Honoree: Erasmo Calderon
Honored by: Boy Scouts of America, Orange County Council
Cause Area: Youth Services
Erasmo Calderon was born in the state of Morelos, Mexico, where he was raised by his single mother and is the eldest of five siblings. At the age of 19 he decided to come to the United States, where he had no money, no family and no place to stay. He was homeless for about a year and eventually found a job in Power Distributions. In 1991 he met his wife and later had three children. In 1998 he fled with his family to Puerto Rico to look for a better life. There they met The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which led him to become involved with youth. He returned to California, where he became involved in his children’s school. Later he served as the PTA President in Pio Pico Elementary School. He created a soccer team with children who had disabilities, which lasted for six years and piqued his interest in becoming more involved in the community. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, his first calling was in 2006 as a Cub Scout master for his ward. Erasmo was fascinated with the Boy Scouts, where he has helped twenty-nine young men become Eagle Scouts. He and another leader took eight boys to the Boy Scouts of America high adventure camp, The Summit Bechtel Reserve, in West Virginia. He doesn’t only help the Boy Scouts and but he also loves helping people in need, especially when it comes to the holidays. Every December he receives 120 baskets of food to give out to those in need. He has never forgotten where he came from, nor how he started.
Recently Erasmo was honored by the Boy Scouts of America, Orange County Council with the Visionary Award. The Visionary Award is given to a leader in the community who mentors, assists in membership and helps provide youth with a quality program. This award also gives special leadership and emphasis to urban and rural Scouting. It is the Boy Scouts of America’s commitment to assure that all young people have an opportunity to join Scouting, regardless of their circumstances, neighborhood, or ethnic background.
Today, young people in Orange County are faced with many challenges. Outreach programs meet the developmental needs of youth in urban settings where families are fragile and many neighborhoods are troubled with gang activity. Scouting, by emphasizing ethics and moral values, addresses many of the social concerns of parents and youth in our county. Scouting prepares urban youth to be leaders, to accept responsibility, and to care about principles and causes beyond their own self-interest. Our major asset in urban neighborhoods is a well-defined program based on learning by doing, fun, and positive role models. Outreach reflects the diversity of the urban neighborhoods and communities that it serves and uses that strength to enhance customer satisfaction and enrich the Scouting experience. In Orange County, efforts and resources are focused where they are most needed. Highest emphasis has been placed in targeting the Latino Communities in Santa Ana, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Garden Grove and Fullerton. The council has made a long-term commitment to keep the Outreach program active through the coming years. Through the efforts of the Outreach program in Orange County, programs are currently provided at Santa Ana schools where Erasmo has made a significant difference. The recruitment of strong adult leaders who are reflective of our communities and the development of solid relationships with chartered community form the basis for Outreach programs to ensure that culturally diverse youth have the opportunity to join the scouting program.