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For week ended December 12, 1999 Posted 18 Dec 1999

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Boy Scouting Is Badge of Honor for Latino Troop

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 Scout."

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."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information