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StanF

Integrated Hispanic/Anglo Troop

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Has anyone successfully integrated a troop composed of middle-class Anglo boys and low-income Hispanic boys? The cultural difference is incredible. Most of the Hispanic boys have no fathers at home. Any ideas on how to make it work?

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I imagine I will be facing that very problem soon, since our churh (where I will be starting a new troop in the fall) is in the middle of a very hispanic neighborhood. We have services in both english and spanish already.

 

I see it as a good challenge, especially since I got a lot of "male role modeling" from Scouts when I grew up with a largely absent father.

 

I would be interested in what you find out. Feel free to email me at andrews@rbacomm.com.

 

Brad

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Stan, being from the other side of the world I may be a bit off track here so bare with me pls.

 

I would think you need Hispanic and Anglo Assistant leaders. There may be a way of recruiting Hispanic leaders from other paid and unpaid community organisations. As there sounds like there is a need other orgs may be very helpful.

 

The USA way of having boys in patrols according to age may or may not be useful. I've tried both methods here for different reasons and both work yet one is usually more suitable for given circumstances. I encourage you to think 'outside the square' rather than following what is normal elsewhere.

 

I would think that the boys need to meet each others families to gain a greater understanding of the others culture. Whatever you arrange would need to be a routine thing rather than a one-off. They need to understand and accept each others differences and that takes time.

 

Family camps may or may not work very well. Adults often have more hang-ups than kids. Also if there are not many Hispanic dads the mothers may be reticent to attend. Due to stereotyping women often feel less competant camping and being single mum's (mom's) the degree of uncertainty may be large. On the other hand there are probably uncles and other men in the Hispanic boys lives. They may get involved if the invitations are very open. The mum's might tell you who to invite along.

 

I take it that you are of Anglo origin. Are there Hispanic Troops somewhere near enough that you could visit a few times? You may find ideas that you can use to make your programme multicultural. There may be Girl Scout, sporting or other clubs that are Hipsanic or mixed and you should learn good and not-so-good things from them.

 

The Troop also needs to bond together with things in common. Camping and some adversity may work to this end. They get to know each other based on the individuals merits this way. Camping, paddling and hiking in less than favourable conditions for instance. Maybe the troop can all do a particular badge ie survival(if you still have it) and therefore they will all wear a badge representing the shared arduous activity. Some recognition of the boys efforts by their own community may be useful for self esteem.

 

Something I've seen here is that focussing the programme on a third culture may allow the boys to work together without either feeling threatened or superior. I've seen it work here with white and Aboringinal kids - they worked on American Indian culture. It was school thing but they all got into it. Maybe that could work for you and the local OA Troop may be able to advise you.

 

If money is a problem so might transport etc. So also might uniform and despite the many other comments I've read recently this is an area where you may need to be creative in order to keep the programme accessible. I imagine the discipline, structure and belonging may be the very reasons the Hipanic mom's encourage their boys to attend. The uniform is part of this. However our Aboriginal people (and most low income earners) are very suspicious of any uniform - icluding McDonalds. They revel in their non-conformity. It is worth doing some research on what will be best for your boys and the program.

 

I am in a low income area and I have to watch the costs. Having said that we are going overseas mid year. The cheapest overseas destination I could find. And we have sold a lot of sausages! Given a years notice familes have saved, and scouts have earned a lot of their own cash. My point is that if there is an expensive program idea then work towards it with lots of notice and fundraising. I'm thinking of summer camp for you.

 

A busy scouting program is probably your best option with lots of energetic fun.

 

Hope this helps.

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Girl Scouts has had some articles online in the last few months about troops for Hispanic girls. When talking to the moms about camping or really anything, realize that their culture treats women differently. From what I understand, women's roles and men's roles are much more defined than middle-class America.

 

The articles are www.girlscouts.org could give you a little info about dealing with the mothers.

 

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Here in South Texas, the Hispanic population outnumbers the Anglo. Our troop is mixed, both racially and income-wise (although the two lines do not cut at the same place). Honestly, I don't see a giant CULTURAL difference but the income difference is pretty big for several Scouts. My son's current troop is all homeschoolers, so that common denominator may level us out more than the race or income issue divides us.

 

I'd echo the advice above: make it fun, make it affordable and/or help the kids who need it find camperships or other help, and watch closely to make sure that any adult prejudices that some parents may have do not rub off on the kids. Kids are kids, regardless of the color.

 

If you are really lucky, and the board will allow me a little stereotyping, you might find that your single-parent Hispanic families actually have a host of uncles, cousins, and brothers that are recruitable. Don't be afraid to tactfully ask if there's any special guys around in your Scouts' lives! Also, the moms may indeed be hard to recruit just because the facts of single parenthood often involve long hours of work with low income - and if there are other children to care for, well, that's even harder - but again, you might be surprised.

 

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Ozemu gave you wonderful advice. As a former pre-school teacher of 13 years I agree with the multicultural agenda. This idea can bring so much fun and understanding to your troop. Having the boys learn about several new cultures takes the focus off the differences in your group. I don't think there is one but there should be a merit badge on multicultural learning. Each culture has various holidays that you could base an entire program on. When the holiday comes up on the calendar there is a myriad of activities that you could do (customs, food & recipes, decorations, songs, dances, storytelling, crafts and even videos etc.) You can get ideas from any school, library or teacher store and of course online. Perhaps you could speak with local Spanish teachers and explain your goals. They should have lots of ideas and maybe would accept an invite to a troop meeting.

 

Another thought on uniforms - perhaps until your troop and the families aquire Class A uniforms you could allow a simple inexpensive Class B

t-shirt temporarily. Your local council or camp may have leftovers from previous camp years at a cheaper price. (Ours is always selling prior year t-shirts) A Class B and a scout cap shows uniformity as much as a Class A.

 

Hope that helps, good luck to you. You have a great challenge before you.

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