Today, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that, based on its recently completed research study, Reaching Americaâ€™s Next Multicultural Generation, it has launched a Hispanic and Latino Task Force. The purpose of the task force is to determine how to better reach and serve the Hispanic and Latino communities, which are typically underserved by youth character-building programs.
The primary goal of the study was to gain a better understanding of the needs and desires of Hispanic and Latinos in relation to their participation in youth organizations, specifically the BSA. The research explored the positive perceptions and connections with Scouting, as well as some disconnects and concerns that Scouting will need to address to serve youth and parents in these communities.
In the past, America has been characterized as a â€œmelting pot.â€ Immigrants came to the United States and assimilated into the customs and language of this country. By the second or third generation, language and customs from their ancestral countries were usually lost. During the late 20th century this changed and America is now characterized as a â€œsalad bowlâ€ where people mix and mingle but retain much of their cultural identity and values. Using this insight the National Councilâ€™s Hispanic and Latino Task Force is reviewing best practices from 10 BSA councils that have been successful in recruiting Hispanics and Latinos with the goal of developing methods to make the BSA a part of this unique cultural identity.
â€œIn 2006, we reached a population milestone of 300 million people living in the United States, the largest number of people ever to inhabit our country,â€ said Tico Perez, president, southern region, BSA. â€œThe Hispanic and Latino population is projected to triple by 2050, as we will become an even more diverse society. As the nationâ€™s largest youth service organization, with a goal of providing Scouting to every youth, it is important that we continue to determine the best ways to reach our emerging ethnic groups.â€
Also, as it relates to the BSA, the research found that Hispanic and Latino parents are interested in activities that preserve their cultural heritage, teach responsibility and include the entire family. However, Hispanic and Latino youth look for organizations that offer a variety of activities so that they can choose what they want to do; that allows them to do something new that they would otherwise not be able to; and, one that offers parental involvement in after school activities.
The national office of the BSA will be working to ensure that barriers to joining a Scouting program are eliminated so that all youth can receive the life-long benefits of being a Scout. The BSA Hispanic and Latino Task Force has enlisted the Hispanic Communications Network to craft a strategy designed to increase Hispanic/Latino enrollment in the Boy Scouts of America.
â€œOur goal is to use principles of the Scout Oath and Law to guide our youth into adulthood through mentoring and individual attention,â€ said Beto Munoz, BSA national chairman Hispanic Latino Task Force. â€œIt is at this grassroots level, in a variety of multicultural communities, that values, leadership, and character are taught. Together we can continue to make the BSA culturally relevant and present a solution to the complex problems children of all races and ethnicities face.â€
About the Boy Scouts of America
The Scouting movement is composed of 1.2 million volunteers, whose dedication of time and resources has enabled the Boy Scouts of America to remain the nationâ€™s leading youth-service organization. Serving nearly 4.5 million young people between 7 and 20 years of age with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America is the nationâ€™s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. For more information on the BSA, please visit http://www.scouting.org.