Over the past three months, 11 teenagers from Brooklyn have devoted hundreds of hours to preparing for a national mock trial competition organized by Learning for Life, a subsidiary program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) — but if the nonprofit program doesn't collect enough money, they might not be able to compete.
Finding the needed funds has been difficult in the past, executives said, but never so challenging as it is this year, in spite of BSA's extensive connections and students' glowing reports about the law Exploring program.
From July 25-29 this summer, Chris Walken v. Bright Beginners Daycare will be the case on advocate Arlana Henry's mind at a civil trial to be held in downtown Chicago. A typical legal case — except Henry is a Brooklyn high school student and the case is the basis of a national mock trial competition. For the fifth consecutive summer, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office has partnered with the Boy Scouts' Exploring program to prepare two teams of high school students to compete in the National Mock Trial Competition.
The entire cost of the competition is usually provided by the Exploring program for participants in New York City, although the program in some other cities requires the student participants to fund themselves. Gathering the $425 fee for the conference, plus travel costs of up to several hundred dollars per participant, has often been difficult, but this year has proved to be a particular problem. So much so, that if $8,000 to $10,000 more isn't raised in the next three weeks, the teams' chances to compete will be jeopardized, according to Exploring Executive Director Robert Hayes.