Sitting at a local coffee shop in late Saturday morning one would think we were talking to a young adult about his passion for his extra curricular activity.
Elijah Ortiz sat bright-eyed and bushy-tailed explaining why he thoroughly enjoys being a member of the Boy Scouts. The well-spoken 9-year-old has been a Scout with Troop 812 at Brown Elementary School for two years and is also involved with a new troop at Columbian Elementary School.
Ortiz, who was dressed in his Boy Scout best and who said he has noticed improvement in his school work and behavior, was asked what his biggest accomplishment has been since he joined. “I’ve got to say I really don’t know, there are a lot of achievements that I have [made]. I really do not know. It’s been a great year for Boy Scouts. Maybe my best achievement was being in second place in a derby,” he said.
Ortiz was awarded second place in a pinewood derby where he built his own derby car and learned “to be fair” and “learn how to be a good sport.”
His grandparents, Leroy and Lorrie Damian, expressed their joy in seeing their grandson participate in this American tradition.
Leroy Damian, a former Cub Scout and also dressed in uniform, said: “I enjoy it because it gives us an opportunity to bond and a chance to share different experiences in life that I know he’ll remember forever.”
Lorrie Damian joined in and said that she sees the importance of the Boy Scout values transmitted to her grandson, but also mentioned the strives made by the organization to reach across cultural lines and work with the Latino community.
“One thing I really have to say is that it’s critical to communicate to the Latino community, to engage our Latino youth in positive experiences,” she said while crediting Van Lucero, Multicultural Director for the Denver Area Council, for his work in making it happen. One such example is utilizing the skills of interpreters for Spanish-speaking families of some Boy Scouts.
From fishing, derby car competitions, fundraising, camping, gaining first aid skills, numerous other activities and making friends along the way, Ortiz has been given an opportunity to not only use the skills he learns today, but share them with others as an advocate for this organization.