Students Needed to Volunteer for ScoutREACH

A collage of the ScoutREACH group at Norwood Park Elementary

Students Needed to Volunteer for ScoutREACH

27 Nov 2018    By Mac Carney

“I really wanted to give back to Scouts because it gave my children an opportunity to learn good values and discipline,” Roz Hussin explains why she wants to give back to Boy Scouts. Hussin is an Instructional Design Specialist for the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She could have sold popcorn or donated money, like most mothers that want to give back to the Scouts. Instead, Hussin became the District Commissioner for the ScoutREACH program.

ScoutREACH is a program run by the Boy Scouts of America Cornhusker Council that serves underserved youth in the Lincoln area. This program teams up with elementary and middle schools to provide the ‘Boy Scout Experience’ for youth who do not have access to traditional Boy Scouts activities. ScoutREACH still does a lot of the same activities as Boy Scouts, like archery and learning life skills, but there is less financial obligation, and parent involvement is minimal. It is offered as an after school program, which means parents don’t have to take time off work to pick their kids up at 3 p.m., and youth still get the ability to socialize and make relationships that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

Hussin started volunteering and restructuring ScoutREACH 3 years ago. Since then, the program has boomed with growth. In 2015 only 40 youth were involved in the program, in 4 schools, and as of fall 2018, 290 youth are involved in ScoutREACH in 19 schools in the Lincoln area, including two middle schools. The program is hoping to expand to other Nebraska schools in the Lincoln area between 2018-2020. The success of getting youth involved in the program has created a strong need for volunteers. Volunteers, called Scholars, help with coordination and implementation of programs in line with the Boy Scouts of America Cornhusker Council. Scholars will focus on communication and advocacy, and are given opportunities to present at educational conferences and other academic events.

Education major students are wanted to become Scholars for ScoutREACH. There are many benefits to becoming a Scholar. Since the program serves underserved youth, there is a lot of inconsistency in attendance and class sizes. A student that was there last week, may not be there tomorrow. This requires flexibility and preparedness. Scholars learn to adapt to a constantly changing environment. Will Tietmeyer has participated in ScoutREACH all four years of his college career. “When I decided that I wanted to go into teaching I figured helping with ScoutREACH would be a great way to gain experience in teaching. ScoutREACH did just that for me. I've been taking what I've learned from college and implementing it in to my ScoutREACH clubs,” Tietmeyer explained the benefits he received as a teacher through ScoutREACH. “There was definitely a learning curve at the beginning, I was almost never prepared when I first started. Every week I always thought I had prepared, but every week I was not prepared enough. Either my lesson was too quick, too long, or my lesson was not well planned out. After working with ScoutREACH and teachers in the schools I have learned a lot about working with students and creating lesson plans. I also learned from trial and error how to plan a lesson that's meaningful and takes up the correct amount of time.” He will be starting the ScoutREACH program in Seward, NE after he graduates.

Scholars also receive scholarships when they complete the ScoutREACH program. Scholarships are usually enough to cover some books. Another bonus is that Scholars can receive school credit for completing a Service Learning project.

While the ScoutREACH is calling for Education Majors to help teach youth, there are several different ways someone can help the program. The volunteers at ScoutREACH host an annual Dodgeball Tournament to raise money for the program. Teams get together and play a fun day of dodgeball. What better way to have fun while still raising money for charity? There is also a Pinewood Derby, which gets the youth of ScoutREACH involved, as well as donors to the program. Of course, someone can always hold their own fundraiser and donate the proceeds to ScoutREACH.

ScoutREACH serves underserved youth, and gives them the opportunity to develop the same leadership skills as traditional Boy Scouts. Volunteering with ScoutREACH is a great opportunity for education students to encounter different challenges, and develop flexibility. If you would like to volunteer to become a Scholar and impact the lives of our youth, please apply on Handshake by December 7, 2018 and search After School Scout Leader Internship.

College of Education and Human Sciences