The National Park Service and the Boy Scouts of America, two organizations share a common goal to engage youth in the great outdoors, celebrated the renewal of their longstanding partnership during a ceremony on Tuesday.
In a brief ceremony at the Boy Scout Commemorative Tribute Memorial on the Ellipse in President’s Park, Acting Director Mike Reynolds and Boy Scouts of America Chief Executive Mike Surbaugh marked the extension of the formal Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations, signed in December by former Director Jon Jarvis.
The Scouting delegation, which included five Boy Scouts, one Cub Scout, one Explorer, one Sea Scout, and two Venturers in addition to the chief executive, were in Washington to present the Boy Scouts of America’s Report to the Nation to President Donald Trump and other elected officials.
In his remarks, Acting Director Mike Reynolds noted that in the past five years, Scouts have contributed over 300,000 hours of service on volunteer projects with an economic benefit of almost $7 million to restore or enhance national parks throughout the country.
“The National Park Service and the Boy Scouts of America have had a natural friendship for 100 years,” said Reynolds. “Scouts hike, camp, and participate in other adventures in national parks where they learn not only outdoor skills but also life skills, respect for the environment, and the ethical use of natural resources. This partnership has created generations of conservation stewards and today we renew the commitment to carry this partnership into the future.”
Chief Executive Surbaugh recalled the times he spent as a Scout in national parks, completing service projects, which in turn sparked a lifelong interest in the parks, and has led to a well-worn National Parks Passport book.
“Some of the best Scouting adventures and moments take place at National Park Service parks, monuments and sites,” said Surbaugh. “These special places inspire youth with the wonder of nature and build an appreciation for the outdoors and our nation’s history. That’s why it’s important that the Boy Scouts of America support and partner with the National Park Service as they work to protect and preserve our nation’s natural spaces, a service that is of great value to me, Scouts and volunteers nationwide.”
National Capital Regional Director Bob Vogel, a former Eagle Scout, welcomed the Scouts and served as master of ceremonies.
The renewed MOU, updating the original from 2008, continues the collaboration between the two organizations to instill the values of resource stewardship and conservation in our nation’s youth and renews each group’s commitment to educate young people about camping, the outdoors and the environment. The NPS will provide opportunities for local units at each of its 417 parks nationwide. The BSA, in turn, encourages Scouts and Venturers to visit those parks and perform service projects there.
The ceremony took place at the Boy Scout Commemorative Tribute Memorial, located on the Ellipse. Dedicated in 1964 as a project for the 50th anniversary of Scouting, the memorial features a Boy Scout, a woman, and a man, symbolizing the great and noble forces that are an inspiring background of each Scout as he goes about the business of becoming a man and a citizen.