Op-Ed: The Next Generation of Boy Scouts in R.I.

The Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America (NCBSA) has been a bright spot in Rhode Island for over a century.  Now, with an eye on the future, I’m honored to have been selected by the Scouts as a recipient of 22nd Annual Senator John H. Chafee Distinguished Citizens Award, along with Helena Foulkes, President of CVS Pharmacy.

As an Eagle Scout, I am grateful for the opportunity to support an organization that does so much for our community and honored to receive an award named after the legendary John Chafee – public servant, war hero, Scout as a Boy and supporter of Scouting his entire life.

As a life-long Rhode Islander, it’s important to support the community groups that help make our state a better place to live. The Distinguished Citizens Award luncheon (DCAL), where the 2017 awards are presented, supports many families in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts who might not otherwise be able to benefit from Scouting by raising thousands of dollars to benefit the Narragansett Council’s Urban Scouting program.

Last year, donations to the Distinguished Citizens Award Luncheon (DCAL) funded the Scouting experience for 1,217 urban youth at 43 program sites.  Many of life’s lessons that build skills and character are learned through Scouting, and all children deserve the opportunities that Scouting presents.

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As someone who benefitted greatly from Scouting, it is a privilege to be able to give back and help create opportunities for our future workforce.  My experience as a leader of Troop 20 Providence and serving on the Rhode Island Jewish Committee for Scouting has given me a true sense of the values and ethics instilled by Scouting, and its ability to positively change lives.

Learning the values and ethics of Scouting is inevitable as a participant in Scouting here.  In 2016, nearly 108 tons of food was collected by the Council’s Scouts as part of their annual food drive while 38,194 hours of community service were completed through Eagle Scout projects.  These are efforts made willingly and enthusiastically by Scouts while they build character and an ethic of service to the community.

Memorable experiences also make Scouting important.  Through the donations collected at the DCAL, inner-city kids are able to have experiences that might otherwise not be available to them.  A majority of the Scouts from the Urban Scouting District participated in a summer camp program last year, and NCBSA strives to include more each year—the DCAL helps make this happen.

I am thrilled to have been a recipient of the Distinguished Citizens Award and recognize the luncheon’s important role in our community—specifically to thousands of at-risk youth.  Thank you to all who have contributed to the success of Scouting since 1910, and I look forward to seeing the bright new faces that will experience these programs for many years to come.

Howard Bromberg is the President of Benny’s