The History of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award

On Tuesday, October 18, the Atlanta Area Council will be hosting our annual Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Awards Reception in honor of the volunteers who have been instrumental in bringing Scouting to individuals and communities who may not otherwise have access to the program. The Award’s namesake, Whitney M. Young Jr., was an American civil rights pioneer, social activist, and statesman. Some of his contributions to the Civil Rights movement include being one of the key organizers of the March on Washington (1963) as well as becoming an advisor to U.S Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon. 

Following the March on Washington, Young spent much of his time advocating for federal assistance to combat poverty in low-income communities across America. Most notably, Young served as Executive Director of the National Urban League (1961-1971) – the world’s largest social-civil rights organization – where he turned the organization into one that aggressively worked to provide access to socioeconomic opportunities for disenfranchised communities. Additionally, he served as the Dean of the School of Social Work at Clark Atlanta University until his death in 1971. His outstanding legacy is one marked by fighting to bring change to communities that needed it most. 

The Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award was borne out of the longstanding partnership between the National Urban League and the Boy Scouts of America to honor the incredible contributions and legacy of Mr. Young. The award recognizes outstanding service by an individual or an organization for their commitment to bringing Scouting opportunities to disadvantaged youth in rural and urban communities facing challenging barriers.

This year, the Atlanta Area Council is proud to recognize ten individuals and one organization for their service to underserved communities across Atlanta.

You are invited to join us for our upcoming reception on October 18, 2022, at the National Center for Civil & Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia. Visit AtlantaBSA.org/WMY to learn more and register.