Protecting young people from violence – especially gun violence – is a tough job in many communities.
Statistics provided by the Children’s Defense Fund in its 2014 “State of America’s Children” report paint a troubling picture of gun violence in our country:
- 2,694 children and teens were killed by guns in the U.S. in 2010.
- 15,576 children and teens were injured by guns during that same period.
- That means one child or teen was killed or injured every 30 minutes, 50 every day, and 351 every week.
We take our role of protecting young people from harm very seriously in Scouting, so when I saw how one troop leader is taking the problem of gun violence head-on, I wanted to share his story.
Troop 772 in Fort Pierce, Florida was set up by Scoutmaster Scott Van Duzer to help steer middle school students away from violence.
With the help of a local filmmaker, he led a middle school program where students watched a film that depicted real-life scenarios about youth violence, like shoplifting and shootings.
Before that film, he had 20 Scouts in his troop. After the film ended, about 70 students in the sixth and seventh grades signed up for Scouting.
The local police chief was also on hand to view the film, and was so impressed he plans to organize a community showing later this summer.
This is a great example of using innovative thinking to reach the youth we serve on a sensitive topic. I want commend Scoutmaster Scott Van Duzer and filmmaker Patrick Ricks for their efforts.
Ambitious communications strategies like this can make the difference between life and death for many young people. We pledge to provide life-changing experiences for our Scouts, and this is one of many ways we can make that service to our young people very real. What real-life experiences do you share with your young people to teach important lessons like what this film documents? Share your ideas here!