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Kia Kima Alumni Association Awards

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to an alum who has tirelessly contributed to Kia Kima throughout their life. This is the highest award that the Association bestows and it is given annually to one individual. Nominations are made to the Awards Committee.

Ryan Cooper

Distinguished Alumni Award (2021)

Ryan is the Director of Information Technology at Nesvick Trading Group.  An Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, Ryan served on KKSR Staph (1996-2004) in various positions including Camp Cherokee Program Director, Camp Osage Program Director, and COPE Director. Ryan currently serves as Chickasaw Council Vice President of Membership. Ryan is a former Ahoalan-Nachpikin Lodge Chief and recipient of the OA Founder's Award, Silver Thunderbird Award, KKAA Service Award, District Award of Merit, and the Silver Beaver.

Ron Edmonds
Distinguished Alumni Award (2020)
Ron is a Chickasaw Council Executive Board member and Council Scouter. He was largely responsible for the resurgence of Kia Kima in the early 90s and the 75th anniversary. Ron has served as the Eastern District Chairman and Chickasaw Council Camping Committee Chairman. He is also a trustee of the Ernest Thompson Seton Foundation. Ron is a CPA by training and owns his own consulting business working with green companies.

Chuck Barber
Distinguished Alumni Award (2019)
Chuck is a Senior Sales Trainer for T-Mobile for Business where he is also a member of the T-Mobile Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Chuck is an Eagle Scout, Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow and former Lodge Chief of the Ahoalan Nachpikin Lodge. Chuck served nine years on the Kia Kima Staff and volunteers for at least one week every summer and with Winter Camp. He has served the KKAA as Activities Chair, Treasurer and a three term President. Recipient of the OA Founder’s Award and Volunteer of the Year from the Blues Foundation.

Jeremy Palazolo
Distinguished Alumni Award (2018)
Jeremy has worked tirelessly for camp and Scouting since his first years on the Kia Kima staff. As a youth, Jeremy began working on staff in 1993 and has since spent 20 summers on the banks of the South Fork river. Jeremy has worked for the Chickasaw Council in a variety of positions, including District Executive, Program Director, Lodge Staff Adviser of the Ahoalan-Nachpikin Order of the Arrow Lodge, Reservation Director, and, most recently, Director of Support Services. Throughout the years, Jeremy has served camp through many different projects beyond his normal duties. In addition to designing and refining the Kia Kima program, Jeremy has also helped build and repair many structures at camp, including most recently the Cowboy Action Range and the Cherokee Tech Center, among others.

Jason Hood
Distinguished Alumni Award (2017)
Jason Hood has worked tirelessly for Kia Kima and for Scouting ever since he left staff. Jason has served as the Cherokee Program Director, Order of the Arrow Lodge Chief, OA Region Chief, served on multiple National OA Committees, Chickasaw Council President, and currently serves as the Ahoalan-Nachpikin Lodge Adviser. Throughout the years, Jason also continued to help Kia Kima wherever possible and attended camp as an adult leader with his son’s pack and troop. Jason currently serves on the national committee for the Scouting Alumni Association and has served on the KKAA Executive Board for the past three years. Jason has continuously had a vision for how both Kia Kima and the Alumni Association can advance, and he works to share and improve that vision.

Brian Leith
Distinguished Alumni Award (2016)
Brian Leith served ten years on Kia Kima Staff from 1993-2002. During that time, he served as Nature Director, Cherokee Program Director, and Osage Program Director. Brian also held many roles in the Order of the Arrow. He was a founder of Ahoalan-Nachpikin Lodge #558 and served two terms as its Lodge Chief. During his tenure, the lodge won the E. Urner Goodman Camping Award at the 1996 NOAC. He is a Vigil Honor Member, Founder's Award Recipient, and Centurion Award Recipient. Brian has continued supporting the camp and Scouting in the years since. He has organized work crew volunteers yearly to assist the staff at setup and take-down and took responsibility for the Summer Staff Appreciation dinner since the KKAA was founded. Brian is an Eagle Scout, a Friends of Scouting supporter, served on the Chickasaw Council Golf Tournament and Camping Committees, and a Silver Beaver Recipient. Brian continuously works to improve Kia Kima and leaves a mark for future generations.

Drew Armstrong
Distinguished Alumni Award (2015)
Drew served as Reservation Director from 2004-2009. During that time he transformed Kia Kima into the regional destination that it is today. Drew focused on reinventing staff morale and improving the camp program outside of regular merit badges. Drew continued improving Kia Kima as Director of Support Services for the Chickasaw Council and was instrumental in building many new features on the Reservation including the staff cabins, Cabin 4, the Tech Center, the OVB cabin, and coordinating completion of the Dining Hall. Drew left the Chickasaw Council in 2015 to become the Scout Executive of the Conquistador Council in Roswell, NM, but his influence on Kia Kima will be felt for many more years.

Silver Thunderbird

The Silver Thunderbird is an award presented to alumni for the impact they had on Kia Kima while they were serving on staff. Silver Thunderbird recipients are the staff members that Scouts, Scouters, and Staff remember when they think back on their time at camp.

2021 Silver Thunderbird Class

Chuck Barber

Dalton Cook

Britney Haskins

Justin Kerr

Brian Leith

Carey White

2020 Silver Thunderbird Class

Ken Kimble

Rachel Mixson

2019 Silver Thunderbird Class
Jamond Bullock
Joe Clarke
Michael Downs
Mark Follis
Daniel Hochstein
Adam Leith
Danny Van Horn
Bob Winkler

2018 Silver Thunderbird Class
Max "Bear" Aycock
Dennis Cain
Ryan Cooper
Mike Haskins
Andrew Hinson
Walter Hoehn
Hugh Mallory
Andrew Schrack
Johnny Tracy

2017 Silver Thunderbird Class
Jeff Hodge (1990s)
Rhonda Wright (2010s)

2016 Silver Thunderbird Class
George Clarke (1970s)
"Arkansas" Wayne Dowdy (1980s)
Jon Grizzle (1990s)
Jim Charbonnet (2000s)
Adam Wilson (2010s)

Mesara Society Award

The Mesara Society was created in 2021 to gratefully recognize the years of service and devotion to Kia Kima Scout Reservation and the mission of the Kia Kima Alumni Association by individuals who never served on camp staff.

2022 Inductees

Norm Alperin

Susan Mixson

Staff Awards

The Kia Kima Alumni Association presents several awards each year to recognize outstanding staff members from the previous summer. These awards are voted on by members of the current staff.

2021 Staff Awards

Rookie of the Year: Eric Johnsen

Best New Director: Harlie Anderson

Best Work Crew Leader: James Smythe

Most Enthusiastic: James Smythe

Best Area Director: Dalton Cook

2019 Staff Awards
Rookie of the Year: Ben "Herc" Gainer
Best New Director: James Smythe
Best Work Crew Leader: Riley Heasley
Most Enthusiastic: Henry Zeringue
Best Area Director: Adam Nathan

2018 Staff Awards
Rookie of the Year: Whit Ford
Best New Director: Mitchel Lawrence
Best Work Crew Leader: Riley Heasley
Most Enthusiastic: Henry Zeringue

2017 Staff Awards
Rookie of the Year: Riley Heasley
Best New Director: Danny Van Horn
Best Work Crew Leader: Michael Waldo
Most Enthusiastic: Henry Zeringue

2016 Staff Awards
Rookie of the Year: Phillip Plouch
Best New Director: Michael Waldo
Best Work Crew Leader: Michael Honey
Most Enthusiastic: Henry Zeringue

2015 Staff Awards
Rookie of the Year: Malik McIntyre
Best New Director: Michael Slauson
Best Work Crew Leader: Jim Charbonnet
Most Enthusiastic: Henry Zeringue

The Kia Kima Alumni Association is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation in the State of Arkansas. EIN: 47-2796543
PO Box 342855
Memphis, TN 38184

© 2019 Alumni Association. All Rights Reserved.

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