The Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America, hosted the annual Scoutreach Service Awards Luncheon at Bryant University on Nov. 15.
The annual luncheon honors outstanding service by an individual or organization in the development and implementation of character building opportunities for youth offered through the Scoutreach program.
The Scoutreach Program allows more than 1,200 low-income youth throughout the Narragansett Council to participate in Scouting activities year-round. Many of these Scouts are first-generation Americans, from communities like Attleboro, Central Falls, Fall River, Pawtucket, Providence, New Bedford, Taunton and Woonsocket, though any youth is eligible for Scoutreach support. This program provides mentors and builds life skills that help Scouts aspire to bright futures and professional goals.
This summer, hundreds of urban Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts were able to attend summer day camps or a weeklong overnight camp at Yawgoog Scout Reservation. For these Scouts, it was the pinnacle of their Scouting experience.
Approximately $22,000 was raised for Scoutreach programs at the event, with all proceeds going directly to the Narragansett Council. The cost to provide Scouting programs to one Scout in the Narragansett Council for one year is $216, and this money will allow low-income Scouts to participate in the year round program and summer camp opportunities.
The award recipients were Allan Fung, mayor of Cranston, who was awarded with the Asian American Spirit of Scouting Award. This award honors Fung’s long public service career exemplifying the values of Scouting – integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation. Fung has been a strong supporter of Scouting in Cranston during his 10 years as mayor, and served as an Executive Board member of the Scoutreach program from 2015-18.
“When I grew up in South Providence, there were no opportunities for kids like me to join scouting,” Fung said. “Now, with the Boys Scouts’ Scoutreach program, more kids from the urban core get to explore new worlds! I’m very grateful to be recognized with George Nee and Jackie Parra for our contributions to scouting.”
Also recognized by the Council was George Nee, president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO. Nee was honored with the George Meany Award, highlighting union members – men and women –who make contributions to their community through the Scouts. Nee has long been involved in introducing Scouts to the skilled trades, facilitating relationships with unions to hire former Scouts and supporting the America Labor merit badge.
The final award recipient was Jackie Parra, coordinator of human resources for the Central Falls School District, who was awarded the Vale la Peña Service Award, which translates from Spanish to “worth the effort.” This award honors an individual’s commitment to bringing Scouting programs to Hispanic youth, which Parra has been dedicated to in her 17 years in the Central Falls school district. Parra has been active in the development and implementation of Scouting opportunities for youth as past chair of the 1910 Scoutreach District, which serves 1,200 youth annually.
“The Narragansett Council’s commitment to Scoutreach youth, to those who need a little extra help with finances, leadership, and direct mentoring, had made all the difference,” said Randy Sacilotto, the 1910 District chair of the Narragansett Council. “Our Scoutreach program ensures that any kid, no matter their circumstance can go hiking or biking, swimming or fishing, launching rockets or racing pinewood derby race cars. We thank all who attended and donated to this worthy cause.”
“The Scoutreach Luncheon is a relatively new tradition in the Narragansett Council, but a deeply meaningful one,” said Tim Hebert, vice president of Scoutreach. “As a youth who found myself through Scouting, when I had few other opportunities, I testify to the power of Scouting to improve lives. I want to thank the three honorees who exemplify the best traditions and values as contained in the Scout Oath and Law.”
“Scoutreach is a vitally important program to help our at-risk youth experience the benefits of Scouting,” said Tim McCandless, Scout executive and CEO of the Narragansett Council. “For many Scouts, the first time they leave their home city is when they go camping through this program. The joy on their faces as they make friends, learn important life skills and participate in exciting adventures is what makes this program so special. We appreciate the support of our communities to fund this program.”
The lead sponsors of the event were Bristol County Savings Bank and New England Laborers’ Tri-Funds.