True to the reality television series Shark Tank tagline “only the strong will survive,” one council beat out the competition during a mock Shark Tank contest at the BSA Southern Region meeting this month.
But unlike the popular series, this contest was rooted in serving youth in local Southern region communities. Read on to find out how this council blew the competition out of the water with its powerful Scouting ideas and won $25,000 to make them happen.
Inspired to Reach Diverse Youth
“We presented our idea of really serving and focusing more on minority youth,” Scout Executive Rick Chapman said to DJournal.com.
Chapman says the council was inspired by Palmer Foster, the first African American Scout Executive in the Yocona area.
Though Foster died in 2014, his Scouting legacy continues to make a difference in the council. As a teen, Foster worked to earn money to buy his own Scout uniform. He served in the Army for four years during World War II and also graduated from Rust College. Before serving as Scout Executive in 1951, Foster was a teacher, football coach and church deacon.
“He served as Scout Executive for 36 years,” Chapman said. “To me, that says, sure, we’ve got our challenges today. But compared to what he went through? We want to honor his legacy.”
Committed to Growing Scouting
Chapman says this effort to reach more diverse youth is an ongoing one. He says the area council also plans to focus on growing their Exploring program to help provide teens in his community with more career opportunities in the future.
“We want to recruit, but also retain,” Chapman said. “This isn’t a one-time, start-up and walk away deal. This is a commitment to start a strong interest and involvement with Scouting.”
Check out the full story on DJournal.com and let us know in the comments below how your council is reaching minority youth in your communities. What challenges does your council encounter in achieving these aims?