Boy Scouts’ Focus Is on Latino Recruiting

Betty Reid, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), July 26

When it comes to recruiting Arizona’s fastest growing population group, Arizona’s Boy Scouts simply haven’t been prepared.

But like good troop leaders, Boy Scouts of America officials assessed their situation and are trying to adapt with a marketing campaign aimed at beefing up Hispanic membership to better reflect the state.

“If you look at the demographics, if you look at how the Hispanic population is growing, as an organization we have a responsibility to offer our program to all families,” said George Randall, national director of the BSA’s Scoutreach. “It is the right thing to do. If you’ve got a growing population whose values dovetail with the values of Scouting, it’s a match.”

In Arizona, only one in 10 Boy Scouts is Latino, and leaders here, like many other Valley businesses and organizations, are pushing hard to find ways to tap into Arizona’s quickly rising Latino market. However, they face some real challenges including apathy, misconceptions and, at least among immigrant Latinos, that the Boy Scouts are only for the affluent.

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Though units continue to exist in Latino neighborhoods, there was not a concerted effort given to the leadership until now, Ramirez said. Scoutreach started in 1998 with a threefold mission to recruit adult leaders, to ensure that minority youths had an opportunity to join and to create a community-based partnership with the national office.

Its marketing logo is “Scouting, vale la pena,” or “Scouting, it’s worth the effort.”

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