Delivering the Promise: Boy Scouts of America and America's Promise

"The Little Red Wagon. A symbol of childhood. It could be filled with a child's hopes and dreams or weighed down with their burdens. Millions of American children need our help to pull that wagon along. Let's all pull together."

—General Colin L. Powell, U.S. Army (Ret.), Chairman, America's Promise

America's Promise—The Alliance for Youth, led by General Colin Powell, is dedicated to mobilizing the nation's groups and organizations and building and strengthening the character and competence of our youth.

At the heart of America's Promise is a set of five basic promises made to every child in America. To point them in the right direction and to help them grow up strong and ready to take their place as successful adults, these five promises must be fulfilled:

  • An ongoing relationship with a caring adult—parent, mentor, tutor, or coach
  • A safe place to be with structured activities during nonschool hours
  • A healthy start
  • A marketable skill through effective education
  • An opportunity to give back through community service
The Boy Scouts of America was founded on principles of civic service activities. Through thousands of community service projects Scouts foster the spirit of citizenship.


The Boy Scouts of America and each autonomous local council will commit each youth to perform 12 hours of community service yearly, for a total of 200 million community service hours through the end of 2000.


The community service hours will involve youth. Projects must have a definition and purpose, be real to the Scouts, and be compatible with the objectives of the Scouting movement.

Community service projects might include service to children or senior citizens; projects focusing on safety, conservation, or neighborhood improvement; emergency service, Eagle Scout projects; or the Scouting for Food National Good Turn.


Through this commitment, 3.4 million Scouts and their families and 1.5 million volunteers—representing 142,587 Scouting units, 321 councils, 16,800 communities, and all 50 states—are provided opportunities for community service.

Over the past two years, 3.4 million Scouts have provided 100,757,046 hours of community service to others.


Through the end of 2000 each Scout who completes a minimum of 12 hours of community service per year will qualify to receive a Service to America patch. If 75 percent of Scouts in a unit earn the patch recognition, then all unit leaders will be eligible to purchase a patch. The participation patch, No. 339, retails for $1.99 and is available for purchase from Scout shops or BSA distributors.

National Park Service

The National Park Service has expressed a willingness to work with the Boy Scouts of America to identify potential service projects that need to be accomplished on national parklands.

The National Park Service will provide Scouts the opportunity to earn a National Park participation patch in addition to the BSA Service to America patch.

The National Park Service will identify service projects that BSA volunteers can complete on national parklands. At each site, there is a volunteer coordinator who is willing to work with Scout leaders in preserving America's resources for future generations. Individual Scout leaders wishing to participate in the program need simply contact the park volunteer coordinator to initiate a project.

Some examples of park projects include eradication of exotic plant species, erosion control, and improvement of campsite and visitor conveniences. The Web site can be accessed at

For more information about America's Promise, please visit the America's Promise Web site at

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