Community Makes Refugee Boy Scout Campout Possible Through Donations

HOLLADAY, Utah (ABC4 News) - A group of refugee Boy Scouts are saying “thank you,” to a Holiday neighborhood who helped supply them with the warm clothes they desperately needed for a winter camping trip 10 days ago. 

“As we were planning for a camping trip we realized that they didn’t have the right camping gear, they didn’t have boots, they didn’t have gloves, they didn’t have enough coats.  We knew we had to go find them and we had to find them very quickly,” said Scott Brown, co-chair of the Utah Refugee Boy Scouts Committee.

So, Brown posted a bulletin at a local church and a neighbor happened to see the bulletin.  Brown says the neighbor asked if he she could post about it on the social media app Nextdoor and within hour he was receiving donations on his front door step; most of the items just recently purchased.

“In about 3 or 4 days I had 20 pairs of boots, and 30 pairs of gloves, and hats and coats and scarves and other winter gear,” Brown said.  

About 30 boys went on the overnight camping trip to Camp Tracy in Salt Lake City.  Not only did they get to enjoy the snow — which many had never seen before — but they learned vital survival skills and earned merit badges.  The boys ranging in age from 11 years-old to 17 years-old all come from as many as 15 different countries from around the world.  

“They came from Somalia, Congo, Tanzania, Pakistan, Bosnia, Kenya, Egypt South Sudan the Sudan and many other countries,” added Brown.  

 

The boys, Brown says, were so appreciative for the warm clothing they had received from strangers which helped make the camping trip, a first for many of them, an enjoyable experience. 

“I mean you should’ve seen it because some of these boys have never seen snow before and they had the times of their lives,” said Brown. 

Brown says these sort of experiences are instrumental in helping these young refugee boys assimilate into American culture and developing critical social skills.  But they also learn vital survival and life skills that will serve them well as they grow up.  

We want them to have the experience that any other American young man has” says Brown. “We want them to have the opportunity too become part of our country.”

With the way our current political climate is surrounding social media, immigration, and refugees, Brown says it’s nice to see social media being used for good.  He encourages people to branch out and meet and get to know people from other countries.  You’ll be surprised just how much alike you are, he says.  

“They are not different than we are.  That they think about the same things they care about the same things that they’re good kind human beings just like people in Salt Lake area,” says Brown.

Want To Help?

Brown says the troops are relatively brand new and don’t have as many resources or supplies as other troops that have been around for years.  They will be holding gear drives to help bring in supplies for spring and summer camp outs.  But they also are looking to expand and help introduce more refugee boys to the Boy Scouts.  If you would like to make a contribution, Brown says you an do so by going to the Boys Scouts of America and saying you want to contribute to the Utah Refugee Scouts.  

About Nextdoor

Nextdoor is a social media app for neighborhoods.  Launched in 2011, it is a free online platform that allows neighbors to create private social networks for their neighborhoods and communicate with each other.  The goal is to help build strong and safer neighborhoods.  

Since it launched it has about 125,000 neighborhoods across all 50 states.  There neighbors can share and talk about a variety of topics ranging from local events, school activities, service provider recommendations, recent crime activity, garage sales and even lost pets notices.  

Currently there are more than 900 websites launched across the Salt Lake area.  


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