"Troop 491: The Adventures of the Muddy Lions" is the story of Tristan, a boy coping with life in the inner-city projects. His mother enrolls him in Boy Scouting in an effort to keep him off the streets. But when Tristan witnesses a homicide, a local thug demands his silence. Now he must learn, with the help of his new friends, that doing the right thing isn’t always easy. Will he follow the code of the streets or the code of the Boy Scouts?
The movie’s powerful story contains messages that resonate with today’s youth. Since the release of "Troop 491," numerous Scouting councils have planned local showings to help with membership recruitment and new-unit development in urban and inner-city areas.
“They saw their own struggles, fears, and aspirations reflected back at them.”
In late 2013, community leaders in Fort Pierce, Florida, reached out to their local Boy Scouts of America council after several failed attempts to combat serious gang issues in their community.
Under the leadership of Scout Executive Jeff Isaac, the Gulf Stream Council in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, launched its Restoring the Village concept. As part of that effort, Van Duzer Foundation President Scott Van Duzer signed on to help start Troop 772 with 26 young men.
The council held a screening of “Troop 491: The Adventures of the Muddy Lions” as a recruiting tool in the area’s toughest junior high school and saw immediate, impactful results. Isaac said that the young men who saw the film easily recognized themselves in the characters projected on the screen. “They saw their own struggles, fears, and aspirations reflected back at them,” he said.
Today, Troop 772 has a waiting list of young men who want to join because they have been able to see how Scouting can be relevant in their own lives. “We now have plans to share ‘Troop 491’ in our other hard-to-serve areas,” Isaac said.