Honoree: John Lerch
Honored by: Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center
Cause Area: Education
Growing up in Indiana, John experienced first-hand the fun of being a Cub Scout and the leadership skills one develops as a Boy Scout. Moving to California in the 1970’s, John put those Scouting skills to work as a Webelos Den Leader, Assistant Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster, and Assistant Advancement Chairman. In addition to working directly with units, John has been an active member of the Orange County Council Executive Board for 25 years and participated as a Council Advancement Chairman and Council Training Chairman. Since 2009, John has been involved on the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center Advisory Committee and is currently the Chairman. This committee oversees the operation of the 210 acre facility in Orange which provides a comprehensive environmental and STEM experience for primarily 4th, 5th, and 6th grade science classes through three unique camps. The Aerospace and Astronomy Camp has programs that stimulate interest in sciences and technology, and encourage young people’s curiosity about the science and engineering of aviation, astronomy, and space exploration. The Pankey Family Ranch Camp captures the imagination of students through participation in activities of Native Americans, Spanish settlers and Western Ranchers would have done in the 1700’s and 1800’s. This ranch camp also features 200 citrus trees and a working windmill. The Reuben and Mary Lou Casey Mining Camp gives youth a hands-on experience in excavating minerals from the Lucy-Lou mine and a sense of what both the work ethic and excitement of mining in the 1800’s. John’s passion for the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center has helped not only the financial development of this facility but the expansion of the programs that now reach more than 40,000 individuals and students each year from all parts of Orange County. In addition, John chairs the committee that produces Scout-O-Rama every year – a day long Scout extravaganza that showcases all of the skills, fun, and adventure found in Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting to over 15,000 visitors. For his exceptional service and more than 40 years involvement in the Scouting program, John has been awarded the Silver Beaver, the highest award given locally to a volunteer along with being inducted into the James E. West Fellowship.