The Boy Scouts of America is known to be one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based organizations for young boys over the course of a century, and has helped build education and humility through their participants by combining hand-on activities with responsibility.
And though the Boy Scouts of America is about helping to form the next generation of young men, it is often the women who play an active role in their achievements.
Turlock native and Webelos Den Leader Elean Barajas was awarded the District Award of Merit, the highest award given to an adult Scout leader at the District level by the Boy Scouts of America.
“Firstly, I would like to congratulate each one of the individuals for the services they’ve done for scouting,” said District Chairman Onis C. Lentz. “Without these services, scouting would not be viable and the youth would not be receiving the program of values and training instilled in them. It is up to these individuals to help promote these endeavors. Elean has the highest merit in all these areas.”
The mother of two was first introduced to the Boy Scouts organization when she attended a Cub Scout meeting with other mothers to register her first born son. From there, she became acquainted with the community, and steadily followed their leadership until procuring the position of Den Mother, an honorary role for women.
Barajas attributes her success to working with at-risk students at the Center for Human Services under the Turlock Unified School District, where her duties are similar to that of a counselor and caretaker.
She possesses all the skills necessary to teach motivation, leadership and ethics to the next generation. Now, she is in the midst of watching her oldest son transform from a Boy Scout into an Eagle Scout while she carefully watches over her second born as Webelos Den Leader of Pack 21.
“It has been a journey, and I’ve loved every second of it,” said Barajas. “Just being involved is a big deal. I want to be a role model for the kids.”
Barajas was nominated for District Award of Merit due to her participation as the District Pop Corn Chair and New Cub Scout Soccer Program chair since 2005. The den’s newest project is becoming involved with cleaning graffiti from city streets through the Love Turlock program.
She said scouting has given her a chance to meet new friends, new people, and branch into the community. Barajas said she is also overjoyed to be in what is traditionally considered a man’s role.
“I actually really love being a woman teaching boys. There are a lot of male figures but having a touch of feminism is a good thing,” said Barajas. “The kids don’t even seem to notice, and the parents don’t mind. It is neat to show up around town, in the grocery store wearing my uniform. When people see me, they say ‘What?’ They’re floored.”
Barajas, along with other regional Boy Scout representatives, will be presented her award at the Rio Del Oro District Awards Night on May 4.