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Posted (edited)

Heard on NPR:

A year after appointing a chief diversity officer, Spirit of Adventure Council (MA) is opening new pathways via the Beacon of Freedom program for inner city youth.

The latest example is the creation of Scouts BSA Troop 906, formed last September and headquartered at Orchard Gardens Pilot School in Roxbury. ...

More content including audio link at source:

https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2019/03/07/with-an-eye-towards-diversity-scouts-bsa-form-troop-in-roxbury

Edited by RememberSchiff
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Interesting.

There are a huge number of obstacles to creating and running a successful inner city unit, most of which are not even mentioned in that article.

Here in Houston, the local council (SHAC) runs a program called "Scoutreach" that is intended to create and support scouting units in underserved  (mostly low-income) neighborhoods. One of the biggest obstacles they encounter to creating inner city units is getting qualified adults to volunteer. The inner city neighborhoods have a lot more single parents, more parents working shift work, more kids being raised by grandma, more parents who can't pass a background check (arrests, drugs, etc.).

Here, the council supports some units by providing paid leaders. That's an expensive approach when your organization really wants dues-paying families, but I suppose it's necessary if you want to avoid having the organization branded as an elitist group that's not genuinely open to all. 

I'd enjoy hearing about what other councils are doing to get scouting programs into neighborhoods that lack active units.

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Posted (edited)

"About 20 scouts, including three girls ..."

IMO the news, this appears to be a coed, Council staffed troop, chartered by a public pilot school which I had not heard before. More obstacles but also a greater need?

From an December news article  

https://patch.com/massachusetts/boston/what-parents-orchard-gardens-school-are-protesting

Orchard Gardens is a public pilot school for kindergarten through grade 8, serving more than 800 students. It was selected by Obama's President's Commission on the Arts & Humanities for using the arts to dramatically improve instruction. But it's also not far from "Methadone Mile," a one-mile stretch of Mass Avenue near Boston Medical Center where there are three methadone clinics, homeless shelters and drug treatment programs in the area. 

Students have even had to learn what to do if they see needles.

My $0.02

Edited by RememberSchiff

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Posted (edited)

@RememberSchiffNot sure that link goes to same article you are citing.

Council assisted chartered units are not uncommon in urban and very rural areas that might otherwise not have Scouting.

They are sometimes run by Council “resource” staff that are hired for that purpose and may “run” 2-4 units. Sometimes school staff is paid by Councils to add running a unit to their current job functions.

It is not ideal but the youth would not have Scouting if not for these programs.

As for coed, it may not be coed. I can’t tell you how many articles I have seen where facts were omitted or just flat wrong. I can’t blame the media entirely, even though it’s their job to get it right. The percentage of Scouters that explain the structure often state BSA policy in confusing ways, are confused themselves or just flat out have it wrong.

Edited by HelpfulTracks

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Thanks for checking. Both links are about the same inner city K-8 pilot school. The second link was to give background regarding that school. 

 

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4 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

Thanks for checking. Both links are about the same inner city K-8 pilot school. The second link was to give background regarding that school. 

 

Doh!

My bad.

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The original article stated the 3 girls were not available  so maybe the are not in the troop?  I hope this unit succeeds. The article stated "Troop 906 is one of only two majority-minority troops in eastern Massachusetts — the other is an inactive one in Dorchester."

IMO, Council may need to make a long term commitment. i.e., hope these scouts, the next generation,  come back as adults to lead troop. 

Another $0.02

 

 

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1 hour ago, RememberSchiff said:

The original article stated the 3 girls were not available  so maybe the are not in the troop?  I hope this unit succeeds. The article stated "Troop 906 is one of only two majority-minority troops in eastern Massachusetts — the other is an inactive one in Dorchester."

IMO, Council may need to make a long term commitment. i.e., hope these scouts, the next generation,  come back as adults to lead troop. 

Another $0.02

Many Councils do make long term commitments. But is is difficult. Trying to establish generational ties for example. Many of the inner city youth do not have parents/relatives that were Scouts, let alone generational Eagle Scouts. 

Finding direct contact volunteers is difficult as well. Many of the Scouts come from single parent homes, and that parent may work 2 or more jobs. Many volunteer come from other districts, others may actually be paid. Adding to that, units are often tied to schools or other after school community programs. That makes it difficult to get volunteers who work 9-5 jobs. 

On the other hand, in some ways it is easier to raise funds for inner city scholarships. People and businesses are willing to write a check to help these youth. That money can be used for scholarships for uniforms, camps, high adventure etc. Even though it is easier to raise money, there never seems to be enough.

It is tough work and can grind on you at times because of the uphill battle. But it is very rewarding to see kids who have never been in the woods before Scouting, then watch them go to Summer camp for the first time, go Philmont or Jamboree and come back with their stories of adventure. Or to see get their Eagle pinned on their chest. Possibly the best part is when you see a youth that stuck with the program go off to college. Often times they are the first in the family to get a college degree. The percentage of long term Scouts that go to college is much higher than their inner city peers that don't do Scouting. 

Bottom line.......Scouting makes a difference. 

  • Upvote 2

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I was part of Spirit of Adventure council when it was created.  There has been an attempt to resurrect units in the Boston city limits.  Boston was basically nonexistent.  I am greatly impressed with the council leadership move towards getting units in the city going again.  Better to have kids be involved in something fun instead of on the streets taking part in crime.  I am surprised to hear about the Dorchester unit.  I was attached with a unit in Concord that "adopted" that unit and not only gave resources for them, but time and worked with them as if they were their own unit.  Is it really inactive?

  • Upvote 1

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Not sure, not much info online. Was the Dorchester Troop 28?  Troop 11?  

Boys & Girls Clubs are at least 3 locations in Dorchester. 

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