A Report on 9/11 and Scouting

My fellow Scouters ... Here at the National Meeting and in our local councils, we here a lot of impressive numbers about Scouting. Behind all of these numbers there are children in Scouting uniforms influenced by Scouting values. Since September 11th, much has been reported and written about the character of these Scouts. I want you to know how proud I am of our youth members; how thankful I am for our volunteer unit leaders; and how thrilling it is to see our local councils and national leaders respond.

  • Since September 11th, the Greater New York Council has received messages of sympathy and encouragement from Scouters in 49 nations. Scouts in response to the tragedy in New York City collected gloves, socks, toothbrushes, dog food, and all kinds of other materials requested by firefighters. The Greater New York Council donated 500 cots for relief workers to rest on at the site.
  • Scout units in New York City even adopted fire stations, providing potluck dinners for firefighters housed at the stations while working in the recovery effort.
  • South Florida Council set up a candlelight remembrance for the Miami Community on September 14th.
  • Scouts in Medford, New York, collected over 150,000 bottles of water, Gatorade, and PowerAde for the relief workers at ground zero. One of the council's district commissioners and a New York City firefighter at the site says, "letters, cards and posters from Scouts in my district have lifted me up beyond belief. Even though it brings tears to my eyes, it is really soothing to my soul."
  • Rochester, New York, offered their service center to the Red Cross for blood donations.
  • In Atlanta and Detroit, Scout units distributed countless car flags. Detroit's website contains helpful and inspirational responses, including a letter from a Scouter, which says in part:

    "Dear Scouting family, it has been an extremely long and tragic day. As I sit at my kitchen table tonight, I thought I would reflect back on the day and try to convey my thoughts ... Today, we all need to embrace our families and our God and pledge to (follow) the Scout Oath and Scout Law ... their simple words ... help us to remember what is important. Tonight I pray for all of you and your families. I ask that you pray for our youth and for Scouting so we can continue to show our future generation a life without grief."
  • One house out of every three in Idaho Falls has an American Flag on the front lawn placed there by a Boy Scout.
  • Long Island Scouts placed personal messages of inspiration on hard hats for use by rescue workers.
  • And in Oklahoma, the Last Frontier Council quickly launched a "Helping Hands for Heroes" campaign - an amazing project for Scouts and Scout leaders to assist military families that were suddenly left on their own as their loved ones were called to active duty.
  • Following the request of President George W. Bush that American youth earn or give money for a relief fund for Afghan children, Scouts across the country responded generously and in the process deepened their growth in Scouting values. In one council—in Beaumont, Texas—the council held a Veterans Day ceremony in honor of a local Eagle Scout and highly decorated Navy pilot who was killed in World War II. The council invited the 450 Scouts who contributed a total of $1,138 to bring their personal donations to the ceremony. Special guests included the area Congressman and BSA Chief Scout Executive Roy Williams who assisted in drawing the name of Cub Scout Brandon Johnson to represent the council in personally delivering the donations to the White House.
  • And in the City of Provo, Idaho, they recently unveiled a memorial called "The Home of the Brave" for those who perished on 9-11... designed and built by a group of Boy Scouts.
  • In San Mateo, the council provided program features that deal with patriotism on their web site and developed a Scoutmaster's minute on the subject.
  • In Houston, the council worked with a local television station to provide information on proper flag etiquette. At the first Astros home game following the World Trade Center attack, Eagle Scouts carried a large flag onto the field, and Cub Scouts were stationed at each gate passing out small flags to everyone entering into the ballpark.
  • I'd also like to announce, in case you have not heard, that Joe Csatari's annual painting portrays Scouting's response to the events of 9-11.
  • Then there was an assistant Scoutmaster who is an Air Force Major stationed in Washington, D.C., whom we have recognized with the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms for answering the call for volunteers to enter the Pentagon to search for survivors immediately after the terrorist attack.

It's amazing, but then, this is Scouting at its best. And it's but the tip of the iceberg of Scouting's response to September 11th. And that response is but the tip of an even larger daily Scouting response to America and the needs of America's youth.

Finally, let me remind you of how important you in this room are in helping to guarantee that we continue to offer effective Scout program at the unit level. It is effective packs, troops, teams, and crews, which provide an opportunity for youth to become immersed in the values of the Scout Oath and Law. And that makes the giving of all our time, talent, and money worthwhile.

Thank you very much and God Bless America.