Article contributed by Brian Gorman, Sr District Executive at the Theodore Roosevelt Council
More than 18 months ago we began our relationship with the Hillside Islamic Center to begin the process of bringing Scouting to their mosque. The main reason this worked was because they wanted to partner with an organization that represented American culture and that helped to build character and opportunities for the outdoor programing for youth.
We started with Cub Scout Pack 9963, Boy Scout Troop 9963. I instantly knew this was a great match due to the interest from all families. Within just four months we had over 80 Scouts in both units. They took trainings, learned from each of my volunteers and learned from us too. The pack we started even became a family pack! This is how we grew so quickly with membership. As the year went on, the girls in the pack were showing great interest in continuing in Scouting. Once Feb 1st, 2019 arrived, we began the paperwork to have these girls cross over into Scouts BSA Girl Troop 9963. There are 14 girls in the troop today and each February there are a few more that will join. In fact, these three units are some of my strongest that I oversee in my districts.
I am so proud to have started the first Scouts BSA Girl Troop in a mosque. The pillars of Islam and Scouting align greatly and more units can be formed using this principle. We were open and honest with each family, working around family commitments to ensure optimal participation. Scouts met weekly on Sundays after prayers in the mosque because families are present, making it easier for Scouts to attend their troop meetings.
My best tip? Don’t be afraid of reaching outside your comfort zone! You never know what opportunities for community partnership are in your area. For any questions in regards to how to start Scouting to your local mosque, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scouting Wire would like to thank Brian for submitting this article.