Local Organizations Pledge to Start Thousands of New Scouting Units

NEWS RELEASE

Irving, Texas—On February 5, local religious and community organizations across the nation pledged to start 5,974 new Scouting units by the end of June 2003.

The pledges were made during a nationally broadcast videoconference coordinated by the Boy Scouts of America. The broadcast was the official kickoff of "Character Connections—Reaching Youth With Scouting," a nationwide new-unit organization campaign. The campaign focuses on expanding the positive impact local organizations have had on their communities and neighborhoods for years through cooperative efforts with Scouting.

Community leaders gathered at meeting sites across the nation to watch the broadcast and consider organizing new Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews.

The goal of the campaign is to exceed the number of new units organized during the first half of 2002. The 5,974 new unit commitments reported on the first day of the campaign represent a 21 percent increase over the total number of units organized during the same period last year. With the campaign scheduled to end on June 30, the number of new unit commitments is expected to increase even further.

BSA National President Roy S. Roberts said he was pleased with the successful kickoff and with the enthusiasm for Scouting shown by religious and community organizations.

"The success of this effort goes a long way toward helping the Boy Scouts of America fulfill its larger goal of establishing Scouting units in every neighborhood and community in the nation," said Roberts.

"Religious and community organizations understand the important role young people play in our future and also see the value of Scouting in developing strong families and neighborhoods," Roberts said. "Through their support of Scouting, they're making a positive impact in their communities and in the nation."

The videoconference, hosted by Roberts, Chief Scout Executive Roy L. Williams, and National Commissioner Rick Cronk, included testimonials from representatives of national community and religious organizations, including U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige; NAACP President and Chief Executive Kweisi Mfume; the president of the National Council of La Raza, Raul Yzaguirre; and a special message from President George W. Bush.

In taped remarks, Bush thanked organizations for their commitment to youth and the nation.

"For more than 93 years the Boy Scouts of America has taught young men how to be citizens as well as Scouts, and our nation is a better place for it," Bush said.

Today, the Boy Scouts of America serves more than 5 million youth with the help of more than 1.2 million adult volunteers. Since its inception in 1910, more than 110 million people have been involved in the BSA. For more information about the Boy Scouts of America, please visit our Web site at old.scouting.org.

Boy Scouts of America—Connecting youth with communities and families.

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