Despite the fact that Turlock High School senior Tlaloc Barajas has already achieved the highest advancement possible as Eagle Scout through the Boy Scouts of America last year, he has managed to secure one last recognition before aging out of the organization: Greater Yosemite Council’s Boy Scout of the Year.
“It means a lot and it means that everything that I have done has meant something,” said Barajas. “It feels great to be recognized, but I am still humbled by the achievement because I never thought that I would ever be put into this position.”
“I just do everything because I love it, I never do anything for an achievement,” continued Barajas.
To earn this title, Barajas was recognized for his commitment to a number of factors, including community service and extracurricular activities, over the past year.
“They looked at what I was involved in at school, as well as my grades and other things I did outside of school,” said Barajas.
To give an idea of what the organization took into consideration when naming him as Boy Scout of the Year for the Greater Yosemite Council, Barajas provided a number of examples, including his time interning for Congressional candidate Michael Eggman and his service as THS’ Associated Student Body treasurer.
Now at 18 years old, Barajas’ involvement with the Boy Scouts of America began when he was a Cub Scout nearly 10 years ago.
“I saw a flyer that my school had passed out to join Cub Scouts, which is the beginning of Boy Scouts,” said Barajas. “I showed my parents and I really wanted to join because it looked like so much fun in the pictures.”
Barajas reported that it did not take long for him to get “hooked” with the organization as he quickly made his way towards the highest rank within the program, the Arrow of Light Award, which prepared Cub Scouts to become Boy Scouts.
“When you are in Cub Scouts, it’s more like they hold your hand and you’re not expected to do as much on your own,” said Barajas, “but when you’re in Boy Scouts, you are basically on your own and have to earn your own merit badges.”
Once he officially advanced into the Boy Scouts of America organization, he quickly aimed his sights on becoming an Eagle Scout.
To earn this achievement, he had to progress through a number of ranks, earn 21 merit badges, serve six months in a troop leadership position, take part in a Scoutmaster conference, and successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
However, Barajas looks back at the service project requirement necessary for becoming an Eagle Scout as his biggest challenge.
“For that, I had to plan and organize my own project that benefitted the community,” said Barajas. “I went to Crowell Elementary School for my project and repainted all of the line around the doors, parking bumpers, benches, and poles”
Although Barajas was saddened to reveal that his time as a Boy Scout is coming, his involvement in the organization is far from over.
“My next plan is to help my brother because I know he will need help,” said Barajas. “He is still working on merit badges and I have done the ones he needs so I’m helping him fill out forms and packets.”
“Right now, helping my brother is my main goal,” said Barajas.