The Boy Scout Program Launches its Latino Initiative
Harry Figuero

Boy Scouts of America embraces Latinos 


I don’t think it’s just my imagination. I feel that many times when I meet with a group of my peers either socially or during work, the topic of teaching our youth to be successful and make their way in this world comes up more often than not. We want them to better understand the realities of life and get them better prepared for life’s real challenges after finishing their years of education. Sometimes as adults, we seem to have a jaded view as to where we see the youth of today headed.

I get it—these young adults are constantly being bombarded with quick changes in technology, being wired in and dialed in 24/7, social media is their new face to face conversation, unreal ideas of body images are plastered everywhere, their role models are celebutants that haven’t achieved anything except to snag a reality show or hit 300K views on Facebook. 

Cultural events and adult concerns that we were not exposed to in our youth are now part of their dialogue. So even when they seem to be doing all the right things—studying, being involved in sports and community activism, going to college, interning—there just sometimes seems to be a disconnect with a genuine and real world that we hope can maintain values revolving around good character, leadership, family, community, a better place, giving back, helping others, etc.

Preparing for business

Oh yes, our youth are learning the math, science, and language skills at their schools that are required to function in the real world, get a job, pay bills, be a part of the real world; But they are sometimes missing out on the fundamental values in life. These are the things that must be taught early on and demonstrated continuously. Although I myself am not a parent, I come across many young adults in my work as I am bringing on interns and hiring new career starts out of college. I see that they are talented, but sometimes very misguided in their views on life.

Some of this is a part of being young, naïve, inexperienced with how to handle situations—but more times than not—some of the qualities I see lacking are initiative, being ready for anything that comes your way, respect. They see nothing wrong with consistent tardiness or missing many days of work. I see that many of them have no worries about the repercussions for their poor behavior. I know I start to sound like one of those old, grumpy people who suffer from the “back in my day” syndrome……

Learning values

I recently met up with Rocio Guerrero who is the Scoutreach Director for Westchester-Putnam, NY and had the pleasure to see what this group is doing for its young men of the area. The Boy Scouts is really pushing an initiative to gain more Latinos in their program and I can see why they would want this. The Boy Scouts is an amazing group that helps prepare young men for life and at the same time doing it in a team building/leadership type of way that gives them the fundamental building blocks to become adults with a combination of smart thinking, family and community values, and a high expectation of what they can achieve and succeed at—but knowing that it will require their motivation and input.

You get what you put into this program. In addition, there is a push to the Latino community to help overcome some of the obstacles that many Latino families face—language barriers, inability to afford the basic costs of the Scout program, lack of adult leadership (either because of families with only a single parent, 2 busy working parents, or no cultural experience of volunteerism)

Boy Scouts Latinos and leadership

The Boy Scout Program launches its Latino Initiative for 2015 in the Westchester-Putnam, NY area.

At the Boy Scouts Launch Inititative meeting at the end of June, two of their young men spoke so eloquently to the large group of people and really made impactful speeches. They were both quite mesmerizing to watch as they spoke fluidly with great purpose and explained as well as demonstrated with their well crafted speeches that they are indeed learning the things that the Scouts believe in—being good leaders and role models to the community. They made everyone immediately understand how amazing the Boy Scouts program was for them.

First to speak was 17 year old Henry Figuero Jr. (top photo) from Troop 0005 Yonkers who has been involved in the program for 7 years. He received his Eagle Scout award in 2012 and he shared his experience of wanting to join the Scouts. He recalled his first impression of what they had to offer being something that would be a perfect fit because of his love for all things outdoors. Little did he realize how it would broaden his horizons. It would give him many opportunities to do even more outdoor events and challenges that many young adults who live in such proximity to large cities don’t get to enjoy. Succeeding at these challenges would provide him with confidence and leadership abilities.

Pat Coviello, Scout Executive for the Westchester-Putnam Council             

Pat Coviello, Scout Executive for the Westchester-Putnam Council welcomes the attendees to the meeting.

Next- Next to speak was 20 year old Ricardo Guerrero


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