Reported in the Columbus Dispatch today, the Boy Scouts are preparing to do more for their communities than ever before, and this couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. In a climate where it is becoming increasingly easy to categorically deny simple legitimacy to certain groups based on religion and/or ethnic or geographical dynamics, the Scouts are applying the Oath or Motto of the group in new and exciting ways- namely in helping to greet and familiarize refugees and immigrants into local communities.
“On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight”.
Scouts live by this code, and it serves to strengthen them, their organization, and those with whom they come into contact with.
We applaud these Scouts as they are applying such Universal directives in a real world setting. In turn, I would wager that if such programs are enacted in more communities, we may see Scout membership and activity on the rise…
And that’s a GOOD thing!
See the entire article at The Columbus Dispatch following:
“Boy Scouts program to focus on Wedgewood refugee and immigrant community
Boy Scouts are an American tradition, and they may soon become a way to welcome new youth to the city and the country.
In a program new to Columbus, City Council, the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America and MY Project USA are launching Boy Scout programming on the West Side. Though open to all children, the program will be specifically focused on the refugee and immigrant community in the Wedgewood neighborhood.
Many children in the community are falling victim to older children who “groom” them to become part of gangs, said Zerqa Abid, founder and executive director of MY Project USA, a nonprofit focused on protecting and empowering youth.
“We want to create a support program that really helps children and parents and empowers them against gang influences,” Abid said. Along with other programs MY Project USA is doing, Abid said she’s hoping the Boy Scouts will “uplift the whole community and change minds from being a refugee to being a loyal, productive American citizen.”
City Council will vote on the program, with a $25,000 grant from the neighborhood initiatives subfund, at its Monday night meeting.
“It’s just designed to enhance outreach to the new American community,” said Councilman Michael Stinziano, who sponsored the ordinance. “I’m hoping we’ll see young people being able to engage and get outdoors.”
Similar programming has been done in other cities, said Jen Koma, director of development and marketing at the Simon Kenton Council, but hasn’t been attempted in Columbus. One important part of making a Boy Scout program work in a new American community is finding leaders within the community who speak the language and can communicate with not only the children, but with their parents, she said.
“It’s a more targeted approach,” Koma said. “It’s a better opportunity and more likely opportunity to be able to engage parents.”
There will be a troop (boys ages 11 to 18), two packs (boys ages 7 to 10), and a co-ed venture group for boys and girls in high school beginning in August.
Stinziano is hoping it will be a pilot program that can be used elsewhere in the city.
“It’s making sure they have a safe, stable space to engage outside of school,” Koma said.
“We’re hearing from parents and other community advocates and leaders, ‘This is what we need.’ Something that will have a positive influence,” she said.