After many unsuccessful attempts to mitigate gang problems in their community, leaders of Fort Pierce, Florida, realized they needed help. Hopeful for a solution, they contacted their local Boy Scouts of America council in late 2013.
The Gulf Stream Council in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, launched ‘Restoring the Village’ under the leadership of Scout Executive Jeff Isaac to assist community leaders with such youth-related issues. The project engages leaders to solve pressing youth problems and teaches at-risk youth the importance of community service, personal responsibility and respect for others.
As a part of that effort, Van Duzer Foundation President Scott Van Duzer chartered Troop 772 in Fort Pierce, Florida – an area plagued with more than 137 shootings this year.
The council held a screening of “Troop 491: The Adventures of the Muddy Lions” as a recruiting tool in the area’s toughest junior high school and saw immediate, impactful results.
“They saw their own struggles, fears, and aspirations reflected back at them,” said Issac of the boys who viewed the film. He believes the young men recognized themselves in the characters and related to the movie’s message.
After the success of the first screening, Isaac is eager to spread the messages of the film to other Scouting communities. “We now have plans to share ‘Troop 491’ in our other hard-to-serve areas,” Isaac said. With the help of the film and other Scouting programs, Troop 772 has a waiting list filled with young men who want to join.
Take it from Troop 772, real-life lessons can be hard to teach but with a little creativity, you can help show young men how Scouting can be relevant to their lives.