Ana Garcia is not only one of the first girls to join the Boy Scouts of America’s early adopter program, but also one of the only Latina girls to break this barrier. When the Boy Scouts of America announced its decision to allow girls into their main program and welcomed involved families to register their daughters as a part of an early adopter program, Celina Matabuena de Garcia did not hesitate to enroll Ana.
“I grew up being a scout,” explains Matabuena de Garcia. “So when Boy Scouts of America announced that they decided to better serve families by welcoming girls to join the Cub Scout program, it was a no brainer for me. I want to provide her with the same opportunities that my son had been able to have through Boy Scouts of America.”
For Ana the experience has meant the opportunity to engage in the same ways that her brother, who she credits as her biggest role model, has been able to in the Scouts.
“When my mom told me that girls were allowed to join Boy Scouts, I asked my dad if he could be my den leader,” shares Ana. “He said yes and a few days later, we went to buy all our uniforms together. He got his full uniform.”
The opportunity that Ana had to join the Scouts in this way led her to take on a bigger leadership role in encouraging her family to participate as a unit in Scout activities. To have her father involved in the process is a feat that Ana is very proud of.
“Ana is making an influence in her family without even realizing it, and we know she will have a greater impact in the community, in other little girls and boys,” shares Matabuena de Garcia.
Below Matabuena de Garcia and Ana share why this experience has been so formative for their lives, what leadership lessons they’ve taken from this, and what their hopes are for all the girls who chose to join the Scouts.
Vivian Nunez: How significant is it for you both that Ana’s participation in the cub scouts is not only significant because she is a girl but because she is also Latina?
Celina Matabuena de Garcia: As a mother, we all want to provide our children different opportunities where they can grow as well rounded individuals. I knew the Scouting program is a great avenue to help her become a leader. As a Latina girl in Cub Scouts, I believe she can be a good role model to others. I believe she can achieve anything she sets her heart and mind on.
Ana Garcia: It’s fun that I get to be a Cub Scout like my brother. I also think it’s fun that I’m one of the first girls in the whole country that get to be in a troop next year. I think it’s brave because we are the first to do it.
Nunez: How important is it for Ana to bring her Latina culture to the Boy Scouts?
Matabuena de Garcia: My hope is that other families will see our experience in Boy Scouts of America and feel encouraged to join. Boy Scouts of America is for all families of all backgrounds. There are many aspects of being Latina that I think enrich my daughter’s life and overall experiences. As a Latina, I also think she influences other girls and families in Cub and Boy Scouts. We know Ana is paving the way for her generation and setting an example for other Latina girls and families to get involved.
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