The Morning News â€” Bob Hudson
Paul Moore of Blackfoot shows off the Vale La Pena! award he received for his longtime support of Hispanic Boy Scouts.
Paul Moore didn't quite understand why area Boy Scouts of America leaders wanted him to attend Saturday's awards presentation at the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center.
"I had seen the program and I wasn't on it," Moore recalled on Monday.
While he may not have been on the program, Moore received a prestigious award â€” one which no one in the Grand Teton Council had received previously.
He received Scouting's Vale La Pena! Service award. It recognizes outstanding service by an adult individual or an organizationfor demonstrated involvement and implementation of Scouting opportunities for Hispanic/Latino youth.
"Paul has worked with youth for a number of years," said Steven Drake, the vice chair over programs in the Blackfoot District. "He has made numerous attempts to invite Hispanic youth to take part in Scouting.
"He has made so many personal sacrifices in behalf of the boys," Drake continued. "Several boys who would never have earned their Eagle have done so under his tutelage.
Paul has made inroads that people in the Council will benefit from for years to come."
Although Scouting exists in Mexico and other Latin nations, it is generally for those whose parents are well-off financially, Moore noted as he discussed his award.
"We need to help the Spanish-speaking parents understand how youth can benefit from Scouting," Moore said.
Moore first became involved with Hispanic youth through Scouting when his sponsoring organization â€” the Blackfoot 14th LDS Ward â€” combined with that of the Grove City LDS Spanish-speaking branch about six years ago.
"The most exceptional thing we've been able to do is ask kids to bring their friends and they do," Moore said.
Drake noted that Moore has participated in 54 of the last 56 campouts conducted by the Blackfoot District, taking Scouts from Troop 209 with him.
"The diversity of our troop allows kids to come in and thrive," he said. "The diversity makes it so much fun.
"Our organization has never looked at these youth as being any different from our own," he added. "We've supported them just like any youth."
"I never expected to receive anything," Moore said of the award. "This is quite a surprise. As leaders we're just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. The successes or rewards for these youth are going to come through the second or third generations."