By Johnny Jackson
Last week, President George Bush signed into law the Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 5872), authorizing the minting of 350,000 silver dollar coins recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America in 2010.
Minting for the coin will begin Feb. 8, 2010 and continue through Jan. 1, 2011. The coin will weigh 26.73 grams, have a diameter of 1.5 inches and contain 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. Its design has not yet been determined.
For each coin sold, a $10 surcharge will be made available to local councils in the form of grants for the extension of Scouting in hard-to-serve areas, representing a $3.5 million donation.
The donations will go toward helping a relatively inexpensive cause, according to Melissa Ingram, publicity chairperson of the local Tussahaw District Boy Scouts.
"I'm involved in a pack and a troop, and I think it would be wonderful," Ingram said. "If there is a program out there that allows [donations], it would be even more inexpensive. And to have a coin that you can stick in your pocket, that is so cool."
Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts of America kicked off a multi-year, 100th anniversary celebration. The Centennial will include major national events, activities, and initiatives to engage nearly 3 million youths and 1.2 million volunteers; an estimated 50 million Scouting alumni; and the general public.
Scouts in Georgia are currently trying to drum up support for the new "Boy Scouts of America" license plate that commemorates 100 years of Boy Scouts. Part of the funds raised would benefit the Scout organization.
"Scouts have been so important in teaching young men the important values - honesty, reverence, kindness," Ingram said. "It teaches basic values that kids need to learn nowadays. It also teaches them responsibility. I can tell the difference in my two boys [who are scouts.] I can tell the difference in things that they learn."
The Coin Act received bipartisan support from both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Introduced earlier this year in Congress by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), an Eagle Scout with four generations of Boy Scouts in his family, the act received overwhelming approval with 403 members of Congress voting in favor of it.
"Boy Scouts are a significant part of American culture, shaping the values, citizenship, and skills of millions of young men," Rep. Sessions said. "From conservation to character building, the Boy Scouts 100th anniversary celebrates the highest Scouting ideals of helping others and making communities stronger."
Since the founding of Boy Scouts of America on Feb. 8, 1910, more than 111 million youths have participated in the organization's programs, including 248 members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
In the past four years, Scouts and their leaders have volunteered more than 6.5 million hours of service in their communities through more than 75,000 service projects.
"It is a great honor for the Scouts to be recognized with this Centennial Commemorative coin," said Bob Mazzuca, Boy Scouts of America Chief Scout Executive.
"This is a treasured moment in the history of our organization, and we are grateful for the millions of Scouts and volunteers who have served as the foundation of our success for nearly 100 years."