2017-08-17 / Inside Education

Merced Explorers help Greeley Hill through food and supply donations

By MATT JOHNSON
Sports/Education Editor


Merced County Explorer Carmen Covarrubias, 15, organizes a table of items for those in need in Greeley Hill. Mariposa County SCOPE members were also on hand to greet the Explorers. 
Photo by Matt Johnson Merced County Explorer Carmen Covarrubias, 15, organizes a table of items for those in need in Greeley Hill. Mariposa County SCOPE members were also on hand to greet the Explorers. Photo by Matt Johnson Families and students in the Greeley Hill area received a boost from some friendly youngsters in Merced County last week.

The Merced County Explorers Program Post 322, under the auspices of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, delivered a trailer and two trucks full of grocery items and school supplies to give a boost to the community after the devastation of the Detwiler Fire.

In total, about $2,500 worth of school supplies were donated.

The Explorers is a program for young men and women ages 13-21. It is an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America, and in this instance, falls under the leadership of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.

Exploring’s purpose is to provide experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults.

“We’re part of Boy Scouts, but it’s learning for life through Boy Scouts,” said Joey Cardenas, deputy sheriff and Explorer group advisor.

The event wouldn’t have happened without the efforts of Mariposa County Unified School District Superintendent Robin Hopper.

Hopper has a friend from her years spent in education in Livingston. That friend called Hopper when the fire broke out. Hopper said the friend had several questions about how the community was doing. The friend also had a niece who had connections to the Merced County Explorers. That niece helped organize the connection between the school district and the Explorers. She also works at Kohl’s, which donated shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste and deodorant.

“When tragedies happen, friends reach out,” Hopper said.

The Explorers from Merced heard about the need of their neighbors in Mariposa County through that “grapevine” and decided to do something to help.

“Every summer we go camping,” Cardenas said. “This summer we were going to go camping at Camp Pacifica, right on the Mariposa Madera County line. We had that all set up. About a week before our camping trip, the fire broke out.”

The group canceled the trip because of the smoke heading that way.

“We decided to do something else,” Cardenas said. “People needed help in Mariposa County, and our Explorer post, at one of our meetings, brought it up.”

The group decided to gather donations of food and use some of their own funding to provide the backpacks. Inside each backpack (a total of 45 backpacks) there were school supplies.

There were special backpacks for the younger grades with stuffed animals in them.

“They were absolutely adorable,” said Greeley Hill principal Tracie Baughn.

“We knew school was going to start quick, so we thought maybe this might take some pressure off of parents trying to get stuff for their kids for school,” Cardenas said. “It shows our kids that it’s about helping other people.”

Cardenas has been the advisor for close to 10 years.

“I enjoy working with the kids and seeing them mature and move on to other things, becoming adults,” said Cardenas.

For more on the Explorers, visit http://bit.ly/2wMPUHF.

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