Jay Thal (jay.thal@TCS.WAP.ORG)
Fri, 8 Aug 1997 00:42:21 EST
It took a while to sort through, and read, the 25+ pages of messages on
Minority Recruitment following the printing of the Washington Post article. It
struck a nerve among a few of the 670+ constituents of Scouts-L. Very few - so
what does that tell us? It shouldnUt be a matter of the coloration of our
After returning from the Canadian Jamboree I did a day trip down to our
Jambo. BSA did have a space/table in one of the tents to promote Urban
Emphasis, but it wasnUt much space nor was there much emphasis. ThatUs not a
criticism of the person(s) with whom I spoke, and that was only a brief time on
one day. It would be interesting to know what and how much went on throughout
the course of the Jambo.
Interestingly enough, one of the Scouts quoted in the article was with
our Troop for a year before rejoining the Troop his father helps run.
My outer shell is light tan, and my first 14 years (including Scouting)
was in Brooklyn, NY. We moved to South Florida where I went on to Eagle, but
among the most memorable and hurtful recollections was being called a Rn---er
loverS and a Rk-keS by my fellow Scouts. Things were raw 40+ years ago. So, I
can well understand the generational concerns, described in some of the
responses, about going out into the dark and woods with some of RusS.
And now IUm with a predominantly upper middle class and light tan Troop
in Washington, DC. Our Troop is strong and has been prevailing relatively
independent of our District (and under our former SM more involved with
suburban districts). IUd like to think that these werenUt conscious decisions.
Things are, hopefully, changing.
Perhaps IUm naive, but it seems to me that the economic concerns
regarding minority recruitment might be overblown. But DC is, for the most
part, a middle class city. IUve heard moans from Scouters in small communities
that the pool is too small for the competing demands.
But, now let me wade in with some observations and suggestions to
supplement those already posted.
Our District has an abundance of Units. Any DE who would encourage
more is certifiable. Perhaps one of the burdens of Urban Scouting is the
abundance and choice, whereas in a smaller community a Troop may be the only
choice for some distance.
Fellow Scouters (predominantly with darker shells) I have met at
Roundtables are experienced, able, and dedicated. But a (statistical) look at
the Units shows a clear RbreakS when Pack leaves off, and Troop starts. Troops
are not, for the most part, delivering the RoutingS or becoming Quality units
with all that entails. And that may be a problem for recruitment and
Working with a largish Troop (40-45), and abundant trained leaders, I
can hardly imagine the burnout and burden on Troops with 1 or 2 leaders even if
the number of Scouts totals little more than a single Patrol. This leads to
activities being narrowed and (IMO) the recruitment must suffer. I guess I
believe that you gotta first build it, then they will come.
I wouldnUt recommend decreasing the number of Units, because traditions
and the Chartering Institutions have seen, and do see, Scouting as a
transmitter of values. It seems to me that if we learn at Roundtables the
tricks of teamsmanship to transmit to the boys, separate Troops can team up and
What I have recommended in my District is that we promote partnerships
between Troops so that they can offer active joint programming without losing
their individual identities. If two or more units, non-competitively, engage
in activities together they can learn from one another, each have an active and
engaging program (identified with the institution) for the boys; and, not burn
out or stretch thin the leaders. For example, two or three meetings a month
can be institution based (though some could engage in varsity competitions);
one could be joint for planning/preparation; and the outing can be together.
(I view the outing part as demanding for two-deep leadership and
transportation.) Seems to me that that can be a win-win strategy.
I am an Eagle (and so is my son Adam)
I used to be a Buffalo
ASM, Troop 666, Benjamin Banneker Dist., NCAC
PS: Can anyone tell me why (and how I can correct it) my apostrophes; quotes
(smart); and other symbols do not translate well when I upload from my word
processor to e-Mail? IUm using WriteNow 4.0, on a PowerMac, with 7.5.5.
Before my responses were real-time w/o glitches.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City