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  • Hispanic Scouts

    In another thread, Kudu writes:

    If the CSE meets his 2010 goal to recruit 100,000 Hispanics who hate camping, Wood Badge will simply switch its office manager metaphors from office "leadership" to business sports metaphors like Denis Waitley's "Course in Winning."
    I have seen Kudu's link to the video of the CSE actually making a statement to this effect. That statement bothers me. Do hispanics really hate camping? There isn't much of a hispanic population in my area, so I don't have a good basis to form an opinion. I have seen more than a handful of Hispanic youth from other units in our council, and they seem to be enjoying themselves at district and council events.
    I tried to look into this more. The USSSP site has links to scouting sites from around the world, and I looked at a sampling of them from latin american countries. Most of them are in Spanish, and there is very little left of my spotty, high school Spanish skills, so most of my observations come from looking at photos and videos. I saw lots of pictures of youth (male and female) camping and doing other traditional scouting outdoor activities. I saw pictures of camps that would make most of our boys jealous. I couldn't find a single picture of a latin american scout playing soccer.
    So what gives? Do hispanics in the US have a fundatmentally different view of camping and the outdoors than those in their native countries? Is there some other cultural difference that makes BSA unattractive to hispanics, and Mazzuca is just using this as an excuse? Or is he just wrong and maybe we should just be making more effort to make them feel welcome in our traditional units?

  • #2
    That's just ridiculous excuse-making in my opinion. There could be a cultural reason, but it has nothing to do with camping. I have spent most of my life in Texas and New Mexico--two places with a very, very high Hispanic population. Camping and other outdoor pursuits are done just as regularly amongst Hispanics as in other American cultures. Long weekends (year around in those climates) were a time for going to the lake, the river or other favorite camping area amongst Hispanics.

    The only thing that comes to mind is Scouting itself may not be popular amongst Hispanics, especially at the troop level. From what I observed growing up, most Hispanic cultures down south have very tight family units and camping is considered a family pursuit, not something you do with an organization that splits the teen boys from the parents during a campout. But seriously, the same things that appeal to an Hispanic boy are the same things that appeal to any American boy--adventure, Sports, video games.


    • #3
      As a military brat many years ago, I had the privilege of attending scouting events in Panama and Arizona. Scouts and Scouters from both Mexico and Panama impressed me greatly.

      Can't speak for any community, but I think there are common root causes that deter folks from joining the BSA, regardless of ethnic background: financing and programming.

      Financially, scouting in America seems targeted towards the upper middle class family. Examples: Expensive, tacky uniforms and the emphasis on "gucci" camping gear.

      As for programming, adventure is often missing. Sedentary, predictable, and comfortable seem to be the desired outcomes for many scouting events I've seen over the last few years.


      • #4
        Funny you should mention...

        I have recently begun commishing a new Troop and Pack chartered to an evangelical Hispanic based church. The youth minister is so gung-ho it is frightening. But he and I have alot of the same problems that other units have. There is a small core of adults who want their boys to be Scouts ("a good gang to belong to!"), but have NO experience with Scouting and are "afraid we'll do it wrong". So we have some Scout leaders on the charter in name only. Yes they are getting trained, but... see below for membership problems.
        The boys who come regularly have hands off parents, who have limited english (and I have limited spanish), but they devour the Scout stuff I present, and the adults who are there practice the knots and flag folding right along with the boys.
        The church provides the Scout manuals and uniform shirts. I have arranged for other Scouters to come and talk/teach about camping and equipment. We are going to borrow some tents from another Troop and are working to attend the District Camporee in a month.
        Do the boys want to go camping? Absolutely. Do the families go camping? Not many if any in this group.
        Another problem, which one of the church leaders has been very open to me about. Not all the parents are "legals" (and I haven't asked who). So, not everyone has a valid SSN. Therefore, no Scouter registration. Therefore, no MYSCOUTING account, no training.
        This limits the people that can sign up to be committee folks, treasurer, etc.
        Soccer? Nope. The boys I deal with are academic types, Redskin fans, and tv-aholics. Nary a Foosballer among them.
        Is it worth while? Absolutely, but I have reminded them that I cannot be their Cubmaster/Scoutmaster. Ultimately, they must find those from among their own numbers.

        I agree with the previous evaluations of Mr. Mazucca's remarks. He does Scoouting no favor by trying to change it's focus to please a wrongly perceived clientile.


        • #5
          You do not need to be a registered Scouter to have a MyScouting account. I signed up to take some of the training before I decided to become active again. Once I was registered, I added my new membership number and everything in my training records is up-to-date.

          We have a significant number of Hispanic Scouts here in our area. I sure see a lot of them camping. In fact, why not ask Tico Perez his take on that matter? He was a Scout here -- and loves camping.

          And -- let's all remember the lessons of the 1972 "no outing in scouting" program ... we don't need to go down that path once more.(This message has been edited by UCEagle72)


          • #6

            In fact, why not ask Tico Perez his take on that matter?
            I forgot about Mr. Perez. I wonder if our National Commissioner agrees with the message Mr. Mazzuca is sending?