Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
Boy Scouting Is Badge of Honor for Latino Troop
Los Angeles Times 11Dec99 P2
By Agustin Gurza
The Orange County Council has been focusing its efforts on the Latino,
Vietnamese and Korean communitites in Santa Ana, Anaheim, Buena Park,
Costa Mesa, Tustin, Garden Grove and Fullerton.
Marcos Nava, the council's Soutreach director, immigrated from
Guadalajara when he was 9. He has been a Scouting executive for eight
years ago. Then he was beating the bushes to find Latino Scouts to
feature on a local cable news broadcast. "I had a hard time looking for
one troop that was Latino," he said.
At Thursday's $75-per-plate luncheon which raised $40,000 for
Scoutreach, there where no shortages of accomplished Latino Scouts.
Denovan Espinoza, a l6-year-old from Westminister High draped in merit
badges and patches, represented his troop 1188 by welcoming local
Scouting supporters. Donovan's little brother Josue, 9, impressed the
crowd of political, corporate and community leaders with a memorized
address on what Scouting means to him. "I want to follow in my
brother's steps," said the pint-sized Scout. "My brother is an Eagle
The rank of Eagle requires 21 merit badges. Four of Donovan's fellow
31 scouts are one rank away from the honor. Nationally, less than 2% of
all Scouts complete the requirements needed for the rank of Eagle.
Denovan's troop meets at the Mormon church in Westminister. "People see
a mature young man, a youth who already has set his goals of what he
wants to be, who will stand out in society and someday, perhaps, even be
president of the republic. That's what people see."
Denovan plans to attend Utah's Brigham Young University and pursue a
double career in paleontology and veterinary medicine. Fellow Scout,
Luis Sarmiento, a l7-year-old junior at Westminster High, said, "He
knows how to commmand." "He doesn't have to keep cracking the whip."
Sarmiento also give credit to Scoutmaster, Manuel Lino. When Lino took
took charge three years ago the troop was in trouble. A native of El
Salvador, the school bus driver and former Boy Scout, brought the troop
back to life. "He started to teach us more and more, and it became like
a little chain reaction." "He's never going to ask us to do something
he's not willing to do."
Lino, father of five and convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, will turn 4l on Christmas Eve. In San Salvador he
was an Olympic swimmer and studied civil engineering at Universidad
Centroamercana. Lino is demanding of his Scouts, some who just arrived
and don't speak English. His secret is to participate with them. "But
the most important thing of all," Lino said, "if you make tham a
promise, keep it."