BLACKFOOT — Some community leaders gathered at Tommy Vaughn's Grill Thursday morning to learn where money donated through the Friends of Scouting goes.
They learned that the $1,020,000 raised in the Grand Teton Council helped fund the activities of over 21,000 Scouts and 11,000 leaders in the local Boy Scouts of America units.
"You make a large difference in the lives of boys," noted Council president Jeff Wheeler.
He said the donations fund the upkeep of three Scout camps and help pay for 200 employees during the summer. They also pay for approximately 30 full and part-time employees throughout the year.
"The funds are used in quality ways," he said. "They are all used to influence the lives of boys and some young women through the Venturing program.
Clarke Farrer, a Council executive, pointed out that the Council encompasses all of East Idaho as well as the Jackson, Wyo., and West Yellowstone, Mont., area. He said that many meetings of top Scouting leaders are conducted in Blackfoot because it is the central point for the Council region.
"It's heartwarming to pause and reflect on the good Scouting does in the lives of young men," Farrer said.
In 2011 Boy Scouts collected 422,000 food items through the Scouting for Food campaign and donated them to local food banks. Approximately 10,000 Scouts and their adult leaders participated, donating 66,000 hours of service.
There are nearly 2,000 individual units in the Council, serving approximately 51 percent of the eligible youth.
During the past year 619 boys earned their Eagle Scout award. Those rank advancements were among 5,529 achieved in the Boy Scout program. Another 6,982 achieved rank advancements in the Cub Scout program.
According to the Council's annual report, the service hours required as part of those rank advancements were worth over $86,000 to their local communities.