Boy Scouts Of America Recognizes National Mentoring Month


Boy Scouts Of America Recognizes National Mentoring Month
Nation's Leading Youth Organization Underscores Critical Importance of Attention, Guidance, and Support for Youth

As part of its ongoing efforts to do a Good Turn for America, the Boy Scouts of America, the nation's leading youth organization, is recognizing January 2005 as National Mentoring Month.

Since its inception 95 years ago, the BSA has recognized the impact positive role models can have in a young person's life and has incorporated mentoring as a primary method in its values-based program. Today, the BSA continues that legacy of positive influence through its Good Turn for America initiative, including National Mentoring Month, designed to provide positive role models in the lives of children who are considered at risk.

In recognition of National Mentoring Month, Boy Scout troops, Cub Scout packs, and Venturing crews across America will participate in various activities throughout their communities, utilizing the principles of mentoring in an effort to Do a Good Turn.

"We believe all young people need mentors," said Roy L. Williams, Chief Scout Executive of the BSA. "Our goal is to provide our youth with role models that will continue to positively impact society for years to come."

There are approximately 12 million at-risk children in the United States today, and only 300,000 to 400,000 are presently enrolled in formal mentoring programs. Children who are at risk for self-destructive behaviors are most in need and least likely to have mentors present in their lives.

Mentoring is a proven method for positively impacting the lives of these youth. Studies show that children with mentors were 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol, 53 percent less likely to skip school, and 33 percent less likely to engage in violence while at school.

Scouting is a group mentoring program, utilizing the values and traditions of more than 95 years of BSA experience in mentoring youth. In Scouting, the BSA places special emphasis on critical elements of healthy youth development, including caring and nurturing relationships with parents, other adults, and peers. For example, Scouting addresses these elements by providing positive role models and encouraging family togetherness. Scouts are encouraged and complimented for giving their best efforts, which instills a sense of value and belonging.

According to a recent BSA study, in Cub Scouting 95 percent of parents and their sons do projects together, 91 percent go places together, 90 percent talk together, and 75 percent read together. And at a typical Boy Scout troop meeting, 58 percent are encouraged to do their best by a leader/adult and 48 percent receive verbal encouragement from other Scouts.

Additionally, while doing activities and going on outings, 65 percent of Boy Scouts work together, receiving help from other Scouts, and 41 percent work together with adults. This type of interdependence fosters a sense of belonging and is a central tenet of the BSA style of values-based mentoring.

Nationally, more than 1 million registered adult BSA volunteers share a solid understanding of the needs, interests, and abilities of youth. Adult volunteers dedicate their time and resources to help mold the future leaders of this country. In addition to volunteer positions, they serve as Cubmasters and den leaders (for boys 6 to 10 years of age), Scoutmasters (for young men 11 to 18 years of age), or crew Advisors (for young men and women 14 to 20 years of age). Adults also serve as merit badge counselors, offering their expertise in a job or skill to help a Scout fulfill the requirements to earn a badge.

Also, 3.1 million Scouts benefit from interaction with others their own age. Involvement in the BSA program--from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and Venturing--allows youth to form friendships and bonds while attending unit meetings and participating in activities such as service projects, camping, and working on merit badges. Scouts assume leadership roles within their troop by becoming a patrol leader. Patrol leaders serve as an example to their peers, who look up to these leaders.

About the Boy Scouts of America

Serving nearly 5 million young people between 7 and 20 years of age with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America is the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.

# # #