ServiceNation summit pt. 6 - Closing ceremonies

ServiceNation is drawing to a close, but it’s not over yet! After the break, thoughts from Senator Hillary Clinton, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and rock star philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi…

“Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, it is impossible not to admire Hillary Clinton,” says Ann Moore, Chairman and CEO of TIME, Inc. I agree - Clinton won more primaries and delegates than any other female candidate in American history, and her example means so much for the future of women in the highest levels of government.

Hilary Clinton

Hillary is on stage to the biggest ovation of either of these two nights. “I know in this audience, you represent those who are cleaning up parks and neighborhoods,” she says. “You’re planting trees and you’re weatherizing homes…you’re opening community centers and you’re leading food drives and you’re helping the homeless…with your assistance, we will take what is an American phenomenon and turn it into a movement!”

Clinton adds that she is at ServiceNation on behalf of a bipartisan coalition of senators who understand that America’s policies must create the opportunities for service that people across the country need. “Where there’s a will to participate in public service, the government must offer a way to do it,” she says.

One way she is trying to make that happen is by co-sponsoring the Serve America Act of 2008. Endorsed by both Obama & McCain and several high-ranking Republican and Democratic senators, the act would create new Corps, focused on areas of national need – education, poverty, health, energy, among others.

“This bill is about our future,” Clinton said, “the kind of future we want to make for ourselves and our county…America can and must be The Service Nation.” Wild applause!

Jon Bon Jovi

Next up: Jon Bon Jovi. “It’s the team that works together that wins,” he says, referencing his Philadelphia Soul Foundation. “The power of We is stronger than the power of Me…when you restore a public park that’s been run down, that’s the power of we. It’s the power to make a change…the power to make a difference.”

“Find the challenge that speaks to you… that helps you make a real difference.” Bon Jovi says. And then for good measure adds, “I believe we can make volunteerism hip – I’d like to make volunteerism the new black.” Hilarious.

While the Governor of California could not attend the summit in person, the Arnold Schwarzenegger recorded a video to play for the crowd. This was my first (as it were) in-person with him, and I can pretty safely say that he is the funniest man alive. As he is co-chair for next year’s planned summit in San Francisco, he tells us, “I hope you all come to California for the summit, because we need the money.”

“Our great nation has blessed us all with freedom and unlimited opportunity,” Schwarzenegger says, on a more serious note. “Now we must give as much back to America as America has given us.” He echoes the thoughts of many politicos at this event, in saying that the city, state and federal government has to make it easier for people to volunteer – with more opportunities, and more benefits.

Hmmm, SCA has been doing that for awhile, haven’t they? We offer thousands of positions every year for high school and college students! In fact, Governor Schwarzenegger recently lauded SCA for our “Instrumental role in nurturing our future conservation leaders.”

Before Arnold spoke, a group of young people from the National Park Service, YouthBuild, ServiceNation, the U.S. Navy and City Year came onstage to read a statement of belief. The statement is available here, and I hope you’ll sign it. The last paragraph the whole room read together aloud, and I want to post it here:

“We are to meet the challenges of our time. We are ready to do our part in America’s timeless quest for a more perfect union, and I am ready to begin now…”