Film showcases the power of Scouting but doesn’t sugarcoat it

troop-491-posterI mean no disrespect to Follow Me, Boys!, an an American classic. But that 1966 film doesn’t speak to most of today’s 30-something parents in need of a character-building organization for their son or daughter.

It especially doesn’t resonate with those parents in America’s inner cities who desperately want a way to steer their children away from violence and crime.

That’s why anyone considering Scouting needs to see Troop 491: The Adventures of the Muddy Lions.

It’s available on DVD this month.

The film from Praphetic Praductions is a work of fiction, but the premise is all too real:

A middle-schooler named Tristan lives in the inner city. His mom, wanting to keep him off the streets, signs him up for Scouting. Soon after, Tristan witnesses a murder, and the local thug demands his silence. He’s left with the choice between Scouting’s values and the code of the streets. He learns, with the help of his Scout friends, that doing the right thing isn’t easy.

Watch the trailer below, and you’ll want to see this powerful film that encapsulates the power of Scouting but does so in a way that’s gritty and avoids sentimentalism. Learn more and pre-order the DVD at the film’s official website.

The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, in its writeup about the movie, reveals that the film’s writer and director grew up in Scouting in Richmond. He “attributes much of his core values to the time he spent with his troop: leadership, achieving goals and helping others,” according to the story.

The Boy Scouts “is a counter to gang culture,” Patrick Ricks told the newspaper. “The acute need for it is still there.”

I should warn you that there is some strong language in the film — not unlike what actual Scout-age children would hear on the streets. I’d encourage you to watch it yourself before screening it for older Scouts.

How the BSA is using Troop 491

The Boy Scouts of America is harnessing the power of Troop 491 to recruit chartered organizations into Scouting.

As this Scout Wire post explains, the BSA is developing campaign materials for councils to use Troop 491 to help “start conversations with churches about organizing a Cub Scout pack or Boy Scout troop as part of their ministry to youth.”

Expect to see that campaign early next year.

In the meantime, watch the trailer below and order the DVD here.

11 thoughts on “Film showcases the power of Scouting but doesn’t sugarcoat it

  1. Another good movie – a documentary – – 759: Boy Scouts of Harlem DVD – go to their website to order it.

    Well done – as I remember, suitable for showing to a troop – I don’t remember any bad language – it’s $9.99

    No, I’m not trying to market it (I’m from Texas) – I’m just recommending it as a good uplifting movie about scouting.

  2. Everyone talks about “Follow Me Boys” but very rarely does anyone talk about “Mr. Scoutmaster” starring Clifton Webb from the early 1950’s.

    Looking forward to this new movie on Scouting.

  3. From watching the movie trailer, it would appear that this would be a tremendous tool for Scoutreach.

  4. I just watched this movie and thought it was well done. I think it could be a great tool for the BSA to reach and serve more youth.

  5. Thanks for finally covering this important film, Bryan.

    My troop was involved in a small way with this film, providing uniforms and set pieces for the scout hut, and ever since then I have been preaching the good news. Young men today need Scouting’s influence as much as ever, and Troop 491 shows that in a way that today’s young men can relate to. Troop 491is especially important given the current media environment.

    For potential viewers out there, I would temper Bryan’s warning by saying that I’d call the movie PG-13 given maybe 5 cuss words and the thematic elements of urban violence. It’s important to remember that this is a film set in a certain context, and I think the writer/director Mr. Ricks did an excellent job of balancing that urban reality (Richmond is a tiny city with a huge per capita murder rate) with the need to create a film that can be shown to younger audiences and families–it doesn’t glorify or apologize for the setting, nor does it turn Richmond into a Disney trope. A local church here hosts screenings regularly.

  6. If you are in the San Francisco area, this film will screen at the San Francisco Black Film Festival *this* Saturday, June 14 at 12:00 PM. You can buy tickets and get the address at

    If you are in the Philadelphia area, Troop 491 will be playing in the Black Star Film Festival. Times haven’t been published yet, but the festival runs July 31-Aug 3rd, keep an eye out for the screening time at

Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s