Re: Minority Recruitment
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Mon, 4 Aug 1997 22:05:17 -0500
Bruce agreed with much of what I had to say, but disagreed on a couple
of valid points:
>>*lack of community "gathering". In suburban communities, the >>community
rallies around most character-producing programs, offering >>help and
assistance and even some money. In urban communities, for >>the most part,
it's every community organization for themselves and >>where there is any
coordination, its viewed with one hand on the >>pocketbook and the other
hand at the door.
>Don't necessarily agree here. It was my understanding, but I could be
>wrong, that in most minority communities, as in many rural communities,
>the churches become the central focal point of the community and thus
>would be the logical place for Scouting to function in that community. In
>the suburban communities there is not this centralization of the >community
around the church or any other specific organization.
Churches in urban areas ARE the focal point of the neighborhood, but they
tend to cater only to those that they feel are a "part of their church
community" and very little else. Other organizations in the "inner
commmunity of color" have a hard time coordinating real community projects
between each other because each organization feels that in doing so,
"lessens the need for OUR organization". When you have a large pool of
organizations all biting for limited community chest/United Way monies, you
have to "stand out from the rest of the pack", so to speak and doing it with
three or four other groups to achieve a community purpose isn't the greatest
way for achieving that "standing out" status.
Many churches, particularily Black churches, are also leery of "outsider
organizations taking our money out of the community". This is what one of
my suggestions about treating Scouting units like "missions" come into play.
If the people of that church can SEE where they monies are going toward and
what good things are happening as a result, then they will give more and
contribute in other ways as well.
>>*abundance of "excuses". "We're supposed to be this way", "Why you >>folk
want to change us?", "They came and did this before and it didn't
>>work....what makes you guys so special?", "Boy Scouts....nah...what >>good
that's going to be here?? There's no mountains here". Yeah, >>there's
mountains...lots of them called "ignorance and self-sufficiency", >>along
with other names.
>But that is an inertia that really pertains to everyone. It is easy to keep
>doing the things you have been doing and being part of the >organizations
you have always been part of. Thus there is a natural >resistance to try
It is harder to overcome in communities whereby just about EVERYONE comes
into it and offers yet another "program" for their kids. Most of them, like
Scouting, takes a significant investment in time, personal energies and
money; and many of them wear out after only a short period of time in which
apathy renews and drives in deeper.
>>Note that nowhere in any of those are "money", "places to meet", or
>>"things to do". There's plenty of money to run a Cub Scout Pack or a
>>Boy Scout Troop. People in and out of that community has it. Others
>>don't know how to ask for it or how to use it effectively.
>As I stated in another post, I believe that economics is a significant
>factor in our difficulty in inner city recruiting.
I don't agree. Nike, for instance, can come into a community and because of
its name, can produce LOTS of kids wanting to do street basketball. They
have to turn kids away! They invest a very little amount of money, and get
for that little trip, a load of kids and a lot of goodwill for the company!
I'd be foolish to say that money is not a factor, but it's not as important
as getting people to invest time and personal energies into a Cub Scout Pack
or a Boy Scout Troop. Corporations can and have funneled a lot of money
into "intercity Scouting" back in the 70s and 80s.
A lot of that money went to buy good looking tents, flags, uniforms and
insignia. Those units failed even though they had all of that good, NEW
stuff, because they couldn't find a Scoutmaster and an Assistant Scoutmaster
(back then, they didn't care about "youth protection")
and two other adults to serve as Committeemembers!
Good Councils can find the "seed money" to start new units. That's why we
have a lot of them "Development Directors" in our local Councils and
"Finance and Development Directors" in larger ones. They are assisted by
volunteers that can do the really hard work in raising the cash needed.
>>LITTLE?? Yeah. Like allowing those parents that wish to view the
>>Ordeal ceremony to view it from a vantage point without compromising >>the
ceremony or disrupting the flow of things.
>You keep citing this as a problem, but it is one that I have never
>encountered. Even if there is an apprehension about the OA, I believe
>there are quite a few steps, short of having parents witness the
>ceremonies and ordeal, which can alleviate those concerns.
It is a valid problem, as witnessed by the lack of Black Scouts (and some
Scouters!) that are elected and pre-ordealed but NEVER make it to the Ordeal
ceremony itself. Particularily in the Black community, there's been too
many "urban legends" (pardon the pun) about "people who go out into the
woods for some kind of "induction" or "initiation" and they don't come back
(alive)". It's one of the first stories that my own mother sat down and
told me: "Don't go out into some woods with some white people....I'll never
see you again!" I hasten to add that she had a terrible time on my first
overnight campout while I was "still young" and if she was able go to where
the campout was, I'm SURE that she would have been there at least to see
that her son's okay and no harm has come to him.
(I would have been embarrassed, however. *grinning*.)
In all fairness, we have a significant number of white Scouts that don't
show up at the Ordeal, but most of that can be traced to several other
reasons that's better discussed in the OA forum "across the road". The
largest reason, which can be discussed here and which relates back to this
topic is because nobody bothered to explain the *importance* of the OA to
the PARENTS of the Scout. The Scout knows, but he may be too young, too new
to Scouting, or just incapable of expressing what the OA is all about to
parents that don't even know what a "OA" is. Remember, only six months ago,
they even knew what a "Troop" or a "Patrol Leader" was!
>And, if it comes down to viewing an ordeal and ordeal ceremony I DO >NOT
believe it should be the one in which their son is participating.
Why not, Bruce?? What harm is it going to be to allow a mother or father to
witness their son being inducted into the BSA's honor camping society? It's
not like the parents are going to be going out to tell every other Scout in
the Troop "this is what happens". I don't see the danger in seeing the
culmination of the Ordeal; after all, after the Ceremony has concluded and a
short time buying/fellowshipping/talking with new fellow Arrowmen, its off
to the house we go for most of the new members!
>For the same reason that you suggest visiting camp BEFORE their son >goes
it should be an ordeal prior to that one. By the time their son is >going
through the ordeal it is too late to do anything about it.
Anything about what?? Any objections about the ceremony can best be
discussed beforehand with the Lodge Advisor and Chief and the parents. The
Lodge Chief had better be prepared to explain what goes on during the
Ordeal, what goes on during the ceremony and explain why we don't normally
allow anyone to view the ceremony. I hate to say this about my own folk,
but many Blacks are extremely cautious about any kind of "secrets" or "stuff
that we shouldn't be talking about". It stems from a long time of being
privy to a lot of conversations that we weren't supposed to hear, and being
puinished for repeating or overhearing the conversations to others. When we
are given an explaination, especially if the explaination makes sense and
can be justified by seeing it for ourselves, many of us (as well as other
really concerned parents!) will at least feel a little better about what we
are doing "to their sons" in order to "honor them".
>>Like inviting parents of urban youth to come out during the week >>BEFORE
the summer camp experience and see firsthand what
>>their sons will be doing, and to talk with "role models" to find out "the
>>real deal" about this "Scouting thing".
>I'm not aware of any camp that would refuse to allow this. Why would >they?
Lots of camps stopped having "open house days" in which parents of WEBELOS
Cub Scouts, parents with concerns, and new Scout parents can come out to the
camp, walk around, and see what's there (and to whip up enthusiam for paying
that last payment before summer camp starts!).
It was a waste of time and staff energy, a lot of summer camps stated in
doing away with that week, which normally was in connection with "Staff
Week" or "training week". What I was saying there was that such an event
should be organized and "catered to" urban parents (black and white) that
are sending their sons to such an "expensive place". As my mom told me when
she was writing that first summer camp check for $70
(a LARGE amount of money for a week of summer camp back then!!),
"that camp better have gold faucets and beds with real feathers!"
All in all, Bruce, we agree that a lot must still be done to make Scouting
in our urban areas as "universal" as it is in our suburban areas. We differ
in how to do it, especially with regard to making the Order of the Arrow
less of a "terror" than a "mystery and adventure" for the Scout and his
parents, many of whom don't know anything about Scouting and the indian lore
legends that it is based in part on.
The more we can educate the parents of the Scout, be it in an urban area or
in a suburban or rural setting....the more they would be able to feel
confortable about being a part of Scouting. And we want them to be a part
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
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