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WHAT TO WATCH
From Harlem to Camp Keowa
Ingredients for a moving, heartwarming documentary film:
1 Energetic, determined Scouts from Troop 759 in New York City’s Harlem
2 A wise and caring Scoutmaster
3 Two skilled filmmakers (one non-Scout, one Eagle Scout)
The result is 759: Boy Scouts of Harlem, a film that follows four of the Harlem
Scouts from the skyscrapers and teeming streets of New York City to the vernal
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woods of Camp Keowa in upstate New York. F
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Boy Scouts of Harlem is the brainchild of directors Justin Szlasa (rhymes with
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“plaza”) and Jake Boritt, who also supplied the film’s often stunning camera work.
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For Szlasa, an Eagle Scout from a longtime Scouting family, the film was a way to
salute an organization that did much to shape his early life. “I really felt obliged to
WHAT’S NEW
give back and spread the word” about Scouting, he says.
Does Scouting
Matter?
Everybody knows, or thinks they know,
that Scouting helps young people grow
into good citizens with strong character,
leadership skills, and a solid ethical foun-
dation. Now, that’s being put to scientific
scrutiny. Baylor University’s Institute
for Studies of Religion is launching a
series of studies examining the role of
Scouting in developing and sustaining
what social scientists call “prosocial
behavior.” The two-year project is funded
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by a $992,000 grant from the John

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Templeton Foundation.
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Baylor’s Dr. Byron Johnson, the proj-
ect’s principal investigator, hopes the
The filmmakers chose Troop 759, which meets at the
Church of the Master in Harlem. That’s where they met
studies will definitively answer a number
Scoutmaster Okpoti Sowah, a Ghanan-born graduate of
of important questions about Boy Scouts,
Columbia University who has been a Scout leader since
including “Does Scouting matter?” and
1978, and new Scout Keith Dozier, who gets plenty of A
J “Is Scouting associated with beneficial
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screen time as he faces the challenges of Camp Keowa:
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results over time?”
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the climbing tower, strange noises in the night, and
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I Baylor will work with the Gallup
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repeated attempts to become a swimmer.
Organization to identify large, nationally
Bonding with the troop through 2007 and 2008, the filmmakers compiled
representative samples of men who were
180 hours of film that they whittled into a 72-minute testimonial to the fun and
and were not Scouts. Further compari-
fellowship of Scouting.
sons will be made between non-Scouts,
Look for the film starting May 1 on PBS stations across the country. Check
Eagle Scouts, and former Scouts who did
your local listings for times and dates. To see clips from the film, purchase a copy,
or arrange a money-earning opportunity for your troop, go to harlemscouts.com.
not attain the rank of Eagle. Then we’ll
see if science backs up what everybody
knows.
8 S CO U T I N G ¿ M A RC H • A P R I L 2 01 0 M A RC H • A P R I L 2 01 0 thinspace thinspace¿ SCOUTING 9
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