In 1997, President Bill Clinton held an historic summit on volunteerism. At this conference, he and General Colin Powell challenged all youth organizations to make a commitment to provide service in their surrounding communities. The Boy Scouts of America committed 200 million hours of service by the end of the year 2000. This led to the Boy Scouts developing a program called “Service to America.”
The Narragansett Council has delivered 64,000 hours of documented service to Rhode Island and to towns in Massachusetts and Connecticut in the past two Scouting program years (1998, 1999). More people are being helped locally because of the Scouts. They are a dramatic force for good in our communities. The Narragansett Council pledged that during the Scouting year 2000-2001 (June 1st to May 31), their Scouts and Leaders, staff and volunteers, parents and youth will give 90,000 hours of service to local communities.
There are several phases of the program to be completed by volunteer youth and adult members of the Boy Scouts of America. These phases include, but are not limited to:
- Community Renewal – cemetery clean ups, playground improvements
- Duty to God – church painting, organizing hikes to houses of worship to educate people about different religions
- Reclaiming our Heritage – help at Roger William’s National Park, participate in Memorial Day events, educate people about the sacrifices of Patriots
- Conservation Good Turns – Earth Day programs, trail work, duck boxes
- Feeding the Hungry – Scouting for Food, soup kitchens
- Citizenship – get out the vote drives, veteran support on Memorial & Flag Day
The Narragansett Council recently completed the Scouting for Food Drive and collected 337,000 pounds of food in one day for the RI Food Bank, which will provide them with enough food to keep their shelves stocked for half a year. They will distribute the food collected to Soup kitchens and shelters.
To date, they also have held clean ups and playground restoration at the YMCA, Scouts have restored graves that had become overgrown, placed flags at the burial sites of Veterans, and created the Scout Patriot Award to educate youth and adults about the greatness of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.