Boy Scouts of America Recognizes National Mentoring Month

NEWS RELEASE

Boy Scouts of America Recognizes National Mentoring Month,
Incorporates Mentoring as Foundation for Scouting Programs

IRVING, TEXAS (January 3, 2006)—Today, 15.1 million young people - slightly less than half the population of young people between 10 and 18 years of age - comprise the nation's mentoring gap, according to The National Mentoring Partnership. With this deficit a tremendous need for quality mentoring exists among American youth. In recognition of this shortage, the nation's leading youth service organization, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), is recognizing National Mentoring Month this January as part of its ongoing efforts to instill leadership qualities among American youth and encourages individuals to consider becoming a mentor in their communities.

Mentoring positively impacts the lives of youth and for more than 95 years the BSA has incorporated mentoring as a primary method in its values-based program by focusing on personal advancement, growth and leadership development. The BSA continues that legacy of positive influence and leadership through its Good Turn for America initiative by encouraging its Scouts to exhibit leadership in doing a 'Good Turn' daily for their communities and their peers, even helping mentor others along the way. Scouting programs contain a fundamental mentoring and leadership component to provide the ultimate learning experience for youth. In fact, a recent study showed that experiences from Scouting teach respect, confidence and goal setting among its constituents.

According to the Values of American's (VoA) study Scouts say that experiences in Scouting have taught Scouts to respect others, to be self confident, to set goals and to do their best. In fact, a large number of men say Scouting activities had a positive effect on their school life and positively influenced their career development and advancement as an adult. Parents play an especially important role in mentoring. The VoA study cites that 79 percent of youth say their parents' opinions about clubs or activities is important - a significantly higher percentage than opinions from their friends or celebrities.

"It is our social responsibility to ensure American youth receive the guidance they deserve in all aspects of life," said Al Westburg, director, Cub Scout division of the BSA. "Parents should play an active role in this process. That is why parental involvement is built into Scouting programs. In fact, most youth feel that their parents are the most influential persons in teaching values, which is why mentoring and leadership are fundamental components of the BSA."

Scouting places special emphasis on critical elements of youth development, including caring and nurturing relationships with parents, other adults and peers. Activities in Scouting encourage family togetherness and community involvement. Scouts are encouraged and complimented for giving their best efforts, which instills a sense of value and belonging.

Historically, the BSA offers a variety of mentor-Scout activities. One example is Pinewood Derby. This is a pack activity that involves making and racing model cars on a track. Throughout January, Scouts and Scout leaders will work together to build, refine and race their cars as Pinewood Derby season hits full stride. This is another example of learning activities that facilitate mentoring relationships and contribute to continuing the education process.

Also, BSA's continues its commitment to mentoring through the Order of the Arrow Scoutreach Mentoring program designed to identify and further develop urban and rural Scout troops with camping and advancement programs. This commitment ties into the BSA's Good Turn for America (GTFA) Initiative where those involved in Scoutreach strive to create more opportunities for urban and rural Scouts and to provide additional, positive support for the traditionally underserved urban and rural Scouts and adult leaders.

Since its inception, the BSA has trained young people in citizenship, service, and leadership to better serve America's communities and families through its quality, values-based program. In the past 95 years, the nearly 110 million members of Scouting have provided countless hours of service. The more than 1.7 million Eagle Scouts alone have provided an estimated 36 million hours of service through their Eagle projects. Good Turn for America aims to make a substantial positive impact on the nation by providing millions of volunteer hours to benefit those in need. More information about mentoring and philanthropic leadership is available from the BSA at www.goodturnforamerica.org

Serving nearly 4.9 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. For more information on the BSA, please visit old.scouting.org.

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