Youth: Good Turn

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Generating interest among blasé slum kids—and their parents—has not been easy. An organizer in Newark had to go door to door and hold 25 public meetings to find enough adults to volunteer as Scout workers. In Philadelphia, confronted by parental apathy, an organizer learned that neighborhood youths had been swiping tools off Bell Telephone trucks. He staked out the company garage, caught several of them in the act, and made them the nucleus of a new troop.

Another objective of Scouting's new look has been to broaden the base of Scout sponsorship, long confined largely to churches and civic groups. Because of national council initiatives, Scout groups run by public-housing authorities have increased since 1960 from 210 to 704, those sponsored by settlement houses from 250 to 380. There are now 39 Scout groups at federal Job Corps camps, 14 at New Jersey's Camp Kilmer alone. As a "middleclass institution," says Job Corps Official David Gottlieb, Scouting appeals to Job Corps boys who "want to make it."

Lazy Gents Post. In revamping their sluggish Explorer program for older youth (14 to 17), national leaders concluded in 1959 that high-schoolers were vitally interested in careers; the Scouts were soon coaxing business and industry into sponsoring "specialinterest" posts. Explorer membership has since increased 20% to 316,000, and nearly half of all posts have largely abandoned hiking and camping to concentrate instead on such businesslike specialties as engineering, banking and merchandising. Houston's Explorer Post 997 is sponsored by Esso Production Research Co., whose scientists are helping Charles Haskett, 16, construct a laser.

A three-year-old surfing post in Coronado, Calif., brings in oceanographers and water pollution experts to talk to its 100 members, is credited by local authorities with sharply reducing vandalism and litter on the beaches. Chicago's Law Enforcement Post 9004 consists of ten members of a gang called the Lazy Gents. All have police records, and their advisers are two police detectives. "They're a tough bunch," says Detective Arthur Leidecker, 25. "They won't follow any program." Even so, Leidecker and his partner have made favorable impressions. Since the post was formed last fall, six gang members have taken part-time jobs, and a few have expressed a budding interest in becoming policemen.

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