Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Latinos kids in California targeted to be Scouts

Salinas-area Scouts ahead of the pack to attract Latinos
By MOLLY DAVIS • The Salinas Californian • January 6, 2009

The Boy Scouts of America are launching a national campaign to attract more Latino members -- something Salinas-area packs have been working toward for some time, scouting leaders say.

"We're kind of ahead of the national emphasis in terms of what they are working on," said Charles Howard-Gibbon, the assistant scout executive of the Monterey Bay Area Council. "We have a pretty heavy emphasis on reaching out to Latino families, taking bilingual speakers and materials during recruiting."

Although the Monterey Bay council is not a part of the national campaign, dubbed Hispanic Initiatives, several programs aimed at increasing Latino involvement are already in place in the Salinas area, and there are plans for more.

The Monterey Bay Council, for example, has partnered with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District for Cub Scout Day Camps during summer school for 12 years, and the popular Scouting and Soccer program has been running in Hollister for three years. The council plans to reopen the soccer program in Alisal following a short hiatus after the program manager left.

About 30 percent of scouts in the Monterey area are Latino, and the Council saw increased membership in its Cub Scout program last year. The council projects a similar increase in 2009.

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