TRCF honoree: Fatherhood, scouting go hand in hand for Dorvinen

Mike Dorvinen is one of five people being honored Oct. 27 by the Three Rivers Community Foundation. The other honorees are:

•Linda Lee

•Denny Chuba

•Kathleen Poate

•Laurie Kerr

by Jim Boyle
Mike Dorvinen grew up in a family of scouts, and he decided very early on as a father that he would  bring up any boys he and his wife had in the ways of scouting.
The benefactor of that has been, of course, his sons, Aaron, Adam and Ty.

Mike Dorvinen comes from a family of scouting and he vowed to continue the tradition when he became a father of three boys.

But the community of Otsego has also been a benefactor. And not just because Dorvinen’s oldest boy’s Eagle Scout project will provide a landscaped backdrop for the city’s new splash park for years to come.
More so because Dorvinen’s leadership has provided a backdrop not only for his boys but for the community, to reach the next generation of leaders.
He has helped plug scouting into the schools and the community, giving it a profile that helps feed a program with a 101-year track record.
For his efforts he was named Cubmaster of the Year by the Central Minnesota Council of Boy Scouts. This Thursday he will receive an award for his leadership from the Three Rivers Community Foundation.
If you ask him about the latest award, he will downplay it and credit the support team he has at home and in the community for any success the local program has had.
He says there’s a team of people he can count on to step up in a moment’s notice, making it foolish to cast the spotlight on him. Otsego Mayor Jessica Stockamp says that’s just one more reason he’s deserving of the award.
She has nominated him for the award more than once. She says to meet him and his family and see the way they are raising the boys in the right direction, families with young boys can’t help but be drawn to the program. She said he has become a go-to person in the community. If it’s not a Cub Scout pack or Boy Scout  that responds to a community need, Dorvinen knows of someone or someway to turn to to get things done.
Under Dorvinen’s leadership, scouts are involved in the community’s annual Otsego Festival as well as the Easter egg hunt and pumpkin patch. They’re also a part of Otsego Elementary School’s Veterans Day programming.
Otsego Cub Scouts are exposed to camping, geocaching in Prairie Park, ice fishing, the Pinewood Derby and rocketry, to name a few.
But more than that they are taught core values that can stick with the youth for a lifetime, Dorvinen says.
“I like that kids learn that it’s OK to expand their horizons — in a fun and safe environment,” he said.
For Dorvinen scouting is simply a family tradition. The Otsego man’s mother was a den leader. His father, who had been introduced to scouting by his father, was an assistant cubmaster.
With their support and guidance he and his two older brothers continued way past the rank of Webelos as Cub Scouts and achieved Eagle Scout honors as Boy Scouts.
He had every intention of passing the torch to any boys he had.
His wife, Kari, having had brothers who were scouts, required little convincing about its merits. Any doubts about the advantages scouts had in life were erased on a plane ride when a college recruiter explained the status heaped upon Eagle Scouts. Similarly, Dorvinen said, military recruiters look quite favorably upon Eagle Scouts, too.
Despite the fact that only four out of 100 boys in the United States will become scouts, three out of four of the business, religious and political leaders were scouts.
Another interesting fact is that although only 4 percent of youth in the United States become scouts, 65 percent of all college and university graduates were scouts.