Editor's note: This is the 18th in a series of stories highlighting the 21 agencies to receive United Way's annual campaign funds. The next article will run in Saturday's edition of The Telegram.

BY RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

After the addition of two bilingual staff members at the Santa Fe Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the county's organization continues to grow.

John Hogg, scout executive director, said in Finney County alone, the agency saw a 12 percent increase from 2010. Overall, membership of the SFTC is up 2.8 percent from 2010.

The scouts are one of 21 agencies that will receive money from Finney County United Way. That money will help fund programs and train leaders. The scouts are set to receive $15,000, which is more than the $13,000 given earlier this year. Hogg said the increase in scouts and the addition of staff members factored in to the larger donation from United Way.

During the past year, STFC hired Mary Barrajas, registrar in Garden City, and Patricia Tovilla, district executive of the Cimarron River District out of Liberal.

The women help with bilingual duties at the agency, as well as recruit new members.

"When a Spanish-speaking family or Spanish-speaking people call, they have someone to speak to," he said.

Hogg said that having staff able to communicate in Spanish has helped the agency.

"It made a huge difference. There are so many young Hispanics in our community," he said.

Hogg said some Hispanic families didn't know about scouting, while others didn't think it was for them.

"Most scouting in Mexico is for the more affluent, not necessarily the average person. Anybody with any kind of economic background can join scouting," he said.

In addition to adding bilingual staff, Hogg said the scouts are growing in other ways. The scouts will be doing a drug prevention program in schools that will be partly funded by the United Way. The dollars also will be used to train leaders. Leaders will be required to be trained in youth protection, or how to recognize and report child abuse.

Hogg said the club has two main goals this year: to make sure every scout advances in rank, and to get more kids involved in camp.

Coming up this weekend, scouts will be racing Cub mobiles, similar to the Pinewood Derby, from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Third and Mary streets.

Other agencies that will benefit from the 2012 United Way funds are: Finney County RSVP; Kansas Children's Service League; Catholic Social Service; Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Program; Smart Start; Playground Program; Family Crisis Services; Spirit of the Plains, CASA; The Salvation Army; Meals on Wheels; Habitat for Humanity; Garden City Family YMCA; Garden City Chapter of the Red Cross; Miles of Smiles; Russell Child Development Center; Community Day Care Center; United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries; United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny Counties; and Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.

Santa Fe Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America

Contact: John Hogg, Scout executive

Address: 1513 E. Fulton Terrace

Phone: 275-5162

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday