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WHAT I’VE LEARNED


Fred Young This Scouter wants to transform the inner city, one Scout at a time.


FactSheet Fred Young


SCOUTER SINCE: 1999 HOME: Mobile, Ala. CURRENT POSITIONS:


Cubmaster, Pack 283; Scoutmaster, Troop 283; Advisor, Crew 283; Cubmaster, Pack 354; Scoutmaster, Troop 354; Advisor, Crew 354


DAY JOB: Retired


FAVORITE CAMP: Camp Maubila


PROUDEST MOMENT IN SCOUTING: When I got my District Award of Merit. I’d never received an award before. To know I was receiving it for doing something with the kids made it even better.


GOOD THING THAT Fred Young has retired. He leads six Scouting units: three at his church, Liberty Missionary Baptist Church, and three at a local Boys & Girls Club. As Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, and Venturing Advisor, Young serves as a mentor and father figure to more than 50 young people, 80 percent of whom come from inner-city, single-parent families. Young’s units are part of


the Mobile Area Council’s Scoutreach District. But that doesn’t mean they get less Scouting than their subur- ban counterparts. Summer camp, service projects, and civic events all play a part in Young’s program.


HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN SCOUTING—AND WHY DO YOU STAY INVOLVED? I was a Scout at one time, but I didn’t stay a Scout long. My pastor asked me to do this once we got the Boy Scouts going in


our church, and I’ve been at it ever since. I’m retired, so this is something that keeps me going.


YOU’RE AS MUCH A MENTOR AS A SCOUT LEADER. HOW DO YOU PULL THAT OFF? Kids now think adults lecture them and don’t want to hear


16 S COUTING ¿ SEPTEMBER•OCTOBER 2010


what they have to say. But they call me all the time on my cell phone. We’ll go out to dinner, me and three or four of them, and just talk. Things they won’t talk to their parents about—whether it’s drugs or alcohol or girls or even things that are going on at home—they have enough confidence in me to talk about. Once the kids see that they have


someone who will listen to them and someone they can trust and open up to, it helps them grow to become better youth, better young adults. That’s really what keeps me going—knowing that I’m making a difference in their lives.


YOU ALSO DON’T LET KIDS SLIDE. TALK ABOUT YOUR STANDARDS. If my kids start acting up in school, I go see them once the parents tell me. I stress education with my kids. You can’t go anywhere with me if your grades aren’t where they’re sup- posed to be. I have other kids to help tutor them, to help them with what- ever they’re going through.


SINCE SO MANY OF YOUR KIDS COME FROM SINGLE-PARENT FAMILIES, DO YOU STRUGGLE TO GET VOLUNTEERS? It’s hard to get them when you first start out. When I sign up a kid, I ask the parent to sign an application, too. Then I give them a position such as


furnishing the transportation or bring- ing the snacks to get them involved. I let them understand that BSA stands for Boy Scouts of America, not Babysitters of America. I’m there for their kids and them.


WHAT ABOUT MONEY? HOW DO YOU KEEP FINANCIALLY STABLE? The kids that don’t have a lot of resources, that’s where we step in with money-earning projects. We might sell dinners; we might have car washes. I have certain


MELINDA MERCER


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