There is no more Boy Scouts program in Delano, reports Mike Gutierrez, who has been the scoutmaster for the past two years.

The local scout program is believed to have started in the 1940s with Allie Hiett, one of the longtime leaders when the program was associated with the First United Methodist Church.

Gutierrez said he believes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took over the program in the early 1970s, but he said the church decided two years ago to go in a different direction and to stop sponsorship in 2020.

Despite many inquiries in the community to organizations that might be interested in taking over the sponsorship, Gutierrez said he could not find a replacement sponsor.

“It’s not a question of money to sponsor,” he said, “but there is a great deal of work and oversight that is required and committee work that must be completed. We have a great many individuals and groups in this community who do a great job with projects and groups, but they are all swamped and could not make the required commitment.”

“It will be missed,” Gutierrez said of the scout program. He said that many boys had reached out to him and said they would miss the activity. There are constant outdoor activities, he said, where boys work in groups and must be active in their participation. Life skills, leadership, teamwork, integrity, initiative and morals are only a part of what is taught through the scouts.

The media has focused on problems of the scouts in recent years due to scoutmaster scandals. Gutierrez said that there may be just a few “bad apples,” but said that each sponsoring unit must process scoutmaster candidates and train them before they are allowed to take their positions.

The “new direction” of the LDS church has been to direct boys and girls into a worldwide growth program, something the church has favored since it involves boys and girls. Being in the group does not require that youngsters be a member of the church.

Gutierrez said that anyone interested in the new organization could contact him or the church. He also did not rule out the possibility that some organization might at some time reactivate the Boy Scouts in Delano.

°°°

Delano High’s cheerleading “year” came to a halt in mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic stopped all school activities. The squad, chosen Feb. 15, had already taken part in a candy sale as well as popcorn and cookie dough fundraisers when the stoppage came.

More than a dozen fundraisers and activities, such as a one-day instructional clinic and three-day instructional summer camp, have all been “lost.” The group hopes to be able to finish the sale of advertising — started during winter break — and to publish a Harvest Holidays souvenir program for the early October “virtual” celebration this fall. The 26-member squad, coached by Carmina Reyes until July 1, when English teacher Sharena Gonder takes over, has missed out on fundraisers which earn more than $15,000 annually.

Captain of the new squad, which has 26 members — 12 who cheered the past year and 14 new members — is senior Britzenia Reyes. Stormie Kates is co-captain with other varsity members being Chris Barrios, Alyssa Medrano, Jessica Beltran, Cassandra Ceballos, Guadalupe Carrillo, Ashley Cardenas, Savannah Gutierrez, Robyn Urbano, Isabella Montes, Nevaeh Minel and Makayla Olivera.

Forming the JV squad are Marissa Enriquez, Sophia Lira, Ally Herrera, Jennifer Nunez, Sydney Franco, Yamilex Quiroz, Jacqueline Ceja, Samanta Perez, Dafne Diaz, Giselle Mejia, Julyssa Tarango, Elexis Solis and Pricilla Arambula.

Reyes reported she has sent squad members many cheer videos by email to learn material that was provided by the United Spirit Association. The cheer squad has also been taught fall cheers through their cellphones. They have not yet received an OK to resume practice.

°°°

One of the retiring educators who missed out on her colleagues and students giving her a proper “goodbye” is Karen Prather of the Delano Union School District. She has had 41 years in education, starting at Richgrove in 1979, and followed by teaching preschool at Little Folks, Luv N Care and later Delano High School, before she started at Del Vista School in 1993. She has spent the last 27 years in the district.

The memories she has include all the fun events at the school, including multicultural days, harvest days, Father’s Day outings, Mother’s Day teas and drive-in theaters. She estimates that she taught nearly 2,000 youngsters during her teaching days. She said she “loved” all the days in her classroom.

Karen says she will miss the interaction with the kids and parents and all the fun activities at school.

“I’ll also miss how the kids used to light up when they learned something new,” she added. Whether she remains a Delano resident is “still up in the air,” she declared when contacted by phone.

Reading and traveling are at the top of her list for retirement years. She may be able to spend more time with daughter, Alyson, a Delano High class of 1995 grad, who now runs an out-patient health clinic in San Diego, and son Brock, a Delano High class of 1994 grad, who works with a school district in Southern California.

°°°

When I got a call that the security company was sending someone to update my system, I was curious who would arrive. It turned out to be 2014 Delano High graduate Brian Gorospe. He said I had substitute taught in many of his classes. I have talked to his dad, George, during the years he had coached football in Delano. His mom, Valerie, I know as a freshman English student of mine at Delano High.

Brian also reported to me that his classmate, Christian Reyna, had just finished “hell week” for the Navy SEALs.

°°°

I owe a big thanks to Cheryl Brunk Bird, Delano High class of 1965 grad, who recently notified me that the class’ reunion, its 55th, has been postponed and the new date is April 17, 2021.

Along with the note was a long list of “lost” graduates and more than 50 class members who are deceased. She added a special note that she had recently lost contact with Danny Evans, Tom Dawson, Ron Gendron, Rose Marie Garcia Dailey, Dorothy Horn Miller, Maggie Sapien Bravo, Linda Walker Venable, Bill Whittaker, Veda Giordano Brown and Becky Mayberry Gregory.

Anyone with information on the “lost” graduates may email her at pates1@sbeglobal.net or call 559-224-6969.

°°°

I was interested to see in a recent Record a note — I think it was in the David Vivas column — that partially retired educator and all-everything Arnold Morrison and Cesar Chavez junior Fernando Sanchez had played “Taps” the afternoon of Memorial Day at the North Kern District Cemetery.

Just the day before Memorial Day, I had received a call from Bobby Hernandez, a longtime leader in the local VFW, who inquired if possibly the flag would be lowered or some other recognition might take place at Memorial Day. It’s too late for me to tell him now, but I wonder if something is planned for Fourth of July.

°°°

The usual big event in Delano during July is Philippine Weekend. But back in May, I learned from PW chairperson Delilah Mascarinas that because of the coronavirus, this year’s PW would not take place — at least not the last weekend of July as in past years.

She said that way back in late winter at a PW meeting, it had been determined that there would be no parade this year, but she said there was some speculation about whether PW could take place possibly in late October.

If all these annual events can resume in 2021, can the events still carry the word “annual,” even though they were dormant for one year?

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