Bob’s Blog: Promoting Urban Scouting
Our pursuit of the Main Thing—delivering a quality Scouting experience to the youth of America—can take on a whole new look when it comes to the challenges of urban Scouting.
So that’s why I was excited to read a recent article posted on NewsWorks, the online news network for Philadelphia’s WHYY-FM, about the efforts under way in the Cradle of Liberty Council to bring the values of Scouting to underserved neighborhoods in Northwest Philadelphia.
Scoutmaster Ann Perrone, a local elementary school teacher, wanted to locate a Scout troop in the suburb of Germantown because, to her eye, Philadelphia has what she called a “low density” of Scout troops, especially when compared to the plentiful Scouting assets in the suburbs. Ann wanted to dispel the notion that Scouting is only for wealthy, and often white, young people.
Ann formed Troop 1719, which meets at the First United Church of Germantown and includes eight members in its ranks so far. Ann’s approach is to teach the values of Scouting through an aggressive outdoor program to train her Scouts to become a performance-based team that will participate in both community and Scouting events, thus aiding in recruitment efforts and reinforcing her Scouts’ morale.
“I want them to feel pride in being Boy Scouts,” she said.
I encourage you to read this article and reflect on Ann Perrone’s approach to bringing young men from the streets of Northwest Philadelphia to a new way of thinking about their lives through Scouting. The report describes a series of hikes that gave these young men an important sense of independence, team spirit, and self-confidence. It’s inspiring to follow their challenges and successes through their weekend in the outdoors.
This line really jumped out at me at the close of this story: However, sometimes the most meaningful accomplishments are not recognized with ranks or badges, but with small—and significant—gestures.
I couldn’t agree more. Nice job, Ann!