The Montana Council of the Boy Scouts of America has been selected as the 2011 regional winner of the National Park Service George and Helen Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service by a Youth Group.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of Glacier National Park and the Boys Scouts of America in 2010, more than 250 scouts and troop leaders performed 4,500 hours of volunteer service in the park. Boy scouts from all over Montana and Alberta, Canada volunteered time and energy to complete projects across the park. Projects included building and refinishing picnic tables, painting and staining buildings, fences, barrier logs and water spigots, laying gravel, clearing brush, assisting with star gazing programs, and litter pickup.
Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright said, "Our joint centennial year was an opportunity to have the scouts involved with the park, and reinforce the value of stewardship of our public lands. We greatly appreciate the work they completed, because much of that work would not have been finished without the tremendous energy they provided."
Scout Leader Jim Atkinson of Kalispell was instrumental in working with the park and organizing the scout involvement. Atkinson said, "I'm honored to have been involved with this special once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." He said Boy Scouts have a proud tradition of performing service projects in the park, and a partnership like this is what scouting is about; it produces a visible contribution on the ground, instills a service ethic with the boys and creates lasting memories for all. After completing the service work, each scout and leader received a specially-minted medal and scout ranger patch. A formal presentation of the award will be presented to the Montana Council of the Boy Scouts of America in May.
The George and Helen Hartzog Awards recognize the commitment of the National Park Service's most outstanding volunteers. During his nine years as the seventh Director of the National Park Service (1963-1972), George Hartzog created the Volunteers-In-Parks Program.
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