By Candateshia Pafford, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsJune 14, 2016
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (June 14, 2016) - "Itadakimasu," often translated as "I humbly receive," or "Thanks for the food," is often heard before a meal in Japan.
One Zama American High School senior and Camp Zama Boy Scouts member took that concept one step further to "give back" and say "thank you" to the community through his Eagle Scout badge project.
Lorenzo Cardenas, 17, said he titled his project "Operation Itadakimasu" because he is thankful for what the Camp Zama community has done for him during his time spent in Japan.
Cardenas led other Troop 34 members and ZAHS Keystone Club members through the building of two picnic benches for employees at U.S. Army Garrison Japan Headquarters to have a "relaxing place to eat."
Cardenas said he originally received the idea from community members at the headquarters building who expressed their desire for "someplace to eat outside and relax."
Currently, with just one picnic table near the building, Cardenas said the extra picnic tables would be beneficial to the community.
After speaking with the Garrison's senior leaders and getting pass the initial approval process, Cardenas wrote a proposal and presented it to a committee that voted on the "worthiness" of the project for the community.
John Harris, Troop 34's scout master, said the "Eagle Scout Project," is not about the project itself- it's about the process of getting the project done.
According to scoutingmagazine.org, the Boy Scouts' Eagle Scout Service Project is the most difficult advancement; however, the project allows the Scout an opportunity to "plan, develop and give leadership to others," as noted in the requirements.
The Eagle Scout Project is all about going through the actual process of "meeting people in the community, learning how to get a process from step A to step Z, and completing it," whether the project is big or small; expensive; or non-expensive, said Harris.
Eagle Scout Projects have to benefit the community, said Harris.
"It cannot benefit the scouting association, and it cannot benefit the individual," he said.
Harris explained once the project is approved by the committee, and gets the "Boy Scouts" stamp of approval on it, the project will live on in that Eagle Scouts' legacy.
The Eagle Scout Project- being a service project- is a chance for scouts to become leaders, said Cardenas.
"We find the idea, and we approach the necessary people," he said.
These projects are developed and planned out months in advance, according to Harris.
The Scouts talk with influential community members, find out what needs to be done, develop a plan and put a project together for approval, he said.
"I see people eating their lunch, getting a chance to relax," said Cardenas.
"With the additions, more people get to enjoy beautiful days, unwinding," he said.