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Off Streets,
Into Scouts

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Temptations like vandalism and street crime are all too common for teenage boys living in low-income city neighborhoods.  Equally prevalent are low reading scores and other learning disabilities.  But reporter Jim Melchiorre in Syracuse, New York found a church and a Scout troop working together to help boys succeed.

 
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SCRIPT:

The change of season means garden chores for Eddie Crossman.

Eddie Crossman / Boy Scout: Its going to be getting cold and I dont want nothing to freeze because its close to winter. 

Eddie learned community service in the Boy Scouts at Brown Memorial United Methodist Church in Syracuse, which sponsors Troop 14.

Eddie Crossman: Its good for me and Im glad Im off the streets.

The Rev. Betty Morey / Pastor, Brown Memorial United Methodist Church: There are a lot of not-so-good alternatives for kids in terms of hanging out on the street.  There are some real issues with drugs and crime in the community.

Inner city boys struggle in a culture in which getting arrested is almost a rite of passage. Nowadays, though, when Eddies on the street, hes improving the view.

Eddie is closing in on the rank of Star third highest in scouting.  Hes a special education student, which is common in this neighborhood, and that makes his Scout success more impressive.

The Rev. Betty Morey: I can remember the first time we had the Board of Review.  He was nervous to the point of almost being in tears.  And since that time, hes become very grown-up.

Troop 14 faces a new crisis:  no Scout master, a hurdle the folks of the church say theyll overcome so everyone here can stay in Scouting.  

The Rev. Betty Morey:  We hope to continue it for a long time because it is a community effort and were trying to be a community outreach church.

Other boys like Eddie Crossman need that support and, around here, they get it.

This is Jim Melchiorre in Syracuse.

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For more information about Boy Scouts of America, check their Web site at: http://www.scouting.org.  To reach Brown Memorial United Methodist Church, call 315-478-5074.