LeAP Builds Character and Honor at the University of Denver’s Lincoln Park Bridge Project

The Denver Area Council (DAC) Leadership Assistance Program (LeAP) was launched in 2012, bringing the Boy Scout program to youth in the Denver metro area who are affected by economic and social issues. Participating communities include Denver, Westminster, Thornton, Lakewood, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Sheridan, Idaho Springs, Commerce City, and Aurora. Today LeAP partners with 98 schools, churches and community organizations and includes over 2,000 young people.   Part of the 98 programs include 12 special needs and 1 incarcerated unit. The leadership Assistance Program serves youth 6 to 20-year-old youth. LeAP does Cub Scouts for boys 6 to 10 1/2, Boy Scout 11 to 18, and Venturing for boys and girls 14 to 20. The leadership Assistant Program has three full-time Professional and 27 part-time Program Aides.

Many LeAP participants come from families that are struggling to make ends meet and are often identified as At-Risk youth. LeAP participants benefit from a structured, after-school or community center based programs which offers a safe space and engaging activities for one hour a week. The Denver Area Council (DAC) hires and trains adult leaders to provide Scouting program. LeAP Program Aides deliver the scouting program which instills the Boy Scout Oath, Law and is building good character traits. LeAP delivers a tradition scouting program in a modified version.  Each Scout earns advancement.

The Bridge Project was created in 1991. It began as a collaboration between community representatives and the Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver’s faculty members. The mission of the Bridge Project is to provide a path for youth living in Denver’s public housing neighborhoods to graduate from high school and attend college or choose a vocation. Young people are presented with unique educational opportunities and encouraged to develop life skills as well as self-sufficiency. The Program’s three components include distinct opportunities for children, youth and parents. With over 25 years of service to the Denver community, the Bridge Project has positively impacted over 10,000 students.

Sergio Colmenero, Lincoln Park Bridge Project Site Director, remembers growing up in some of Denver’s public housing neighborhoods. Back in those days, after-school programs were virtually non-existent. In 1999, he began working for the Project as a summer camp coordinator. Throughout the years, he has served in various leadership capacities which include being Scoutmaster for the Program’s four sites.

The Denver Area Council and Sergio have worked together on establishing the Boy Scout program at Lincoln Park. The Council finances 100% of the programs’ costs. “Boy Scout activities help young people build character and encourage them to give back to their community,” says Sergio. He sees how the lessons learned impact their decisions. “We’ve had some fundraisers where the boys and girls want to give the money to the poor instead of keeping it for themselves.”

LeAP provides activities the for-Scouting family, LeAP has six all city pack meetings which includes the parents and sibling. LeAP’s summer activities include camp outs for older youth, Day Camp for the Cub Scouts, and Family Camp for all LeAP participants and their family. LeAP’s special needs units attended Learning for Life Special Needs Adventure Day at Sloan’s Lake and a Fishing Derby at Cherry Creek Lake State Park.

For more information about this program, contact Bob Williams

720.266.2136 |  bob.williams@scouting.org

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