Carlos Cortez, Los Padres Council Scout Executive:
The observation of Hispanic Heritage Month covers the 30 days from September 15 to October 15. This year’s theme is “Hispanic Americans: A History of Serving our Nation,” which both invites us to recognize the contributions made by Hispanic and Latinx Americans to the United States, and to celebrate their heritage and culture.
Members of the Latinx community serve as Civil Rights leaders, politicians, military, educators, first responders, science pioneers, public servants, and leaders of industry. Individuals who have contributed to the history of our nation include Supreme Court Justice Sonia Maria Sotomayor, former secretary of the Department of Labor Hilda Solis, UFW co-founder and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, astronaut Franklin Ramon Chang Diaz, Nobel Prize awardees Luis Walter Alvarez and Baruj Benacerraf. These leaders are famous for the impact they have made to our great country, but there are many more whose contributions to our country are also impactful.
For many of us in the BSA, Hispanic Heritage Month represents a very important time for us to help everyone feel represented and included by providing an opportunity to have Scouts talk about their culture with pride and share that pride with their fellow Scouts. As leaders in our movement, it is important that we encourage Scouts to express and demonstrate their pride as way to help their fellow Scouts learn about other cultures.
For example, there may be opportunities for units to involve their families from the Hispanic/Latinx community in sharing about their culture in a variety of ways during meetings or other special events that are culturally appropriate and respectful. Units may also visit museums, monuments, and/or exhibits pertaining to Hispanic Heritage Month to further their education, excitement, and possibly even complete some advancement requirements.
I encourage Scouts and Scouters across the country to participate in their local communities’ Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations as a unit to demonstrate support and welcome more families into Scouting.
This month presents a unique opportunity for us to expand Scouts’ knowledge of the communities they live in and further welcome our Hispanic and Latinx families into the program we all love. Your kids, families, and Scouting overall will benefit from us embracing all in our community.
Frank Ramirez, BSA National Executive Board Member:
For many of us in the BSA, Hispanic Heritage Month represents a very important time for us to help everyone feel represented and included by providing an opportunity to have Scouts talk about their culture with pride and share that pride with their fellow Scouts.
Frank Ramirez, BSA National Executive Board Member, recently shared his own pride in how his Latino heritage and Scouting background align.
“I am the firstborn son of poor Latino Immigrants,” Ramirez said. “When my parents risked their health and comfort for a chance at a better life, they had no idea of the role that Scouting would play in the fulfillment of their dreams. Our family had no legacy in Scouting so the personal ‘ask’ by a grizzled ex-marine Scoutmaster, who lived down the block, made a life changing difference. The core values of my Latino heritage, respect for God and duty to family, melded seamlessly with Scouting’s core values of Duty to God and Duty to Country and through that association I joined the ranks of other young men who became strong, contributing, and principled citizens of the United States of America. My love of Scouting thus reflects the embodiment of the famous Spanish idiom, ‘Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres.’ I am, therefore, honored to have helped to open Scouting’s doors to the sons and daughters of all parents who long for a better life for their children. ¡Viva Scouting!”
Much like Frank Ramirez, as leaders in our movement, it is important that we encourage Scouts to express and demonstrate their pride as way to help their fellow Scouts learn about other cultures.
Scouting Wire would like to thank Carlos Cortez, Scout Executive of Los Padres Council, and Frank Ramirez, BSA National Executive Board Member, for contributing their stories and for sharing their thoughts on what Hispanic Heritage Month means in the Scouting Movement.