Michael Holmes (MHolmes@PITNET.NET)
Tue, 5 Aug 1997 09:29:05 -0500
I have been following the thread on minority recruitment with great
interest. My city, Racine, Wisconsin, has a large African American and
Latino population. Over the years, we have made many serious attempts to
form troops in those communities, with few positive results. Our problem
has not been the boys, but the adults. Either we get volunteers who are
not willing to stick with the program or we face a proprietary issue --
it's not our program, so we reject it. This latter attitude also keeps us
from offering to supply adult leadership from outisde the community while
internal leadership is being developed. I believe this "seige mentality"
is quite understandable considering past race relations in our country.
Nevertheless, it is very difficult to overcome.
Some years ago we hired an African American District Executive
speciffically to work on the problem. He had been successful in Detroit,
so we had high hopes. Subsequently he left us and said that he had never
encountered such resistance to our progam. We haven't given up, but here's
the typical scenario: We struggle to get an organization to sponsor a
unit. Finally it does, and leaders are named. We get the troop to summer
camp, where the boys have a great time. When the troop meets again in
September, no adults appear and the unit falls apart. This is not to say
that we have been completely unsuccessful. Some few units have endured,
but not many.
I would appreciate any and all advice on how to deal with these two issues:
potential sponsoring institutions who resist because they view our program
as an invasion of their territory -- even though we explain that it is they
who "own" and lead the unit, and adult volunteers who can not/will not
stick with the unit once it is formed.
Please answer me privately (or both on the list and privately). I'm off to
M at our JLT Conference tomorrow and will suspend receipt of Scouts-L.
Thanks for your advice.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City