Today marks the first day in a 30-day celebration of the culture and history of Americans with Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, and Central and South American heritage. Boy Scouts of America is proud to celebrate the thousands of Hispanic volunteers, youth, and employees that contribute to the success of our organization every day.
Why does this observation begin mid-month? September 15 is the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile’s independence days also fall within National Hispanic Heritage Month. Originally, President Lyndon B. Johnson established a Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. President Ronald Reagan extended the celebration to a month in 1988. National Hispanic Heritage Month runs September 15 to October 15.
Many of our organization’s top leaders are of Latino and Hispanic heritage. Ralph de la Vega, Vice Chairman of AT&T Inc. and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions and AT&T International, is the Vice President of the National Scout Jamboree and served as the BSA’s Chairman of the Diversity. He recounted his story of immigrating to the United States when he was 10-years-old during the 2010 National Annual Meeting. Other impactful BSA leaders like 9th National Commissioner and Vice President of Diversity Tico Perez and former BSA Southern Region Director and Chief Diversity Officer Ponce Duran have also shared a role in continuing our legacy of serving Hispanic families.
The BSA builds upon a progressive and innovative strategy that engages Hispanic youth and their families in Scouting and strives to interweave Hispanic culture throughout the Scouting program.
In our Families Like Mine video series, Scout dad, Juan shares his moving story of growing up in Mexico and immigrating to the U.S. when he was 19. Though far from his home, Juan describes how he found a home in the camaraderie of Scouting. Watch his touching testimonial (available in English and Spanish) in the videos below and share it with your Scouting families! How are you celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month in your councils?