Scouting looking to restore its appeal

Geoff Heller of Boys Scouts of America, Troop 357, places American Legion, DAV, & VFW poppies and forget me nots on veteran's graves during the Vale Cemetery Memorial Day Services on Monday May 25, 2015. (Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer)Geoff Heller of Boys Scouts of America, Troop 357, places American Legion, DAV, & VFW poppies and forget me nots on veteran's graves during the Vale Cemetery Memorial Day Services on Monday May 25, 2015. (Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer)

Officials push family aspect, fresh activities

BY KELLY DE LA ROCHA
Gazette Reporter

CAPITAL REGION — As summer, the season synonymous with Scout camp, draws near, membership in both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts is down.

Citing competition from other extracurricular activities and a challenging economy, area councils are working to attract new members.

The Twin Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America encompasses 13 counties and includes the Capital Region. The council has about 9,000 Scouts and between 4,500 and 5,000 adult volunteers. Membership is “down a little bit,” said CEO Richard Stockton.

“We’re trying very hard to get more parents involved and to show more of the family aspect of what Scouting is, especially at the Cub Scout level,” he said.

Scouting is most popular with boys in grades 1-5, when members are Cub Scouts, Stockton said.

In addition to the standard hiking, camping and fishing merit badges, Boy Scouts can now earn badges for things like robotics and video game coding.

“Our whole concept is we want the kids to try something and see if they like it before they decide to become a nuclear physicist,” Stockton explained.

Read more at The Daily Gazette.