Countywide : Boy Scouts Pitching to Thrifty Families

The Orange County section of the Boy Scouts of America began its annual recruitment drive this month with hopes of luring recession-weary families to Scouting by appealing to their pocketbooks.

"With the sluggish economy, it's harder for some families to join clubs" or to enroll children in extracurricular activities, said Jason Stein, spokesman for the Scouts' Orange County Council. "You do so many things in the Scouts that are inexpensive and bring people together."

Scouting fees, including dues and a uniform, run about $60 annually. Some youth camps and athletic clubs, by contrast, can cost as much as several hundred dollars.

Boy Scouts participate in a variety of activities such as nature trips, food drives and the famous Pinewood Derby, in which Scouts design and race miniature cars made from blocks of wood. Scouting gives boys a chance to relate to peers and their parents, Stein said.

"This is very much a shared program with the parents and the boys. They work together and grow together," he said. "It's more than just activities."

In Orange County, about 51,000 young boys and teen-agers were involved in Scouting last year, Stein said. The county's Scout program is divided into about 300 "packs."

For more information, call (714) 546-4990.

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