Local Treasures with Pia: Bringing "Scoutreach" to West Central

Spokane, Washington – The West Central Community Center sits at the top of Doomsday Hill, the steep incline of North Pettet Drive made famous by Bloomsday. The center serves a diverse neighborhood, and that’s one of the reasons why Jeff Philipps thought it the perfect location for the new West Central Community Center Boy Scout outreach pilot program.  

“So many programs at West Central Community Center are focused on the same things we focus on as scouts,” Philipps said. He has been on the Inland Northwest Council of Boy Scouts of America board for almost 20 years. He said scouting is too often reserved for wealthier neighborhoods where parents can pay the various fees involved in the program.  

“To access scouting is not an option for underserved youth, so that’s why we are doing a two-year pilot outreach program at West Central Community Center,” Philipps said. The West Central Community Center Boy Scout outreach program recently received a grant from the Avista Foundation.

The program is similar to what used to be called Scoutreach, a scouting outreach program that targeted inner-city youth and helped them get into scouting.  

Philipps added that this program is for all children of any gender and background between kindergarten and fifth grade.

“We hope to be up and running in April, and the goal is to enroll 20 youth this year and another 20 youth next year,” Philipps said.

Boy Scout leaders are typically male, said Philipps, and many now have daughters who want to go with their brothers on scouting excursions and programs.

“It’s turning into more of a family thing,” Philipps said.

One challenge for the outreach program will be cultivating volunteer leaders and finding a sustainable model beyond the two-year pilot program.

“A scout leader from the council office will manage the Scouting program,” Philipps said. “They will lead together with someone from West Central Community Center, and that’s where the activities will be.”

At Avista, we recognize our unique position gives us the chance to contribute in an impactful way and make a real difference in people’s lives. Since 2002, the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling over $13 million to organizations that support vulnerable and limited income populations, education, and economic and cultural vitality. The foundation is a separate, non-profit organization established by Avista Corp., and does not receive funding from Avista Utilities’ customers through rates. For more information on grant applications and geographical areas covered, please visit avistafoundation.com.

Visit nwscouts.org to learn more about scouting or call the office at (509) 325-4562 and ask for Megan West, to learn more about the West Central program.

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