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Boy Scouts see Hispanics as key to boosting ranks

As it prepares to turn 100, the Boy Scouts of America is honing its survival skills for what might be its biggest test yet: drawing Hispanics into its declining — and mostly white — ranks.

"We either are going to figure out how to make Scouting the most exciting, dynamic organization for Hispanic kids, or we're going to be out of business," said Rick Cronk, former national president of the Boy Scouts, and chairman of the World Scout Committee.

The venerable Scouts remains the United States' largest youth organization, with 2.8 million children and youths, nearly all of them boys. But that is nearly half its peak membership, reached in 1972.

Its rolls took hits through the 1980s and '90s over a still-standing ban on gay or atheist leaders, and scandals surrounding inflated membership numbers. In addition, teenagers raised on TV and shoot-'em-up games had less use for learning to build a campfire or memorize the Scout oath.

The country changed too. One in five children under 18 is Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census. But they make up only 3 percent of Scouts. READ FULL STORY

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