Board Statement on Racial Equality & Introduction of the Summer of Global Citizenship
Over the past month, we have watched tragic events unfold in Georgia with Ahmaud Arbery, in Minnesota with George Floyd, in Florida with Tony McDade and in Kentucky with Breonna Taylor. In the weeks that have followed, we have seen tributes, protests, sorrow, grief, frustration, and despair. These are many of the same results and feelings that we have seen unfold with similar events witnessed for far too long.
During this time, communities of color and the African American community in particular have made calls for change that have largely gone unheard. Many have been compelled to ask society whether or not they matter.
But this time, in a way that you may be able to feel like never before, it seems different. We stand in a place as a society that seems ready to make a lasting change as it relates to racial equality. For change to happen we have to act. Scouting has listened, reaffirmed its support for this part of our community by clearly stating that Black Lives Matter, and promised a series of actions to ingrain that statement more visibly in the program (see the BSA National Statement).
As a Scout Council we emphatically stand against all forms of discrimination, and can proudly demonstrate tangible progress in the area of diversity. But we humbly admit it is not nearly enough, recognize a need to regularly challenge ourselves in this area, and be of a mindset to always strive to do more.
Stunned by the horrific final 8 minutes and 46 seconds of George Floyd’s life and the aftershocks of that day, we asked ourselves what we could do locally and immediately to help make a difference. Our professional staff and Executive Board are united in providing “The Summer of Global Citizenship” with an aim of furthering the important discussions that need to take place. This will include bringing subject matter experts to our Virtual Speaker series, hosting targeted Daily Digital Den meetings, and (as public health standards allow) in person activities at Base Camp.
While “Diversity and Inclusion” is not yet a merit badge (it is coming, per the BSA statement), the key components of those values have long been embedded in the fabric of our Scout curriculum. “The Summer of Global Citizenship” shines a spotlight on the value that this curriculum brings in preparing our members to think critically, understand and value the perspective of others, and shape their personal behavior in regards to diversity and inclusion in a Scout-like manner.
Care is taken to offer program content that is appropriate to the various age groups we serve and offer parents insights on how the subject matter is relevant to goals stated above.
The Summer of Global Citizenship activities will be provided free of charge to the youth members of our Council to help ensure that economic disparities are not a barrier to developing these important skills. Registrations for certain program elements may be limited. Merit badge program will be offered through June 26 exclusively to Spirit of Adventure Council Scouts before opening to others through our Base Camp Online program.
For more information on this program, please refer to our “Summer of Global Citizenship” webpage .