Gulf Stream Council Launches Muslim Scout Troop

July 28, 2006

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel,0,7633613.story?coll=sfl-news-palmcomm

On July 28, 2006 South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported, "Hassene Chaabane has been a Boy Scout all his life, so he jumped at the recent opportunity to introduce scouting to a new group of youths. Chaabane, 31, who attends religious services at the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, is spearheading the formation of Cub Scout and Boy Scout Troop 394, the first Muslim troop in the Gulf Stream Council, which covers Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Hendry counties. 'I can't imagine the life of a boy without Boy Scouts,' Chaabane said. Chaabane, a native of Tunisia, drives from his home in Hallandale Beach to attend the Boca Raton mosque and help form the troop. Participating in scouting in his homeland helped him grow into the man he is today, he said. 'It taught me self-confidence, values, you name it,' he said. 'At an early age boys have a lot of energy, and if you don't direct the energy in the right direction, they will go and do bad stuff. ... That's why you see kids on the street doing bad things. Some do drugs, some go toward sex, so this is an opportunity for kids to learn about life.' Members of the mosque approached Jennifer Thomason, district executive of the Gulf Stream Council, about starting a new troop. 'We are very excited about it, because Boy Scouts are for no specific faith, and we look to any community organization of faith or not of faith to take our standards,' Thomason said, adding that there are several new troops forming in Boca Raton, two at synagogues. She is helping the elders at the mosque train to become troop leaders for the more than 40 children already signed up, while learning about the differences between the Islamic way of raising children and traditional American ways."