Though thousands of young men have passed through his watch as Scoutmaster of the all-Hmong Troop 100, Dave Moore’s 70-year-old mind can still recall the smallest of details when conjuring memories of one particular Scout or another.
Among some of the more notable Scouts that have proudly worn the Troop 100 patch are State Representative Cy Thao; real estate broker and husband to Sen. Mee Moua, Yee Chang; and most recently, Bee Vue who is currently on a full scholarship to M.I.T.
Since his first encounter with the Hmong in 1981, Moore has devoted his life to working with Hmong kids through the Boy Scouts. Though he has won numerous awards for his efforts, his greatest reward is simply “to help shape and develop a boy into a man through scouting.”
Where are the Hmong dads?
Sprawled throughout the campsite, different troops have set-up their headquarters. Comprised mostly of young Caucasian boys and their dads, the troops are putting up their tents and preparing for nightfall.
Partaking in the age-old tradition of camping out with their sons, the groups of dads seem to enjoy their participation just as much as their sons.
Things are different at the Troop 100 campsite. Although easily the largest group at this Scouting event, Troop 100 lacks even one dad.
When asked if the absence of dads was typical, Moore thinks for just a second and concludes with some surprise, “Come to think of it, we’ve never had a dad join their son during a scouting event.”
In the 25 years that he’s been with Hmong kids, he corrects himself, there was one occasion when a few parents accompanied their kids on a field-trip to a farm where some of the parents experienced horse-back riding.
There was a time when Moore attempted to hold a “Father-son campout”, but when the time came, “The dads didn’t couldn’t show-up and the event was cancelled.”
Attributing the lack of involvement to following the custom of not interfering with a boy’s learning process, Moore believes that Hmong parents simply do not involve themselves with their kid’s social activities because they have full trust in him to lead their children on the right path.
“In many ways, I become like their dad.”
When asked if he ever felt sad his father never accompanied him on scouting events, 16-year-old Asia Thao’s face scrunched like he bit into a lemon and proclaimed, “No way, I come scouting to get away from my family! Besides, Dave’s like our dad!”
What’s with winning all the time?
Troop 100 is the oldest and the largest all-Hmong Scouting troop in the Twin Cities. While they all conduct their own troop business, one element holds true among all the Hmong troops: Hmong Boy Scouts love to compete and they winning is the name of the game.
Whether it’s a sport or a team-building activity, Hmong Scouts seem to come out on top more times than none when they compete against other troops. Laughing with a hint of modesty, Moore explains, “These Hmong kids just have so much pride and can’t stand to lose.”
Pha Vue, 30, the eldest scout in Troop 100 explains that while other troops wait for their dads to devise a plan, the Hmong kids are able to carry out their own plan of attack, “Which gives us an advantage because we’re the ones who do all the work and it builds our teamwork skills, which is the most important element in Scouting competitions.”
Who pays for all this?
It’s a scouting axiom that “A scout will pay his own way in” and Troop 100 is the perfect example of how a troop of more than 80 members can participate in monthly camping trips and an annual road trip to a campsite out of state.
Every winter, Troop 100 goes door-to-door and sells fruit. These sales alone pay for most of the events that the troop participate in on a yearly basis. Aside from a few individual donations and some contributions from Westminster Church in Minneapolis (where the troop holds its weekly meetings), Troop 100, like most other Boy Scout Troops, is not funded by any government or charitable groups.
Dave Moore himself is a full-time volunteer and relies heavily on the efforts of past Scouts to help out every now and then.
How to join:
Scouting is a fun, meaningful way to spend your youth. Here are some contacts for you to call if you are interested in signing up for yourself or your children:
Apostle Thao-Xiong Sunrise River Executive 651-254-9121
Houa Xiong North Star Executive 651-254-9126
Vong Thor Silver Maple Executive 763-231-7232