Room to grow: Bringing Scouting to the Hispanic community

You can’t ignore the numbers.

According to the 2010 Census, 16.3 percent of U.S. citizens are of Hispanic or Latino origin.

In the BSA, the proportion is much lower. Hispanic youth account for just 6.8 percent of all members.

I see that discrepancy as a challenge to volunteers and professionals at the national, council, district, and unit levels to continue to grow the Scouting program in the Hispanic community. You can make a difference; read on to find out how.

First, it’s worth mentioning that the BSA is already making great strides in this area. This page of Spanish-language materials shows the BSA’s commitment, as do the Spanish edition of the BSA Handbook, released in 2009, and the continued efforts of the BSA’s excellent Membership Impact department.

Current statistics are promising, too. Nationwide, Hispanic membership in Scouting is up 3.4 percent from a year ago.

But we can’t slow down now.

According to a U.S. Census Bureau report on the Hispanic population (PDF), “More than half of the growth in the total population of the United States between 2000 and 2010 was due to the increase in the Hispanic population.”

The trend will continue, with some researchers estimating that nearly a quarter of U.S. citizens will be of Hispanic origin by 2050 or sooner.

The challenge is magnified further in Western and Southern states. In Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas, Hispanics account for more than 20 percent of the total population.

OK, the facts are clear, but how do you make a difference in your community?

Here’s one idea: Consider attending the 2012 Membership Impact Conference at the Philmont Training Center.

I’ve praised the Philmont Training Center before, calling it a prime spot for a family summer vacation. But it’s also the ideal location for a conference focused on the Hispanic/Latino American community. Especially when you consider that New Mexico has a higher percentage of Hispanic residents (46.3) than any other state.

Here’s some info on the conference:

The challenges

The 2012 Membership Impact Conference will delve into the challenges Scouters face when recruiting in the Hispanic community, including:

  • Limited Scouting family legacy
  • Lack of financial resources
  • Language barriers

The topics

To overcome these challenges, the conference will cover:

  • How to work with faith-based Hispanic/Latino American organizations for new-unit growth, youth membership, and volunteer recruitment
  • Successful Scouting best methods and approaches in the Hispanic/Latino American community
  • Marketing to your Hispanic/Latino American communities
  • Financing your Hispanic/Latino American market share
  • Resources available in Spanish designed to support English/Spanish-speaking volunteers and staff
  • Hispanic/Latino American common cultural traits
  • Hispanic/Latino American cultural considerations
  • How to recruit council- and district-level committee leadership

Conference details

  • Dates: June 24-30, 2012 (PTC Week 3)
  • Cost: $495 for the week, all-inclusive (If you’re bringing the fam, it’s $350 for spouses, $295 for non-conference participants ages 14–20, $220 for ages 6–13, and $140 for ages 5 and under. The Mountain Trek is $360. National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience is $355.)
  • Whom to call: For more information, contact Philmont Scout Ranch at 575-376-2281, the Membership Impact Team at 972-580-2119, or your local council.
  • More info: View this PDF — available in English and Spanish, of course.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.