Economics Alumni Volunteers Also Give Time as Scout Leaders for Area Boy Scouts 

Submitted by Nicole Johns on
Economics alumni Gabe Hanzeli and Cary Oshima at the top of Thorp Mountain
Gabe, Cary, and their troop members at the top of Thorp Mountain

Department of Economics alumni Gabe Hanzeli, BA ’76, and Cary Oshima, BA ’90, know something about the impact and benefits of volunteerism. Both are longtime department volunteers with the Economics Undergraduate Mentorship Program, in addition to serving as executive board members of the Economics Visiting Committee. Both are also involved with a variety of other philanthropic and volunteer endeavors, including the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

During a recent scout outing to Thorp Mountain in the Cascades above Cle Elum Lake, the two scout leaders and their troops happened upon each other, each planning a group hike up Thorp Mountain. They ended up joining forces, and the two troops hiked the mountain together for a memorable day trip.

Gabe is assistant scout master for Troop 474 of the Chief Seattle Council, based in Kent, Washington since 1970. Sponsored by St. James Episcopal Church in Kent, Troop 474 is a nationally recognized unit of excellence heavily focused on outdoor education and community service.

In July, Gabe and other scout masters took the troop on a 200 mile bike ride on the Chesapeake & Ohio canal from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, DC. They camped each night at sites along the trail, visiting historic places including Harpers Ferry and Antietam along the way and touring many of the famous buildings in DC including the Capitol, the Smithsonian and the White House.

Gabe is a co-recipient of the 2015 Kathy Gehrt Memorial Economics Volunteer Service Award, for his many contributions to the department including chairing the "Economics Outreach Network," a group of alumni committed to reconnecting old and new alumni to the department through events and volunteer opportunities. 

Cary was a den leader for his son's Cub Scouts troop for several years and now volunteers to accompany outings during his son's first year as a Boy Scout. Cary was a Cub and later Boy Scout himself growing up in Bellevue. Scout Leaders and volunteers are primarily responsible for organizing the activities of the group, and training the youth members through the Scout program.

It has been widely demonstrated that volunteering and performing community service provides a number of personal benefits, from heightened feelings of self-worth and well-being to lower mortality rates, in addition to the social and cognitive benfits. The department is grateful to Gabe, Cary, and our many alumni and friends who volunteer their time and expertise for the benefit of our students. We have many opportunities for volunteering in the department and welcome inquiries! Learn more at, email or call 206-543-5945.