WESTERN HILLS – One morning every year, for the last 27 years, the West Side of Cincinnati has been celebrating its love of sports with breakfast. The annual West Side Sports Breakfast has a greater mission than simply celebrating athletics or early-morning delicacies — the money raised goes entirely to the Boys Scouts of America, specifically the William Henry Harrison District.
This year, on April 15 at Receptions on Westbourne, the breakfast will feature Cincinnati Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini as guest speaker and St. Xavier graduate and former NFL player Rocky Boiman will host.
Local attorney Andy Patton created the breakfast as a way to help support not only the Boy Scouts but the community. When Mike LaRosa, the CEO of LaRosa’s, was approached 27 years ago with the idea, he was eager for the opportunity to help “develop young leaders” through Scouting. LaRosa said the first breakfast was held in the wine cellar at its restaurant on Boudinot Avenue.
“At the end of the day, we’re developing young men to become leaders,” said LaRosa, who organized and heads up a volunteer committee which meets once a month to handle the planning of the breakfast. “I don’t mind spending time doing this sort of thing — I know the effectiveness Scouting has on the community and young men. As an employer, (Boy Scouts) stand out in the crowd. They’re cream-of-the-crop individuals who like responsibility and taking on a leadership role.”
David Evans, a Dan Beard Council district executive, said part of what makes this a great event is creating a connection between local business and community leaders that share an interest in sports as well as support local scouting.
The funds raised directly benefit more than 2,300 youth in the scouting program that reside in just the West Side, said Travis McCormick, a former Eagle Scout and now a Dan Beard Council district director who graduated from Harrison High School.
“What we do is to help kids. The mission of the Boy Scouts is to make the moral and ethical choices,” McCormick said. “The sports breakfast is really neat because so many of those key elements we teach in scouting, they also teach in sports.”
These days, McCormick said the boy scouts are as important as they’ve ever been. Kids spend their days indoors staring motionless at screens, when as Scouts they’re outside building communication skills, and challenging themselves physically and mentally.
A troop of local Scouts helps kick off every breakfast.
“As long as I’m able, I’m going to be on the sidelines supporting this,” said LaRosa. “I think it provides a layer of hope. Sometimes we’re exposed to the bad news…at the event, you see these young people and you look into their eyes, and you realize there is hope in the world.”
For information on attending the breakfast, table sponsorships and individual seats are available by contacting Travis McCormick (513) 518-4801 or email@example.com