Documentary Shows How Scouting Can Transcend Geography, Age, Race and Economics

759: Boy Scouts of Harlem


Dear Scout executive,

Jim Wilson, the Director of Media Services & Public Relations, has invited me to write a letter to you to introduce myself and a documentary film I recently completed.

I earned my Eagle Scout Award from Troop 42 in Big Flats, New York, in 1989. A few years ago I volunteered to make a promo video for the Scout camp system that serves New York City. In the process I realized that Boy Scouts and Scout camp were more significant, challenging and transformational for city kids than for someone like me who grew up in the country. I decided to make a documentary about Scouts that would resonate with people — both urban and rural and Scout and non-Scout — to show, in a fun way, how Scouting can transcend geography, age, race and economics.

I teamed up with another experienced filmmaker named Jake Boritt and found Troop 759 in Harlem that welcomed us as part of their family. Two years later we finished the first feature documentary ever made about a Boy Scout troop. 759: Boy Scouts of Harlem is a 72-minute heartwarming documentary that is micro-budget, independent, self-financed and follows 11-year-old Keith Dozier on his first trip to summer camp. You can watch a trailer online here: If you like what you see just contact me; I will be happy to send you a screener DVD of the film. With the support of the national office, we’d also like to make the film available to help advance the goals of your council in two ways:

HOST A SCREENING EVENT — as long as the event is free, we will make the film available for community screenings. If it is possible we’d also be happy to attend the screening to help turn it into an event that attracts a broad attendance and gets media attention. We have worked or are working with a number of councils and volunteers in places like New York City; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Boston; and Elmira, New York, to host screening events. Video coverage of some of these events is at

SIZZLE VIDEOS FOR COUNCIL EVENTS — we are creating a series of high — impact short videos related to the film that are appropriate for council events (e.g. fund-raising dinners, Scoutreach events). If you contact us we will be happy to provide more information about this.

UNIT-LEVEL FUND-RAISER — on our Web site, fund-raising screening kits are available. These are designed for units that wish to host a small screening and raise some funds. Details, including a detailed, downloadable “Community Screening Toolkit” may be accessed on our Web site.

Meanwhile we are working on several initiatives related to the film, including broadcast options and national press attention. On October 8, with the help of Al Lambert in Washington and Willie Iles Jr. from the national office, we will screen the film on Capitol Hill.

If you have any questions you can reach me on my cell phone at 917-355-9895 or via e-mail at

Thanks very much,


Justin Szlasa
759: Boy Scouts of Harlem

Watch the trailer and join the e-mailing list at