The New York Times has a story on the Explorers program, an affiliate of the Boy Scouts. Historically, the group has trained America’s youth to be police officers and firefighters.  Now they are being trained to confront terrorist threats and illegal immigration issues.

“This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” said A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy here in Imperial County, whose life clock, he says, is set around the Explorers events he helps run. “It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.”

Explorers ready to enter a building taken by terrorists, in an exercise.

As a blood-spattered hostage, played by Yajaira Barboza, 15, lay wounded, Explorers searched the building for her shooter.

Dave Holletz, of the Brawley, Calif., police department, entered after the Explorers had killed the last hostage-taker. "Forget the injured, forget the dead," Mr. Holletz advised the Explorers. "Accomplish your mission: terminate the shooter."

(all photos from NYTimes article)

The article is a stark contrast to Alves’ article in your reader about Portuguese coming of age rituals.  Reading the two together should highlight the various ways youths are socialised into roles associated with adulthood, and also how historically situated these rites of passage can be. Edo12 and K.Ro have good summaries while RitualMand brings a personal perspective to the discussion.