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Boy Scouts of America chartered the Honolulu-based Aloha Council to deliver the 109-year-old organization’s suite of programs to young people in Hawaii and the Pacific. The Aloha Council serves nearly 11,000 young people through four programs: Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Exploring.
Scouting fills the need for a holistic youth development program in our community. Parents and children are faced with an assortment of activities from which to choose and these often focus on a single aspect of a child’s development. As a comprehensive program, Scouting helps children develop the attitudes, behaviors, and skill sets to prepare for academic, career, and life success.
Last fall, Scouting began admitting girls to Cub Scouts and nearly 400 girls joined in the first few months. We increased the number of Cub Scouts who went camping and increased the number of program leaders who received training. In 2019, we plan to grow the number of youths participating in our programs.
The programs we offer include:
Cub Scouts: A family and home-centered program that helps boys and girls from kindergarten through fifth grade build character, citizenship, teamwork, leadership, and fitness through activities like camping and hiking. Family members are encouraged to play an active role in the program.
Scouts BSA: This program, formerly known as “Boy Scouts,” is the traditional Scouting experience for boys and girls from fifth grade through high school. Service, community engagement, and leadership development are emphasized in the program as youth lead their own activities and work toward earning the rank of Eagle Scout, the program’s highest distinction. Common activities include skill training, camping, and volunteering.
Venturing: Youth take the lead in this program that engages freshmen in high school through early college in activities like kayaking and designing a robot. Venturing provides a positive and leadership-driven co-educational experience that encourages 14 through 20-year-olds to pursue their interests while teaching their peers.
Exploring: This career-exploration program targets those ages 14 – 20 and provides opportunities for participants to discover the interdependence of their personal relationships and communities. Explorers receive hands-on career experience and one-on-one mentorship.
Scoutreach: Aloha Council also provides a pathway called Scoutreach for youth from economically changed backgrounds. This after-school effort meets on a weekly basis for 37 weeks and provides youth with a routine, structured experience that rewards their progress through a Scouting handbook. There are no fees or costs for participants.
The mission of Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
The Aloha Council has well-established and robust mechanisms to engage with and learn from the communities we serve. The Scouting organizational chart provides multiple avenues for volunteer leaders to communicate with their peers, as well as Aloha Council staff who are responsible for providing program guidance and support.
Our service area is divided into seven geographic districts, overseen by experienced volunteer District Chairs who ensure that two-way communication (from Council to the districts, and from the districts to the Council) is regularly maintained. Input from our community is heavily utilized by the Aloha Council and the national Boy Scouts of America organization. For example, the decision to admit girls was based on feedback from existing Scouting families and leaders who wanted a robust program in which the whole family could participate.
Community involvement also occurs organically through our Scouts’ service requirements. To advance in rank, our thousands of Cub Scouts, Scouts, Venturers, and Explorers must complete a minimum number of community service hours. Units and their members are required to take a leadership role in identifying community needs, contacting partners, and performing meaningful projects. In 2018, Aloha Council’s Scouts and leaders recorded more than 120,000 hours of community service.