IRVING, Texas- This September, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will honor Latin American independence and Hispanic and Latino leaders throughout the nation who have become mentors for todayâ€™s youth, by celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.
President Ronald Reagan declared September 15-October 15 the first National Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988, expanding on the 20 year-old commemoration of National Hispanic Heritage Week. This celebratory week was originally established to honor the anniversary of the independence of seven different Latin American countries, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile.
As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the BSA is recognizing the efforts of three key Latino Scouting leaders: Tico Perez, JosÃ© NiÃ±o and Alberto MuÃ±oz II.
Perez, an Eagle Scout, serves as President of the BSAâ€™s Southern Region. A partner in the law firm of Baker and Hostetler in Orlando, Perez is also a member of the BSAâ€™s National Executive Board and the National Order of the Arrow Committee. Perez has also been recognized as an exemplary leader by University of Central Florida, received the National Association of Community Leadershipâ€™s Distinguished Leadership Award, and the Que Pasa Magazine Public Service Award.
He has been named one of the ten most influential men in Central Florida by the Orlando Business Journal and one of the 174 most influential people in Florida by Florida Trend Magazine.
NiÃ±o, a Silver Buffalo Award recipient, Scoutingâ€™s highest commendation for volunteers that is bestowed upon those who give truly noteworthy and extraordinary service to youth, serves on BSAâ€™s National Executive Committee, was the Chairman of the Food/Procurement Group for the 2005 BSA National Jamboree, and is Former Chairman of the BSA Scoutreach Committee, which leads BSA’s commitment to making sure that all young people have an opportunity to join Scouting, regardless of their circumstances, neighborhood, or ethnic background. NiÃ±o who is President of El NiÃ±o Group, Ltd., an international business development and financial Services Company is also a former president of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Alberto MuÃ±oz II, another Silver Buffalo Award recipient, is the current chairman of BSAâ€™s Scoutreach Committee. MuÃ±oz was also instrumental in founding the Soccer and Scouting program, which caters to young Latinos in the Scouting community. MuÃ±oz, who is originally from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, is now a practicing litigator who strives to increase the number of Hispanic scouts.
The BSA celebrates diversity by providing character development programs for children and youths across ethnic, income, and religious boundaries. The BSA as an organization has consciously recognized diversity and the inclusion of Latino Scouts and paid staffs throughout its history, but at an accelerated pace beginning in the 1980′s as evidenced by the U.S. Census Report’s demographic data on the growth of the Latino population. Today, the BSA has programs like Soccer and Scouting to encourage Hispanic Americansâ€™ participation in scouting. The BSA is also working with Latino leaders in communities throughout the country to determine the best approach to keeping Scouting valuable, accessible and culturally-relevant to the Hispanic community.
Latino Scouts and Scouters have a profound impact in communities throughout the United States and at every level of Scouting â€” from Tiger Cub to Eagle Scout. The BSA continues to specifically address the needs of these Scouts and other multicultural youth through culturally relevant programs that speak to unique needs. BSAâ€™s programs build upon the commitment to ensure that all youth in urban and rural communities have an opportunity to join Scouting.
â€œTico Perez, JosÃ© NiÃ±o and Alberto MuÃ±oz have long been supporters of the BSA,â€ said Roy Williams, Chief Scout Executive, BSA. â€œIt is fitting we honor their contributions to BSA because they have been instrumental in our efforts to ensure our programs are relevant to the Latino community today and for years to come.â€
Since its inception, the BSA has trained young people in citizenship, service, and leadership to better serve Americaâ€™s communities and families through its quality, values-based program. In the past 95 years, the nearly 110 million members of Scouting have provided countless hours of service. The more than 1.7 million Eagle Scouts alone have provided an estimated 36 million hours of service through their Eagle projects.
Serving nearly 4.5 million young people between 7 and 20 years of age with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America is the nationâ€™s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. For more information on the BSA, please visit www.scouting.org.