Today, the SAR still pursues all of our missions. Our national youth programs continue to grow, our elementary school age Americanism Poster Contest, our Eagle Scout Scholarship Competition, the Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest are just a few more information may be found on our www.sar.org website on all of our Education based competition and recognition programs under the Education/Youth tab.
However there is one part of our mission – the one about inspiring the community-at-large – that requires a different approach than at our founding.
A November 20, 2008 report by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s National Civic Literacy Board entitled “Our Fading Heritage…Americans Fail a Basic Test on Their History and Institutions” shows that during a random sample of American adults of all backgrounds:
- Less than half can name all three branches of the government
- Only 21% know that the phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people” comes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
- Although Congress has voted twice in the last eight years to approve foreign wars, only 53% know that the power to declare war belongs to Congress. Almost 40% incorrectly believe it belongs to the President.
How can we not but agree with the Institute’s statement “If we fail to teach our children how American freedom was established and preserved, we cannot expect them to pass it on to future generations.
Today, the SAR has to do more than just set itself up as a model of good citizenship for others to follow. Expanding outreach education from what is now done by volunteers in states and chapters to that planned in conjunction with professionals at The Center For America’s Heritage requires the understanding and support of every member. In 1776 our ancestors recognized that only united action could save them from becoming an increasingly disenfranchised class. The situation now is not so extreme, but let all members remember the principle and the benefit of united action. The SAR can only make use of effective communications that bring SAR resources into our homes and reach and teach the entire nation if all members contribute financial resources for the new Center.
The SAR’s vision of the future is based on successful completion of the capital campaign in the years ahead and the development of The Center for Advancing America’s Heritage. When completed, the Center will dramatically increase the educational support of civic literacy around the United States.
The educational staff will develop programs and exhibits that teach American values and unity in one overriding American cultural identity. The history of American Revolution and the founding of the U.S. government and how this translates in to today’s society will be the focus of the lessons taught.
SAR educational programs, utilizing new mass communication techniques will be distributed to states and chapters for their local use in meetings/events and at schools.
The Center will have world class exhibit areas designed to inspire visitors to value their American citizenship. Visitors, researchers and scholars will be welcomed to enjoy and study the SAR’s collections, artifacts and exhibits.
When completed The Center for Advancing America’s Heritage will become one of the SAR’s most important gifts to our nation, providing outreach education for New Generations.
“TELL ME – and I forget…TEACH ME – and I remember… INVOLVE ME – and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin