WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy Community Service Program (NCSP) Council conducted its annual planning and review meeting Sept. 20-24 at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.
Commander, Naval District Washington, in coordination with Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) sponsored the annual meeting of the NCSP Council.
Several key regional representatives, from as far away as Guam and Florida, met with flagship program representatives to review the Navy's volunteer outreach throughout the past year.
Together, the group drafted fiscal year 2011 recommendations for the chief of naval operations (CNO) via CNIC.
Among the recommendations: updating related instructions, standardizing the community service awards program and capturing volunteer hours from every region to be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of NCSP's impact throughout the nation.
"When we can report the numbers of hours our Sailors give back to the community it helps people visualize just how much of an investment that Navy makes," said Dianne Parker, community service volunteer coordinator for Commander, Navy Region Southeast.
"It's huge. In our region alone, more than 23,000 of our service members donated over 385,000 hours of their time helping in one of the five flagship areas," said Parker.
There are five Navy volunteer "flagships," which include Personal Excellence Partnerships, devoted to education-related volunteer work with young people; Health, Safety and Fitness, focusing on health and sports-related volunteer programs; Campaign Drug Free, highlighting anti-drug education; Project Good Neighbor, spotlighting volunteer efforts with people who are less fortunate; and Environmental Stewardship, recognizing the importance of caring for and about natural resources.
Commands compete each year for NCSP awards in each flagship category. During the meeting, they looked for ways to streamline the awards process for Navy regions, installations and other commands.
"As the flagship sponsor for the Health, Safety and Fitness program, I see the value of volunteering, not only to the Navy and to young people in our communities, but also to individual Sailors," said Henry Giles, director of community service and outreach for Naval Education and Training Command.
Giles is also Navy's program manager for Starbase-Atlantis, a DoD youth outreach education program operating at 15 locations throughout the United States.
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul Polach of CNIC, who led coordination of the council meeting, said that the minutes and recommendations of the council's meeting will be provided to the CNO via CNIC. He publishes information about NCSP through his magazine, "Navy Volunteer!"
"We'll be compiling a special report on the numbers of volunteer hours by Sailors, Navy-wide," Polach said. "I think people will be impressed with how much our Sailors give back."
Polach also coordinates the NCSP flagship awards and Bainbridge award program.
During the three-day meeting, the council trained together on legal aspects of volunteering, risk management, NCSP's role in natural disasters and other topics.
A highlight of the council meeting was attending a full honors arrival ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard Sept. 23, in which CNO Adm. Gary Roughead welcomed his counterpart, Adm. Nirmal Kumar Verma, chief of the naval staff of the Indian navy.
"We were privileged to be part of the audience to witness this special ceremony," said Olivia Hunter, of Commander, Naval District Washington, primary host of the council meeting.
"We, in turn, hosted 20 JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) students from Suitland High School and joined them in a tour of the Navy Ceremonial Guard Facility," said Hunter.
Several students expressed an interest to council members about joining the Navy.
The council meeting concluded Sept. 23 with a plan for fostering the volunteer program in fiscal year 2011, engaging in social media and continuing interaction opportunities on line.
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.