I belong to this Council.
A couple of years ago, when this program was just starting out, the school's attorney met with the Council leadership and almost threw us out over "the policy". But upon reviewing Boston Minuteman Council's non-discrimination policy, he decided that we could go forward and stay in the schools.
The result, reported in today's Globe (Front page!) is below the squiggle.
In the school cafeteria, the young boys of Pack 11 have planted the stars and stripes and the pack flag in smallish stands, recited the scout oath, and now the cubmaster has silenced an excited din to present a new kid with a crisp Webelos shirt.I still struggle with the National policy. It still affects my units directly, as we have lost popcorn sales and membership because of this.
“All right, gentlemen,” he says. “Signs up.”
To applause and whoops, the boy wriggles into a shirt that seems twice his size.
It is Norman Rockwell stuff, a scene reenacted by generations of boys. But it almost always took place in small towns and suburbs. This was in the heart of Dorchester, where few faces are white and Scouting was all but unheard of a few years ago.
Now, after a major campaign by the local division of the Boy Scouts of America, there are more than 700 boys in roughly 25 Cub Scout packs in Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury.
In a surprise to everyone, boys are flocking to it. The urban retention rate is 60 percent, just 10 points less than in the suburbs, which means city boys are beginning to make their ascent from Cub Scout to Eagle Scout, the highest rank.
“This is frankly exciting, phenomenal, and way beyond our expectations,’’ said Chuck Eaton, executive director of the Boston Minuteman Council,, which launched the urban drive that also includes Hyde Park and Roslindale. “That means we are soon going to find Boy Scout troops popping out up all over town.”
But there is hope. Now we need to get other Councils to follow our model.