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Is Scouting Truly Racially Integrated?

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Au contraire, I've seen districts out right creat units where there were none many times. No CO, just a DE trying to create a unit and find parents to run it.

Yep, Circle 10 Council did it in our district.  ScoutReach is the name of the program.  Set up 3 units that meet after school.

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I have great affinity for the Boy Scouts, but, let's be honest, the BSA in an anachronism.  Pioneering, camping, hiking, simply aren't parts of everyday society.  People think their food comes from the grocery store.  When they think "outdoors" they think Survivorman, Bear Grylls, Naked and Afraid, Dual Survival and Fat Guys in the Woods.

 

I live in a rural area but I drive to work in the city every day of the summer listening to the Cook County Forest Preserve advertisements on the radio asking people to come out to the magical forest.  But, most of the city-dwellers I work with aren't interested in more than a summer picnic at a drive-up shelter, or a hike along a crushed-stone path (preferably a boardwalk).  They certainly aren't interested in camping every month and one week every summer.  The folks that know I camp in the winter and have spent a week canoeing or hiking in wilderness areas think I'm insane. 

 

The rural folks I know that are interested in the outdoors aren't interested in the restrictions the BSA places on them or their boys.  By the time these boys are 12 or 13 they've already been doing things like ATVs, snowmobiles and the like.   They hunt with their dads, so plinking .22s at paper targets or shooting single-shot 410s isn't a thrill.  They understand the difference between squirt guns and rifles.  They've been forced to cut their Dad's grass since they were 10.  By the time they are 14 or 15 they're driving tractors and trucks.

 

It's not like the BSA hasn't tried, as already mentioned we had the Improved Scouting Program of the 70s and Scoutreach.  We also have LfL, Soccer and Scouting, and now STEMscouts. 

 

But, by all means, let's keep blaming churches for all the ills of scouting rather than looking at the actual program issues.  Sigh.

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The rural folks I know that are interested in the outdoors aren't interested in the restrictions the BSA places on them or their boys.  By the time these boys are 12 or 13 they've already been doing things like ATVs, snowmobiles and the like.   They hunt with their dads, so plinking .22s at paper targets or shooting single-shot 410s isn't a thrill.  They understand the difference between squirt guns and rifles.  They've been forced to cut their Dad's grass since they were 10.  By the time they are 14 or 15 they're driving tractors and trucks.

 

 

...or have gutted (insert animal here) by the time they were 8 years-old.

 

I am in an area you mention above. We have to amp up what we do to keep these kids' interest. We give them a ton of autonomy and they respond.

 

My cousin is in an urban area (near @@KenD500 actually) and they have HUGE issues keeping kids' attention. Not because the kids don't want to go outdoors, but rather the parents have them subscribed to SOOOOOO many things the kids don't have time to breathe. From what he tells me, schools make all sorts of things mandatory (e.g., band, orchestra, choir, after school "tutorials", etc.). Add to that all the other things (religious school, sports, family, etc.) and Boy Scouts is just one of many events in the kids' daily schedule.

 

To bring this back to the OP, in his area, there are many Asian cultures (large IT organizations HQ'd there). As he tells it, many of the Indian, Chinese and Korean kids have schedules that would make Bill Gates blush. Add to that the language barrier in some of the Asian cultures (slow uptake from Chinese by first generation), the need for many of these cultures to take care of older adults (e.g. grand parents), or suspicion of anything that smacks of military-style groups.

 

Ironically, my cousins district had a "how to recruit Asian people" event at a RT. The speaker talked about WHY units should do this, but not HOW. The last slide? "Recruit Asians now" ;) Not how to, but just do it. The problem is, if you look like an all-[insert color here] unit, how do you get color in your unit? THAT, to me, is what BSA needs to help leaders with.

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When I go to scout camp and other activities they are predominantly white kids. Yet I have seen some all black troops also. What gives?

 

The only thing I can figure out is most scout troops are run by churches and those tend to be racially segregated

 

Our troop has several African-American kids. We have had Asian kids in the past, but we are predominantly white.  Scouting is a relatively white activity. 

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We have had a mix of native, European, Asian, Sub-Asian and African in my troops.  We are a particularly diverse population, but in most cases, the parents were of mixed origin so I'm thinking the European parent may have initiated the boy into scouting.  I can't say for sure.  None of the boys ever moved on to Eagle.

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Around here (Memphis area) we get a lot to show up and sign up, then at the Parent Orientation when you explain BSA doesn't stand for BabySitters of America and they have to attend as well then you don't see them anymore.

Edited by JasonG172
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Around here (Memphis area) we get a lot to show up and sign up, then at the Parent Orientation when you explain BSA doesn't stand for BabySitters of America and they have to attend as well then you don't see them anymore.

 

Curious....is that *all* parents you see do that? Or parents of "color" doing that?

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I have great affinity for the Boy Scouts, but, let's be honest, the BSA in an anachronism.  Pioneering, camping, hiking, simply aren't parts of everyday society.  People think their food comes from the grocery store.  When they think "outdoors" they think Survivorman, Bear Grylls, Naked and Afraid, Dual Survival and Fat Guys in the Woods.

 

I live in a rural area but I drive to work in the city every day of the summer listening to the Cook County Forest Preserve advertisements on the radio asking people to come out to the magical forest.  But, most of the city-dwellers I work with aren't interested in more than a summer picnic at a drive-up shelter, or a hike along a crushed-stone path (preferably a boardwalk).  They certainly aren't interested in camping every month and one week every summer.  The folks that know I camp in the winter and have spent a week canoeing or hiking in wilderness areas think I'm insane. 

 

The rural folks I know that are interested in the outdoors aren't interested in the restrictions the BSA places on them or their boys.  By the time these boys are 12 or 13 they've already been doing things like ATVs, snowmobiles and the like.   They hunt with their dads, so plinking .22s at paper targets or shooting single-shot 410s isn't a thrill.  They understand the difference between squirt guns and rifles.  They've been forced to cut their Dad's grass since they were 10.  By the time they are 14 or 15 they're driving tractors and trucks.

 

It's not like the BSA hasn't tried, as already mentioned we had the Improved Scouting Program of the 70s and Scoutreach.  We also have LfL, Soccer and Scouting, and now STEMscouts. 

 

But, by all means, let's keep blaming churches for all the ills of scouting rather than looking at the actual program issues.  Sigh.

 

BSA has been an anachronism from its founding.  I don't know why people think it was ever anything but an anachronism.  BSA didn't create an outdoor program to piggyback on something that was already popular (though returning to nature was on a lot of minds), they created a reactionary program that turned back to the outdoors to combat the effects of urbanization and industrialization.  Scouting was never meant for rural kids, it was created for shiftless city boys, war orphans, and upper class kids looking for a way to maintain their manliness and morality against the weakening effects of early 20th century life: moral decay, physical weakness, etc.

 

People who think that BSA is failing because camping isn't popular don't understand what BSA is.  Its focus on something that is anachronistic is the point.

 

We have had great success in the Indian community. We focused on the outdoor and the educational aspects of scouts, along with the leadership development. We walk the families through the program and how it works, avoiding the usual BSA speak. The key we found was to recruit one kid and then more will follow.

I've seen a few DC-area troops with large numbers of either Indian or Pakistani kids, like, 1:1 with white kids in the troop.

 

The local mosque tried a Scout troop for a while, floundered, so they made a Cub Pack.  But with the Cub Pack, none of the parents would volunteer; they just figured it was a thing where they invite us in and we run it for them.  So, the pack failed, too.

 

Anyone seeing a theme?  Creating units is an economic question for DEs, more Scouts more paycheck, so they're always looking to increase membership and units; malicious discrimination doesn't pay.  At the same time, they're rational actors, so they're going to look for COs most likely to succeed and the places where most minorities live do not have the resources to make a successful program. 

My troop gives a lot of equipment to Scoutreach, but we can send them 5,000,000 tents and if none of their parents will volunteer then the unit will never survive.

Edited by Scouter99

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 Anyone seeing a theme?  Creating units is an economic question for DEs, more Scouts more paycheck, so they're always looking to increase membership and units; malicious discrimination doesn't pay.  At the same time, they're rational actors, so they're going to look for COs most likely to succeed and the places where most minorities live do not have the resources to make a successful program. 

My troop gives a lot of equipment to Scoutreach, but we can send them 5,000,000 tents and if none of their parents will volunteer then the unit will never survive.

 

We have very high participation from our Asian members (15% of the unit) from both scout and parents. I will say they are very "westernized", as in they were schooled either in England or the US and have spent 20+ years in either place. The parents that are more recently from their homeland are less likely to volunteer....unless one of their countrymen encourage them.

 

We've found Indian men to be reluctant volunteers, but Indian women to be absolutely intense volunteers....though cutting that umbilical chord (from both child and husband) has proven to be difficult. ;)

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The unit I serve is majority minority, reflecting my city (in Orange County) and state (California). Looking at the pictures from summer camp, we are at most 25% anglo. The rest is Persian, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. This is reflected in the Troop Committee and adult leaders. I used to have a Jewish patrol from the local Temple, but they all aged out and were not replaced. I currently have 3 Chaplain Aides - a Protestant Christian, a Hindu and a Muslim. Those 3 do a great job of following the 12th Law.

 

The conflict with academics and other activities is there for all of my Scouts, not just the stereotyped Asian ones. My Troop is known in a couple of expat communities, and I get boys whose parents want them to experience all things Americana during their time in the United States. The only problem I run into with some parents volunteering is that not all of them speak English. Nothing like having a parent meeting with a translator!

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<<BSA does not create units aside from sales pitches to prospective COs by DEs. People decide they want to start a troop, they apply for a charter.
If black people don't apply for charters, that's their business, not an "us problem.">>

 

 

As a district Membership Chair,  I made a determined effort to increase the number of Hispanic/Latino Cub Scouts a few years ago.   I induced the council to bring in BSA staff members to create a day long program on how to recruit more minorities.

 

 

Despite those efforts,  my results were minimal. The language barrier was a BIG issue.  While boys spoke English,  often parents did not,  and I don't speak Spanish.  I can remember contacting a family that signed up for Cub Scouts SEVERAL times to invite them to pack activities.  EVERY time I called I got someone who spoke Spanish that I couldn't talk to.

 

I needed a Spanish/English speaker to take charge of communicating with those families,  but the people who could do so wouldn't be bothered.

 

In addition,  Cub Scouts is quite a complex program.  It's difficult enough for English speaking families to figure out what's going on.  I'm sure it's FAR more difficult for Spanish speaking families to understand that.

 

 

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In addition,  Cub Scouts is quite a complex program.  It's difficult enough for English speaking families to figure out what's going on.  I'm sure it's FAR more difficult for Spanish speaking families to understand that.

 

Even if you had succeeded you'd end up with a host of kids being dropped off by a bunch of smiling and nodding parents. For units to survive they need scouts AND parents.

 

Side note: I've lived all over the world and learned several languages...always enough to be very active in my adopted community. Sometimes only 1-2 years in country, sometimes more. If you can't speak enough of the language to understand scouting then the program is best without them. Scouting is hard enough without the leaders have to add interpreter to their repertoire. 

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