Local scouts get lesson

Courtesy Photo Above, Den 19 (L-R) Alexander Cuevas, Billy Williams, Jacob Rodriquez, Drew Hatakeyama, Nam Vu, Assembly member Janet Nguyen, Carter Davis, Junior Mendoza, Leo Tsai, Jack Deneen, Avi Verma and Jonah Simmons receiving their Certificates of Recognition.

A local pack of scouts met with a state politician this week and came away with much more than a new badge for their uniforms.

Assembly member and former state Senator Janet Nguyen met with Weaver Scouts Den 19 of pack 667 this week, hoping to earn a new badge, said Matt Simmons, the dad of one of the scouts who arranged the meeting.

According to Simmons, Assemblymember Janet Nguyen, whom he said was the first Vietnamese American Senator, met with the Weaver Scouts Den 19 of pack 667 this Sunday morning at Rush Park.

Jonah Simmons is pictured with Assembly member.Janet Nguyen.
Courtesy photo

“She helped them achieve their Build a Better World requirement for the Arrow of Light Badge. This requirement involves ‘Meeting a government or community leader and learning about his or her role in your community,’” he said.

“Nguyen’s speech was very inspirational,” he said.

Simmons said Nguyen told the scouts that her family escaped from communism when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese.

“Her family left in secrecy and left all of their belongings behind so as to not arouse suspicion,” he said. “Her family came to America with practically nothing, her family pushed education, she went to UCI, she was originally set on being a doctor, but decided to help others by running for office,” he added.

“She told the scouts that the sky is the limit, to aim high, believe in yourself, and be nice to everyone around you,” said Simmons in an email statement.

“She represents nearly one million people,” he said, “so it was quite a treat for the scouts to have an intimate discussion and be able to ask her questions. In one of her elections, she won by three votes, so she told all of the scouts that when they turn 18, they have to vote. It doesn’t matter who they vote for, what matters is getting out and voting so their voice can be heard.”

Nguyen shared that her husband is an Eagle Scout and it meant a lot to her to help inspire others.

“A neat part about the event was that it was apolitical,” said Simmons.

He said the scouts asked numerous questions, but they were all focused in leadership, motivation, and character. They asked her what her favorite part of her job was, the toughest part, and what inspired her to be a leader. She said the toughest part of the job was being away from her family as she often goes to Sacramento four days out of the week.