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The Scoutreach Division gives special leadership and emphasis to urban and rural Scouting programs. Scoutreach is the BSA’s commitment to making sure that all young people have an opportunity to join Scouting, regardless of their circumstances, neighborhood, or ethnic background.

Today, young people are faced with many challenges as they often face fragile families and disintegrating neighborhoods. Scoutreach meets the developmental needs of youth in urban settings as diverse as the Latino neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles and the housing developments of Washington, D.C. The program also focuses on the U.S. rural population, which constitutes approximately 25 percent of the total U.S. population. Some rural communities are stable and growing, whereas others are characterized by decentralized, low-density populations and/or poverty.

Scouting, by emphasizing ethics and moral values, addresses many of the social concerns of parents and youth in our country. Scouting prepares urban and rural youth to be leaders, to accept responsibility, and to care about principles and causes beyond their own self-interest.

Our biggest asset in urban and rural neighborhoods is a well-defined program based on values, learning-by-doing, fun, and positive role models.

Scoutreach Mission

To recruit strong adult leaders and to develop solid relationships with chartered organizations in urban and rural communities nationwide to ensure that culturally diverse youth have the opportunity to join the Scouting program.


  • More than 70 percent of the projected growth in America’s youth population will take place in or near our major urban centers.
  • Almost one in every five children in the United States lives in poverty (18.3 percent: Current Population Survey Report, 1998).
  • Minority children are more likely to be poorer than white children from low-income families.
  • Since the 1970s, the population of American children living with just one parent increased from 10 percent to 28 percent in 1997 (Current Population Reports, March, 1997, page 20-509).
  • Minority groups are growing more than seven times as fast as the majority population.
  • The highest rates of increase will be in the Hispanic-origin and Asian populations. After 2020, Hispanic populations are projected to add more people to the United States every year than all other race/ethnic groups combined (Current Population Survey, 1996, pages 25 and 130).
  • Half of all Hispanic Americans (17.7 million) live in just two states: California and Texas.
  • Nearly 65 percent of Asian Americans live in just 25 metropolitan areas, 12 of which are in California (Current Population Survey, 1996).
  • African American population increased faster than the total U.S. population between 1990 and 2000, according to the 2000 U.S. Census Report.


Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award
This national award is used by Councils to recognize outstanding service by an adult individual or by an organization in the development of Scouting for rural or low-income urban youth. Sometimes this award helps councils recognize “unsung heroes”—people who might not otherwise receive recognition for exceptional service to disadvantaged youth

The Spirit of Scouting Award
The Spirit of Scouting Award is designed for presentation to a noteworthy individual who has performed exceptional and unusual service to young people in urban and rural America over a long period. The award is presented to individuals at the unit level and to people of all races and income levels.

Scouting—Vale la Pena Service Award
The Scouting—Vale la Pena Service Award is used by councils to recognize Scouting volunteers, community leaders, or corporations that have had a positive impact in the service of Hispanic American/Latino youth in urban and rural communities.

Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award
The Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award is used by councils to recognize Scouting volunteers, community leaders, or corporations that have had a positive impact in the service of Asian American youth in urban and rural communities.