I read a story this week of a kid in California who earned all 137 Boy Scout merit badges. You only need 21 merit badges to become an Eagle Scout which is considered the top achievement of scouting. Since 1912, 2.4 million boys have become Eagle Scouts but only 350 have earned all the merit badges.
The Boy Scouts of America has introduced or discontinued some badges over the years, changing the total number available for scouts to earn. Some of the newer ones, like animation, game design and programming, reflect updates in technology, while traditional ones, such as archery, bugling and camping, remain.
So, why would a kid bust his butt to get all 137? Maybe because he’s an overachiever. And now that his scouting days are over, what value will all those merit badges bring him as he enters the world of adulthood?
Do you think he might have an advantage over other candidates who he may compete with for a seat at a university or a job with a major corporation. I think so.
So, why don’t we see blacks participating in the Boy Scouts?
I was a Cub Scout in the 70s. I don’t remember much about it other than the uniform and a few get togethers. I do remeber that I’d rather play baseball and basketball than go to a scouts meeting.
I did a little digging on the history of blacks in the Boy Scouts and found this amazing article that provides a detailed history of race and the Boy Scouts. As I assumed, blacks and Scouting do not have a good story. Read it HERE if you’re interested.
Then I went to the Boy Scouts page to find their mission statement…
HELPING YOUTH IS A KEY TO BUILDING A MORE CONSCIENTIOUS, RESPONSIBLE AND PRODUCTIVE SOCIETY
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations, providing programs for young people that build character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship and develops personal fitness. For more than 100 years, Boy Scouts of America has helped build future leaders by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun.
I’m often asked what we can do to make life better for black boys. Mentoring, tutoring, father figures, and exposure outside of their surroundings are the most common solutions I hear. Many small efforts pop up here and there to serve that purpose but the absence of a major movement that black kids find cool enough to participate in is sorely lacking.
About a year ago, I was introduced to graphic novel series designed by a black man from Wilmington, DE. (with family ties in Chester) that presents a fun and engaging method to get kids reading, comprehending, and learning what he calls the ‘Codes 4 Life.’
He’s developed an entire curriculum for facilitators to guide kids through these comic books and reward them ‘badges’ for demonstrating their mastery of each ‘Code.’
I’ve joined with the author and another supporter to present this learning series to local educators. We anticipate an outgrowth of this series to include animation, music, live performances, and continued publication of this series of graphic novels.
Our first presentation to a Chester school was warmly received but the follow up has been anything but. However, we’re not deterred. We realize how monumental this effort can be to transform young folks in our communities and we will continue to knock on any door that will let us in to present this concept.
For an overview of this project, visit C2Posse.com. We’d love to share this with any school, church, community organization, or potential funder who see’s value in launching this concept here or anywhere throughout the nation.