip to Oregon.

Scouts and assistant scoutmasters in the troop have recognized Toyon's dedication to the program, and on Sept. 24 at Troop 317's Court of Honor, the group awarded its scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America Unit Leader Award of Merit.

"I've been involved with Scouts for many years, and I've never met a Scout leader as dedicated as Rich Toyon," said Ron Dietel, Troop 317 assistant scoutmaster. "He willingly shares his time, knowledge and passion with every Scout. I see them grow each week into responsible men under Rich's leadership."

Toyon said he was surprised when he received the award, and it meant a lot to him to be recognized by his fellow Scouts and volunteers.

"It was rewarding, validating and made me feel very good that my time as a scoutmaster has been felt at least by the Scouts and scoutmasters," he said.

As Toyon continues to fit his work and volunteer activities into his busy schedule, he doesn't see himself slowing down any time soon. In the future, however, he can see himself narrowing down his volunteer efforts depending on new, prevalent community issues.

"My focus always changes in community involvement," he said. "Things change, your career goals change, and so does your community involvement. I won't do any less, but I'll be more focused."

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