Scouting News from the Internet

Federal grant means Scouts can continue riding Amtrak to Philmont

Bryan On Scouting -

It’s one of the most relaxing, affordable and memorable ways to get to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

And thanks to a new federal grant, the Amtrak Southwest Chief will continue transporting Scouts to Philmont for the foreseeable future.

On Wednesday, the Department of Transportation announced a $16 million grant to replace segments of aging rail line on which Amtrak’s Southwest Chief operates. That money will be combined with millions of dollars in state and corporate investments to make the necessary fixes.

That means Scouts along the route, which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, can continue traveling to Philmont in style.

The Southwest Chief line runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. Philmont and the train

Train travel has been part of the Philmont experience since the start. In 1941, Scouts visiting what was then called Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp were told that the railroad was “the best method for travel as it provides for greater personal comfort.”

These days, 80 percent of Philmont’s 22,000 summer visitors arrive by car or bus or plane. But the other 20 percent — about 4,400 Scouts and Scouters — choose the train.

Those traveling to Philmont make up half the boardings and exits at the Amtrak station in Raton. From Raton, it’s about an hourlong bus ride to Philmont’s gates.

Scouts ride the Amtrak train to Raton, N.M. Photo by Kaitlyn Chaballa. The impact on New Mexico

All those Scouts and Scouters need to eat and buy souvenirs. They might choose to stay a night or two at a hotel or campground in New Mexico.

When they do, they benefit the local economy, which is a big reason the grant was awarded.

“Every summer, the Southwest Chief transports thousands of Boy Scouts from across the country to Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, generating economic activity for businesses in these rural areas along the way,” said U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.

Photo by Kaitlyn Chaballa Share your memories

Have you ridden the train to Philmont? What was your experience like? Sound off in the comments, if you please.

Unearthed journal, photos, sketches show what makes World Scout Jamborees special

Bryan On Scouting -

Most of us would be lucky to attend a single World Scout Jamboree.

DeWitt Thompson attended four of them.

His son, Jon Thompson, recently came across his father’s collection of incredible artifacts from the 1929, 1933 and 1937 World Scout Jamborees. DeWitt actually went to a fourth World Scout Jamboree, in 1951, but Jon couldn’t find any documentation from that event beyond a patch.

With just 500 days left until the 2019 World Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, it’s the perfect time for this fascinating look back.

Through these priceless World Scout Jamboree treasures, you’ll see what makes these events unlike anything else in Scouting.

1929 World Scout Jamboree, United Kingdom

DeWitt attended as a 17-year-old Boy Scout and patrol leader from Troop 25.

This personalized medal (seen in front and back) was given to everyone in the American contingent at the 1929 World Scout Jamboree.

DeWitt’s journal entries from 1929 tell of his journey by train from Dallas to Montreal, where his troop boarded a ship called the Duchess of York.

From there they traveled to Liverpool, England. The journey itself was part of the story. For example, in his journal DeWitt tells of his daring attempt to sneak through the first-class section and meet the ship’s captain.

“We were so nervous and undecided on what we should do that our whole bodies were ‘a-tingle,'” he wrote.

I won’t tell you how that story ends; you’ll have to read the July 24 entry for yourself.

The adventure continued once he got to the Jamboree. He met Scouts from Czechoslovakia; welcomed Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell, arriving on horseback, to his camp; and participated in an American Pageant where boys demonstrated signaling, camp pitching and rope stunts for their foreign friends.

“It all came off in fine style, and we received much applause,” he wrote.

Enjoy the journal entries below. Click a thumbnail to enlarge, and then use the arrows to navigate between pages.

1933 World Scout Jamboree, Hungary

DeWitt was Scoutmaster of Troop 4, which included Scouts from Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and the Philippines.

DeWitt Thompson (right) and a group of Scouts from Dallas rode the S.S. President Harding to the 1933 World Scout Jamboree in Budapest.

DeWitt and the 400 boys and leaders in the American contingent at the 1933 World Scout Jamboree apparently had quite the appetite.

Over the two weeks, the American contingent ate 120 pounds of ice cream, 616 loaves of bread and 209.5 pounds of apricots, according to a booklet published at the end of the Jamboree.

You can read that booklet, named “Jó Munkát!” (“Work Already!” in Hungarian), below. I’ve also included a few pencil drawings Jon Thompson sent me. They were in his father’s collection, as well, but the artist’s identity is not known.

Click a thumbnail to enlarge, and then use the arrows to navigate between pages.

1937 World Scout Jamboree, Netherlands

DeWitt attended as Assistant Scout Executive of the Norwela Council in northwest Louisiana.

DeWitt Thompson (standing, fifth from right) attended the 1937 World Scout Jamboree as Assistant Scout Executive of the Norwela Council in Louisiana.

It was a summer to remember.

In his role as Assistant Scout Executive of the Norwela Council, based in Shreveport, La., DeWitt led a Louisiana contingent to two Jamborees in 1937. First, they attended the inaugural National Jamboree, held June 30 to July 9 in Washington, D.C. After that, they crossed the Atlantic for Holland and the World Scout Jamboree, which began July 31.

(This was the first of two times the World Scout Jamboree and BSA’s National Jamboree were held in the same summer. The other was 1957. These days, the two events alternate every odd-numbered year.)

In between the Jamborees, the Scouts toured Europe. They visited France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and England.

Total cost for two Jamborees and a European tour, including transportation: $410.75 per person. That seems like a bargain — until you adjust for inflation. That’s more than $7,000 in 2018 money.

Below, find the cost breakdown and a letter DeWitt sent to the Scouts’ parents from New York. New York City, he wrote, was “even more than we expected — the noise, the crowds, the traffic, the confusion.”

Click a thumbnail to enlarge, and then use the arrows to navigate between pages.

1951 World Scout Jamboree, Austria

DeWitt served on staff. 

The only item in DeWitt’s collection from the 1951 World Scout Jamboree was a patch, which looks like the one below.

Make your own World Scout Jamboree memory

DeWitt’s collection makes it clear: World Scout Jamborees are special.

To learn how you can be a part of the 2019 World Scout Jamboree, click here.

In this pack, Cub Scouts pass their neckerchiefs to those one rank below them

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When the Cub Scouts of Pack 33 level up to the next rank, they pass their neckerchiefs and hats to the Scouts one rank behind them.

This takes place in a yearly ceremony that’s equal parts sincere and chaotic.

It’s sincere because “it builds fellowship from each group as they help promote the den behind them to the next level,” says Pack 33 leader Bruce Andersen.

It’s chaotic because, well, it involves dozens of Cub Scouts simultaneously removing their neckerchiefs and placing them on the necks of other Cub Scouts.

The continuity of Scouting

The neckerchief pass started when a volunteer began creating the Pack 33 uniform bank. The bank allows new Cub Scout families to borrow gently used uniforms.

As a result, the Takoma Park, Md., pack amassed a large inventory of neckerchiefs — each worn for just a year. The idea for the neckerchief pass was born.

Andersen says the Cub Scouts like the tradition because they “get a sense of achievement as they move to the next level in Scouting.”

Parents like it, he says, because “it shows the continuity of the Scouting program.”

A single Cub Scout neckerchief might have been worn by 10 different Cub Scouts who had 10 different life-changing experiences in Pack 33. It’s powerful stuff.

We know that every Scout — from the youngest Lion to the oldest Venturer — walks in the footsteps of those who came before.

The Pack 33 neckerchief pass is a visible sign of that legacy.

5 Quick Questions with: Tim Keller, Eagle Scout and Albuquerque mayor

Bryan On Scouting -

Before he became the mayor of Albuquerque, N.M., Tim Keller became an Eagle Scout.

Keller, now 40, received Scouting’s highest honor on Aug. 10, 1995, as a member of Troop 285 in Albuquerque, part of the Great Southwest Council.

The man in charge of New Mexico’s largest city (population: 559,277) took time out of his busy schedule to answer my 5 Quick Questions last week. He discussed his summer as a Philmont staffer, what he learned from Scouting, his advice for today’s Scouts and more.

Bryan on Scouting: What did you like best about Scouting?

Tim Keller: I had so many great memories from my time as a Boy Scout. Any time I got to get out into nature, even if it was just a brief period of time, was so important to me and remains so today. I got to travel across the state when I was state auditor, and I would make it a point to get out into nature, even if it was a quick stop at Elephant Butte just to feel grounded.

BOS: What was it like being on staff at Philmont?

TK: I had so many great memories there that it makes it difficult to narrow it down to just one favorite. The sense of community I built with the staff and Scouts is something I will always cherish.

BOS: Did Scouting help prepare you for a political career? If so, how?

TK: Definitely. As a Scout, you learn to not only be hard working and self-sufficient but also to be a team player — which are all integral skills for being an elected official. While I haven’t always aligned with the Boy Scouts of America politically, Scouting instilled in me a respect for the outdoors, the value of helping others and a roadmap for being a good citizen of the community, which I feel are all great skills for being a good public servant.

BOS: What advice would you give today’s Scouts?

TK: Stick with it. The skills you learn in the Boy Scouts will prepare you for any path you take.

BOS: How do you use Scouting in your everyday life?

TK: As you know, the motto of the Boy Scouts is to “Be Prepared,” and I have taken that to heart every day of my life. You may not have all the answers to what comes your way, but preparation and a clear work ethic to tackle those challenges is critical.

 

Behind the scenes: A salute to the adults who made Report to the Nation possible

Bryan On Scouting -

In every pack, troop, post, ship or crew, dedicated adults work behind the scenes to make the Scouts and Venturers look good.

The same can be said for every Report to the Nation delegation.

Orchestrating and supporting a week of high-profile visits in Washington, D.C., takes patience, flexibility and a pair of really good walking shoes.

I’ve told you all about the 2017 Report to the Nation delegates and the people they met last week in our nation’s capital.

Now, a few words about the adults who made it possible.

Dan and Allison Ownby

The Report to the Nation host couple is supposed to serve as the unofficial “mom and dad” of the trip. And, sure, Dan and Allison Ownby of Texas picked up left-behind jackets and fixed crooked neckerchiefs.

But they did so much more. They offered mentorship to the Scouts and listened to their stories with genuine interest.

And even though they got unrivaled access to some of the top officials in government, that wasn’t what impressed the Ownbys most.

“We got to see some of the top world leaders,” Dan Ownby said. “But, for us, we’re with some of the top leaders of the future. And that’s what’s great. For us, [the highlight] was getting to meet each one of y’all and spending time with y’all.”

Keith Christopher

Keith Christopher served as delegation director for the 10th — and final — time. He retires later this year.

Christopher wears many hats within the BSA: Council Services department manager and national director of Sea Scouts among them. Report to the Nation delegation director is another year-round job. It begins immediately after the previous Report to the Nation trip ends. Christopher helped select the delegates, prepared them for a whirlwind week and made travel arrangements. He spent countless hours coordinating visits with cabinet secretaries and U.S. senators.

These officials’ schedules change constantly, so several of those appointments had to be rescheduled the night before. During the Report to the Nation week, Christopher stayed up as late as 1:30 a.m. dealing with the changes. But he didn’t complain.

“I’m passionate about what I do,” he told the delegates. “It’s all because of y’all. You make me feel good about what I do. So, thank you.”

Frank Reigelman

Frank Reigleman was the associate delegation director. His main role was to observe Christopher’s work as he prepares to take the reins in 2019 and beyond.

He helped answer Scouts’ questions, planned the day and kept everyone on schedule.

This was Reigelman’s first time on a Report to the Nation trip, and he noticed that each dignitary with whom the delegates met seemed genuinely interested.

“The sincerity of their interaction with you was so evident,” he told the delegates.

Mike and Lisa Surbaugh

Government leaders weren’t the only high-ranking officials the delegates got to meet. They also spent time getting to know BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh and his wife, Lisa, the “First Lady of Scouting.”

Because of his busy schedule, Mike Surbaugh wasn’t able to join the delegates for the entire week, but he did get a chance to talk to each young person and learn about their Scouting experience so far.

Michael Roytek and Randy Piland

The official photographers of Report to the Nation, Michael Roytek and Randy Piland ensured that these once-in-a-lifetime meetings were preserved forever.

Working in tandem, they photographed each interaction, meeting and VIP tour. You can see those fine photos here.

While reviewing the photos on his computer one night, Roytek noticed something. He compared the photos these officials take on a daily basis to those taken when they met with the Report to the Nation delegates.

“You young people put a light in their face that we don’t see all the time,” Roytek said. “It’s a tribute to you. They are just so totally impressed with you all.”

Read about the Report to the Nation

Find the coverage here.

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. 

Which state had the most Eagle Scouts in 2017? (And what happens when you adjust for population?)

Bryan On Scouting -

Utah is our nation’s 45th state, but when it comes to Eagle Scouts, it’s No. 1.

In 2017, no state gave us more Eagle Scouts than Utah. It tops the list for at least the ninth year in a row — every year since 2009, the first year for which detailed Eagle Scout statistics were made available to me.

California, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York round out the top 5. That’s the same top 5 as 2016, with one exception: New York has bumped out North Carolina.

Combined, these five states account for 19,834 of 2017’s 55,494 Eagle Scouts. That’s roughly 36 percent.

Keep reading for the complete rankings.

Below that you’ll find the population-adjusted rankings, which even things out quite a bit. After all, it’s not fair to compare the number of Eagle Scouts in the state with the fewest young men under 18 (Vermont) to the state with the most (California).

2017 state-by-state rankings

Here are the 2017 state-by-state rankings, as well as the rank change from 2016 to 2017.

Example: The +2 for New York means that state’s rank jumped up two spots: from No. 7 in 2016 to No. 5 in 2017.

Rank State  Eagle Scouts  Change 1 Utah  5,879 – 2 California  5,028 – 3 Texas  4,231 – 4 Pennsylvania  2,456 – 5 New York  2,240 +2 6 Virginia  2,099 – 7 North Carolina  1,998 -2 8 Ohio  1,928 – 9 Illinois  1,877 +1 10 Florida  1,695 -1 11 Arizona  1,601 +1 12 Georgia  1,547 -1 13 New Jersey  1,510 – 14 Missouri  1,439 – 15 Idaho  1,327 – 16 Washington  1,232 – 17 Michigan  1,127 – 18 Massachusetts  1,103 +1 19 Maryland  1,085 -1 20 Colorado  1,023 +1 21 Minnesota  1,011 -1 22 Indiana  943 – 23 Tennessee  932 +1 24 Wisconsin  907 -1 25 Connecticut  730 – 26 Kansas  674 – 27 South Carolina  662 – 28 Alabama  607 – 29 Nevada  570 +1 30 Oregon  563 -1 31 Iowa  539 – 32 Oklahoma  503 – 33 Kentucky  466 – 34 Louisiana  398 +2 35 Nebraska  394 -1 36 Mississippi  341 -1 37 Arkansas  285 +1 38 Hawaii  267 -1 39 Rhode Island  245 +1 40 West Virginia  226 +4 41 New Mexico  212 +1 42 New Hampshire  203 -3 43 Montana  185 -2 44 Maine  162 -1 45 Wyoming  150 – 46 North Dakota  112 +3 47 Delaware  105 +1 48 Alaska  101 -2 49 South Dakota  96 -2 50 Vermont  82 – 2017 state-by-state rankings (population-adjusted)

I used the data available here to find the number of under-18 boys in each state, as of 2016 (the most recent year available).

That allowed me to create the following population-adjusted list.

Notice that Utah remains No. 1, but less-populous states like Idaho, Rhode Island and Wyoming jumped into the top 10.

Higher-population states like Texas and California are in the bottom half of this list.

Rank State  2017 Eagles   Under-18 Boys  Percent Unadj. Rank 1 Utah  5,879  473,208 1.242% 1 2 Idaho  1,327  223,599 0.593% 15 3 Rhode Island  245  106,630 0.230% 39 4 Virginia  2,099  954,775 0.220% 6 5 Wyoming  150  71,499 0.210% 45 6 Missouri  1,439  709,558 0.203% 14 7 Arizona  1,601  831,671 0.193% 11 8 Connecticut  730  385,357 0.189% 25 9 Kansas  674  365,949 0.184% 26 10 Pennsylvania  2,456  1,369,452 0.179% 4 11 North Carolina  1,998  1,170,974 0.171% 7 12 Hawaii  267  158,306 0.169% 38 13 Nevada  570  346,353 0.165% 29 14 Nebraska  394  242,423 0.163% 35 15 Colorado  1,023  645,466 0.158% 20 16 Montana  185  116,750 0.158% 43 17 Maryland  1,085  687,341 0.158% 19 18 Massachusetts  1,103  703,757 0.157% 18 19 Minnesota  1,011  658,303 0.154% 21 20 New Hampshire  203  133,245 0.152% 42 21 New Jersey  1,510  1,013,202 0.149% 13 22 Washington  1,232  832,985 0.148% 16 23 Ohio  1,928  1,335,370 0.144% 8 24 Iowa  539  373,985 0.144% 31 25 Wisconsin  907  658,789 0.138% 24 26 Vermont  82  61,178 0.134% 50 27 Oregon  563  444,467 0.127% 30 28 Illinois  1,877  1,493,524 0.126% 9 29 North Dakota  112  90,390 0.124% 46 30 Maine  162  130,892 0.124% 44 31 Tennessee  932  765,988 0.122% 23 32 Georgia  1,547  1,278,704 0.121% 12 33 South Carolina  662  557,888 0.119% 27 34 West Virginia  226  192,005 0.118% 40 35 Indiana  943  806,023 0.117% 22 36 Texas  4,231  3,717,875 0.114% 3 37 Alabama  607  558,628 0.109% 28 38 California  5,028  4,643,422 0.108% 2 39 Alaska  101  96,271 0.105% 48 40 New York  2,240  2,136,402 0.105% 5 41 Oklahoma  503  491,652 0.102% 32 42 Delaware  105  103,663 0.101% 47 43 Michigan  1,127  1,120,643 0.101% 17 44 Mississippi  341  367,677 0.093% 36 45 Kentucky  466  517,439 0.090% 33 46 South Dakota  96  109,639 0.088% 49 47 New Mexico  212  250,140 0.085% 41 48 Florida  1,695  2,116,442 0.080% 10 49 Arkansas  285  360,793 0.079% 37 50 Louisiana  398  567,737 0.070% 34 What about Eagle Scouts who don’t live in one of the 50 states?

Not all Eagle Scouts live in one of the 50 states. Here’s the breakdown of Eagle Scouts living elsewhere.

  • Transatlantic Council: Serves Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia
  • Far East Council: Serves western Pacific countries
  • Direct Service: Serves Scouts living outside the U.S. in a country not covered by the Transatlantic or Far East councils
2016 2017 Transatlantic 180 133 Puerto Rico 189 128 Far East 95 76 Washington, D.C. 19 31 Direct Service 7 1 Virgin Islands 1 1 What are the council-by-council numbers?

Some Scouters asked for this, so here it is. There are two sorted lists. The first is sorted by council number (find yours here); the second is sorted by number of Eagle Scouts.

Keep this in mind: There are small councils and large councils, so this list doesn’t tell the whole story.

Sorted by council number

2016 2017 1     Greater Alabama 390 377 3     Alabama – Florida 43 38 4     Mobile Area 66 55 5     Tukabatchee Area 61 68 6     Black Warrior 35 41 10   Grand Canyon 1285 1421 11   Catalina 170 159 13   De Soto Area 10 7 16   Westark Area 102 115 18   Quapaw Area 155 145 22   Alameda 19 22 23   Mount Diablo – Silverado 347 342 27   Sequoia 138 121 28   San Francisco Bay Area 200 205 30   Southern Sierra 60 66 31   Pacific Skyline 187 226 32   Long Beach Area 61 68 33   Greater Los Angeles Area 575 547 35   Marin 43 43 39   Orange County 697 728 41   Redwood Empire 77 58 42   Piedmont 13 18 45   California Inland Empire 480 458 47   Golden Empire 525 537 49   San Diego – Imperial 456 453 51  Western Los Angeles Area 307 278 53   Los Padres 99 95 55   Santa Clara County (25 & 55 merged) 343 378 57   Ventura County 169 147 58   Verdugo Hills 85 83 59   Greater Yosemite 139 130 60   Pikes Peak 199 218 61   Denver Area 520 524 62   Longs Peak 223 212 63   Rocky Mountain 26 45 64   Western Colorado 41 51 66   Connecticut Rivers 424 393 67   Greenwich 18 14 69   Housatonic 25 27 70   Old North State 298 252 72   Connecticut Yankee 296 288 81   Del – Mar – Va 201 167 82   National Capital Area (VI merged into 82 in 2013) 1538 1589 83   Central Florida 407 459 84   South Florida 228 212 85   Gulf Stream 169 160 87   North Florida 267 258 88   Southwest Florida 141 121 89   West Central Florida 370 309 91   Chattahoochee 65 78 92   Atlanta Area 713 676 93   Georgia – Carolina 84 74 95   Flint River 161 138 96   Central Georgia 91 78 98   Alapaha Area 45 56 99   Coastal ( Empire) Georgia – 3/1/14 93 105 100 Northwest Georgia 56 40 101 Northeast Georgia 295 304 102 Maui County 22 33 104 Aloha 266 241 106 Ore – Ida 457 454 107 Grand Teton 606 669 111 Snake River 169 140 117 Prairielands 42 47 121 Lincoln Trails 30 52 127 Three Fires 379 386 129 Northeast Illinois 208 225 133 Illowa 103 79 138 W. D. Boyce 121 138 141 Mississippi Valley 60 52 144 Abraham Lincoln 63 56 145 Hoosier Trails 98 79 156 Buffalo Trace 97 96 157 Anthony Wayne Area 87 104 160 Crossroads of America 392 411 162 Sagamore 68 81 165 La Salle 94 107 172 Hawkeye Area 96 103 173 Winnebago 62 69 177 Mid – Iowa 178 188 178 Northeast Iowa 46 32 192 Coronado Area 58 46 194 Santa Fe Trail 15 22 197 Jayhawk Area 61 56 198 Quivira 150 133 204 Blue Grass 132 129 205 Lincoln Heritage 356 323 209 Calcasieu Area 17 24 211 Istrouma Area 132 122 212 Evangeline Area 45 46 213 Louisiana Purchase 46 52 214 Southeast Louisiana 84 118 215 Norwela 37 36 216 Katahdin Area 54 42 218 Pine Tree 125 120 220 Baltimore Area 516 517 221 Mason – Dixon 69 67 224 Cape Cod and Islands 26 44 227 The Spirit of Adventure 292 328 230 Nashua Valley 116 70 234 Western Massachusetts 83 90 244 Knox Trail 154 0 249 Old Colony 222 0 250 Northern Star 773 770 251 Mayflower 393 254 Mohegan 60 94 272 Great Lakes (merged into 784) 525 406 283 Twin Valley 47 50 286 Voyageurs Area 58 45 296 Central Minnesota 61 63 299 Gamehaven 50 63 302 Choctaw Area 14 21 303 Andrew Jackson 160 160 304 Pine Burr 84 76 306 Ozark Trails 138 158 307 Heart of America 757 934 311 Pony Express 87 85 312 Greater St. Louis Area 652 744 315 Montana 197 181 322 Overland Trails 74 67 324 Cornhusker 102 94 326 Mid – America 316 307 328 Las Vegas Area 424 463 329 Nevada Area 128 122 330 Daniel Webster 214 203 333 Northern New Jersey 316 331 341 Jersey Shore 110 126 347 Monmouth 237 227 358 Partriots’ Path 403 433 364 Twin Rivers 182 201 368 Baden – Powell 77 72 373 Longhouse 105 122 374 Hudson Valley 200 247 375 Five Rivers 61 42 376 Iroquois Trail 63 52 380 Greater Niagara Frontier 186 146 382 Allegheny Highlands 35 42 386 Theodore Roosevelt 191 289 388 Westchester – Putnam 171 176 397 Seneca Waterways 264 260 400 Leatherstocking 71 74 404 Suffolk County 295 336 405 Rip Van Winkle 26 26 412 Great Southwest 158 170 413 Conquistador 17 20 414 Daniel Boone 116 93 415 Mecklenburg County 269 268 416 Central North Carolina 147 158 420 Piedmont 248 228 421 Occoneechee 561 478 424 Tuscarora 97 92 425 Cape Fear 115 114 426 East Carolina 198 157 427 Old Hickory 160 143 429 Northern Lights 145 156 433 Great Trail 157 259 436 Buckeye 131 151 438 Dan Beard 348 388 439 Tecumseh 72 87 440 Lake Erie (was Greater Cleveland) 160 301 441 Simon Kenton 327 319 444 Miami Valley 133 137 449 Black Swamp Area 124 143 456 Pathway to Adventure (merged cncls 118, 147, 152, 751 in 2015) 432 521 460 Erie Shores 131 130 467 Muskingum Valley 34 35 468 Arbuckle Area 27 43 469 Cherokee Area 20 24 474 Cimarron 37 39 480 Last Frontier 201 198 488 Indian Nations 185 185 491 Crater Lake 76 95 492 Cascade Pacific 531 501 497 Juniata Valley 52 54 500 Moraine Trails 63 55 501 Northeastern Pennsylvania 100 103 502 Minsi Trails 208 239 504 Columbia – Montour 21 25 509 Bucktail 28 40 512 Westmoreland – Fayette 131 119 524 Pennsylvania Dutch 129 118 525 Cradle of Liberty 363 322 527 Laurel Highlands 422 407 528 Hawk Mountain 132 144 532 French Creek 106 108 533 Susquehanna 62 61 538 Chief Cornplanter 17 11 539 Chester County 190 223 544 New Birth of Freedom 257 233 546 Narragansett 299 338 549 Palmetto 110 117 550 Coastal Carolina 119 130 551 Blue Ridge 162 172 552 Pee Dee Area 50 57 553 Indian Waters 171 165 556 Cherokee Area 53 69 557 Great Smokey Mountain 163 178 558 Chickasaw 194 175 559 West Tennessee Area 89 79 560 Middle Tennessee 382 410 561 Texas Trails 30 25 562 Golden Spread 42 49 564 Capitol Area 448 436 567 Buffalo Trail 31 30 571 Circle Ten 1007 985 573 Yucca 86 92 574 Bay Area 137 166 576 Sam Houston Area 1155 1137 577 South Texas 110 89 578 Three Rivers 74 55 580 NeTseO Trails 32 0 583 Alamo Area 368 374 584 Caddo Area 35 47 585 East Texas Area 96 88 587 Northwest Texas 18 33 589 Trapper Trails 1438 1576 590 Great Salt Lake 2005 2068 591 Utah National Parks 2341 2345 595 Colonial Virginia 177 157 596 Tidewater 212 178 598 Shenandoah Area 70 82 599 Blue Ridge Mountains 183 193 602 Heart of Virginia 261 297 604 Blue Mountain 120 93 606 Mount Baker 172 159 609 Chief Seattle 442 455 610 Great Alaska 115 85 611 Inland Northwest 241 190 612 Pacific Harbors 238 224 614 Grand Columbia 71 67 615 Mountaineer Area 26 22 617 Buckskin 98 118 618 Allohak 55 54 619 Ohio River Valley 26 31 620 Glacier’s Edge 160 118 624 Gateway Area 33 37 627 Samoset 76 76 635 Bay – Lakes 281 308 636 Three Harbors 136 157 637 Chippewa Valley 31 48 638 Central Wyoming 49 52 640 Greater New York Councils 182 191 651 Potawatomi Area 132 154 653 Great Rivers 133 104 660 Blackhawk Area 145 166 661 Puerto Rico 188 128 662 Longhorn 584 540 664 Suwannee River Area 73 69 690 Burlington County 200 186 691 Pushmataha Area 23 14 694 South Plains 36 41 695 Black Hills Area 30 19 696 Midnight Sun 25 16 697 Oregon Trail 70 80 702 Rainbow 97 75 713 Sequoyah 90 95 733 Sioux 115 101 741 Texas Southwest 23 39 748 Yocona Area 57 54 763 Stonewall Jackson Area 113 106 773 Gulf Coast 99 130 775 Rio Grande 45 66 777 Washington Crossing (was Bucks County) 303 359 781 President Gerald R. Ford FSC 243 224 782 Water and Woods FSC 247 232 783 Southern Shores FSC 223 227 800 Direct Service 7 1 802 Transatlantic 180 133 803 Far East 95 76

Sorted by number of 2017 Eagles

Rank Council 2016 2017 1 591 Utah National Parks           2,341           2,345 2 590 Great Salt Lake           2,005           2,068 3 82   National Capital Area (VI merged into 82 in 2013)           1,538           1,589 4 589 Trapper Trails           1,438           1,576 5 10   Grand Canyon           1,285           1,421 6 576 Sam Houston Area           1,155           1,137 7 571 Circle Ten           1,007                985 8 307 Heart of America                757                934 9 250 Northern Star                773                770 10 312 Greater St. Louis Area                652                744 11 39   Orange County                697                728 12 92   Atlanta Area                713                676 13 107 Grand Teton                606                669 14 33   Greater Los Angeles Area                575                547 15 662 Longhorn                584                540 16 47   Golden Empire                525                537 17 61   Denver Area                520                524 18 456 Pathway to Adventure (merged cncls 118, 147, 152, 751 in 2015)                432                521 19 220 Baltimore Area                516                517 20 492 Cascade Pacific                531                501 21 421 Occoneechee                561                478 22 328 Las Vegas Area                424                463 23 83   Central Florida                407                459 24 45   California Inland Empire                480                458 25 609 Chief Seattle                442                455 26 106 Ore – Ida                457                454 27 49   San Diego – Imperial                456                453 28 564 Capitol Area                448                436 29 358 Partriots’ Path                403                433 30 160 Crossroads of America                392                411 31 560 Middle Tennessee                382                410 32 527 Laurel Highlands                422                407 33 272 Great Lakes (merged into 784)                525                406 34 66   Connecticut Rivers                424                393 35 251 Mayflower                393 36 438 Dan Beard                348                388 37 127 Three Fires                379                386 38 55   Santa Clara County (25 & 55 merged)                343                378 39 1     Greater Alabama                390                377 40 583 Alamo Area                368                374 41 777 Washington Crossing (was Bucks County)                303                359 42 23   Mount Diablo – Silverado                347                342 43 546 Narragansett                299                338 44 404 Suffolk County                295                336 45 333 Northern New Jersey                316                331 46 227 The Spirit of Adventure                292                328 47 205 Lincoln Heritage                356                323 48 525 Cradle of Liberty                363                322 49 441 Simon Kenton                327                319 50 89   West Central Florida                370                309 51 635 Bay – Lakes                281                308 52 326 Mid – America                316                307 53 101 Northeast Georgia                295                304 54 440 Lake Erie (was Greater Cleveland)                160                301 55 602 Heart of Virginia                261                297 56 386 Theodore Roosevelt                191                289 57 72   Connecticut Yankee                296                288 58 51  Western Los Angeles Area                307                278 59 415 Mecklenburg County                269                268 60 397 Seneca Waterways                264                260 61 433 Great Trail                157                259 62 87   North Florida                267                258 63 70   Old North State                298                252 64 374 Hudson Valley                200                247 65 104 Aloha                266                241 66 502 Minsi Trails                208                239 67 544 New Birth of Freedom                257                233 68 782 Water and Woods FSC                247                232 69 420 Piedmont                248                228 70 347 Monmouth                237                227 71 783 Southern Shores FSC                223                227 72 31   Pacific Skyline                187                226 73 129 Northeast Illinois                208                225 74 612 Pacific Harbors                238                224 75 781 President Gerald R. Ford FSC                243                224 76 539 Chester County                190                223 77 60   Pikes Peak                199                218 78 62   Longs Peak                223                212 79 84   South Florida                228                212 80 28   San Francisco Bay Area                200                205 81 330 Daniel Webster                214                203 82 364 Twin Rivers                182                201 83 480 Last Frontier                201                198 84 599 Blue Ridge Mountains                183                193 85 640 Greater New York Councils                182                191 86 611 Inland Northwest                241                190 87 177 Mid – Iowa                178                188 88 690 Burlington County                200                186 89 488 Indian Nations                185                185 90 315 Montana                197                181 91 557 Great Smokey Mountain                163                178 92 596 Tidewater                212                178 93 388 Westchester – Putnam                171                176 94 558 Chickasaw                194                175 95 551 Blue Ridge                162                172 96 412 Great Southwest                158                170 97 81   Del – Mar – Va                201                167 98 574 Bay Area                137                166 99 660 Blackhawk Area                145                166 100 553 Indian Waters                171                165 101 85   Gulf Stream                169                160 102 303 Andrew Jackson                160                160 103 11   Catalina                170                159 104 606 Mount Baker                172                159 105 306 Ozark Trails                138                158 106 416 Central North Carolina                147                158 107 426 East Carolina                198                157 108 595 Colonial Virginia                177                157 109 636 Three Harbors                136                157 110 429 Northern Lights                145                156 111 651 Potawatomi Area                132                154 112 436 Buckeye                131                151 113 57   Ventura County                169                147 114 380 Greater Niagara Frontier                186                146 115 18   Quapaw Area                155                145 116 528 Hawk Mountain                132                144 117 427 Old Hickory                160                143 118 449 Black Swamp Area                124                143 119 111 Snake River                169                140 120 95   Flint River                161                138 121 138 W. D. Boyce                121                138 122 444 Miami Valley                133                137 123 198 Quivira                150                133 124 802 Transatlantic                180                133 125 59   Greater Yosemite                139                130 126 460 Erie Shores                131                130 127 550 Coastal Carolina                119                130 128 773 Gulf Coast                   99                130 129 204 Blue Grass                132                129 130 661 Puerto Rico                188                128 131 341 Jersey Shore                110                126 132 211 Istrouma Area                132                122 133 329 Nevada Area                128                122 134 373 Longhouse                105                122 135 27   Sequoia                138                121 136 88   Southwest Florida                141                121 137 218 Pine Tree                125                120 138 512 Westmoreland – Fayette                131                119 139 214 Southeast Louisiana                   84                118 140 524 Pennsylvania Dutch                129                118 141 617 Buckskin                   98                118 142 620 Glacier’s Edge                160                118 143 549 Palmetto                110                117 144 16   Westark Area                102                115 145 425 Cape Fear                115                114 146 532 French Creek                106                108 147 165 La Salle                   94                107 148 763 Stonewall Jackson Area                113                106 149 99   Coastal ( Empire) Georgia – 3/1/14                   93                105 150 157 Anthony Wayne Area                   87                104 151 653 Great Rivers                133                104 152 172 Hawkeye Area                   96                103 153 501 Northeastern Pennsylvania                100                103 154 733 Sioux                115                101 155 156 Buffalo Trace                   97                   96 156 53   Los Padres                   99                   95 157 491 Crater Lake                   76                   95 158 713 Sequoyah                   90                   95 159 254 Mohegan                   60                   94 160 324 Cornhusker                102                   94 161 414 Daniel Boone                116                   93 162 604 Blue Mountain                120                   93 163 424 Tuscarora                   97                   92 164 573 Yucca                   86                   92 165 234 Western Massachusetts                   83                   90 166 577 South Texas                110                   89 167 585 East Texas Area                   96                   88 168 439 Tecumseh                   72                   87 169 311 Pony Express                   87                   85 170 610 Great Alaska                115                   85 171 58   Verdugo Hills                   85                   83 172 598 Shenandoah Area                   70                   82 173 162 Sagamore                   68                   81 174 697 Oregon Trail                   70                   80 175 133 Illowa                103                   79 176 145 Hoosier Trails                   98                   79 177 559 West Tennessee Area                   89                   79 178 91   Chattahoochee                   65                   78 179 96   Central Georgia                   91                   78 180 304 Pine Burr                   84                   76 181 627 Samoset                   76                   76 182 803 Far East                   95                   76 183 702 Rainbow                   97                   75 184 93   Georgia – Carolina                   84                   74 185 400 Leatherstocking                   71                   74 186 368 Baden – Powell                   77                   72 187 230 Nashua Valley                116                   70 188 173 Winnebago                   62                   69 189 556 Cherokee Area                   53                   69 190 664 Suwannee River Area                   73                   69 191 5     Tukabatchee Area                   61                   68 192 32   Long Beach Area                   61                   68 193 221 Mason – Dixon                   69                   67 194 322 Overland Trails                   74                   67 195 614 Grand Columbia                   71                   67 196 30   Southern Sierra                   60                   66 197 775 Rio Grande                   45                   66 198 296 Central Minnesota                   61                   63 199 299 Gamehaven                   50                   63 200 533 Susquehanna                   62                   61 201 41   Redwood Empire                   77                   58 202 552 Pee Dee Area                   50                   57 203 98   Alapaha Area                   45                   56 204 144 Abraham Lincoln                   63                   56 205 197 Jayhawk Area                   61                   56 206 4     Mobile Area                   66                   55 207 500 Moraine Trails                   63                   55 208 578 Three Rivers                   74                   55 209 497 Juniata Valley                   52                   54 210 618 Allohak                   55                   54 211 748 Yocona Area                   57                   54 212 121 Lincoln Trails                   30                   52 213 141 Mississippi Valley                   60                   52 214 213 Louisiana Purchase                   46                   52 215 376 Iroquois Trail                   63                   52 216 638 Central Wyoming                   49                   52 217 64   Western Colorado                   41                   51 218 283 Twin Valley                   47                   50 219 562 Golden Spread                   42                   49 220 637 Chippewa Valley                   31                   48 221 117 Prairielands                   42                   47 222 584 Caddo Area                   35                   47 223 192 Coronado Area                   58                   46 224 212 Evangeline Area                   45                   46 225 63   Rocky Mountain                   26                   45 226 286 Voyageurs Area                   58                   45 227 224 Cape Cod and Islands                   26                   44 228 35   Marin                   43                   43 229 468 Arbuckle Area                   27                   43 230 216 Katahdin Area                   54                   42 231 375 Five Rivers                   61                   42 232 382 Allegheny Highlands                   35                   42 233 6     Black Warrior                   35                   41 234 694 South Plains                   36                   41 235 100 Northwest Georgia                   56                   40 236 509 Bucktail                   28                   40 237 474 Cimarron                   37                   39 238 741 Texas Southwest                   23                   39 239 3     Alabama – Florida                   43                   38 240 624 Gateway Area                   33                   37 241 215 Norwela                   37                   36 242 467 Muskingum Valley                   34                   35 243 102 Maui County                   22                   33 244 587 Northwest Texas                   18                   33 245 178 Northeast Iowa                   46                   32 246 619 Ohio River Valley                   26                   31 247 567 Buffalo Trail                   31                   30 248 69   Housatonic                   25                   27 249 405 Rip Van Winkle                   26                   26 250 504 Columbia – Montour                   21                   25 251 561 Texas Trails                   30                   25 252 209 Calcasieu Area                   17                   24 253 469 Cherokee Area                   20                   24 254 22   Alameda                   19                   22 255 194 Santa Fe Trail                   15                   22 256 615 Mountaineer Area                   26                   22 257 302 Choctaw Area                   14                   21 258 413 Conquistador                   17                   20 259 695 Black Hills Area                   30                   19 260 42   Piedmont                   13                   18 261 696 Midnight Sun                   25                   16 262 67   Greenwich                   18                   14 263 691 Pushmataha Area                   23                   14 264 538 Chief Cornplanter                   17                   11 265 13   De Soto Area                   10                      7 266 800 Direct Service                      7                      1 For more Eagle Scout stats, click here.

Hat tip: Thanks to the BSA’s Mike Lo Vecchio for the data.

Nine quotes about Scouting from the Eagles on the Hill gathering in D.C.

Bryan On Scouting -

At a special Eagles on the Hill gathering in Washington, D.C., more than 100 people — most of them Eagle Scouts — gathered to celebrate Scouting.

Among those who assembled in the stately Committee on Ways and Means Hearing Room on Wednesday were Eagle Scout congressmen, Eagle Scout congressional staffers, Eagle Scout students and Eagle Scout business leaders.

The event was hosted by the National Eagle Scout Association and NESA-DC, the National Capital Area Council’s NESA chapter.

Eagles on the Hill serves as a vivid reminder that Scouting has real power on Capitol Hill. Even when Eagle Scouts in Washington differ on political issues, they’re united in the belief that Scouting continues to instill essential character values and leadership skills.

Here are nine of my favorite quotes from the event:

Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, Eagle Scout

“As we were engaged in Scouting, we were growing as young people and trying to make this country better.”

Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Eagle Scout

“When I was in Scouts, I remember working on Citizenship in the Nation merit badge, and I thought, ‘When am I going to use this?’ Now I use it every day.”

“Earning Eagle keeps getting harder and harder and harder.”

Rep. Chris Collins of New York, Eagle Scout

“Go to work, do your best, Be Prepared, and you will sleep well at night.”

“[Welcoming girls into Scouting] was the right thing to do, and I commend the Scout board. … Mike [Surbaugh], you showed leadership in that.”

Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh (center) sits with NESA President Frank Tsuru (left) and Les Baron, Scout Executive of the National Capital Area Council.

Mike Surbaugh, BSA Chief Scout Executive, Eagle Scout

“Cubmasters, den leaders, Scoutmasters created this experience that transformed these young lives into what we see today.”

Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior

“There is no replacement for hard work. There isn’t an Eagle Scout out there who didn’t work hard.”

“Be conservation-minded. Recognize the need for conservation. And do something about it. The Boy Scouts have been the leader in conservation since the very beginning.”

“Thank you, Scouts. Thank you leaders of Scouts for what you do. Because our great nation is in your hands.”

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here.

What Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan told Scouts and Venturers about leadership

Bryan On Scouting -

Read a lot, find your purpose and be yourself.

Those were just a few of the nuggets of wisdom offered by the two top leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives: Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

In back-to-back meetings on Wednesday at the Capitol, each of these high-ranking members of Congress offered leadership advice for the visiting Report to the Nation delegates. This was no mere photo op. Ryan and Pelosi sat down at their conference tables and engaged in a real conversation.

On one of Washington’s busiest days of the year, this was yet another example of how the Scouting name opens doors.

House Speaker Paul Ryan

When Ryan entered, the Report to the Nation delegates introduced themselves and gave their hometown.

Eagle Scout Bogan Garcia said he’s from Oklahoma, and Ryan’s eyes lit up. His wife grew up in Madill, Okla., about two hours south of Bogan’s hometown.

Ryan helped point Bogan toward the Will Rogers statue down the hall. He also mentioned that he and his wife have two dogs: Boomer and Sooner, named after the University of Oklahoma fight song.

Now it was Bogan’s turn for a question.

“What advice would you give to somebody trying to get their foot in the door in public office?” he asked.

“Read a lot. Do well in school. Study the classics,” Ryan said. “You want to understand political philosophy. Read the founders; read the Federalist Papers. Read the founding documents.”

This process, Ryan said, will help young people like Bogan see if politics is right for them. If they’re still interested, they can turn that education into action.

“And that means you should volunteer. Volunteer on a campaign, and see what that’s like. And then get an internship with an elected official — just to get a sense for what it’s like,” Ryan said. “Because these jobs are very different in reality than what they seem to be in perception.”

So what is Ryan’s job really like? It’s a lot of meetings and legislative work, he said. He plans legislation, works on legislation and discusses legislation. That explains why, as he told the Scouts, his typical work day begins at 6:20 a.m. and ends around midnight.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

Less than an hour later, the delegates were in Pelosi’s office where Eden Tillotson, a Venturer and Sea Scout from California, asked a question.

“What leadership advice would you give to young people?” she asked.

“Of course, you all could give us advice,” Pelosi began.

She then outlined three things that form an effective leader: vision, knowledge and a plan.

Vision: “If you want other people to follow your lead, it’s important for them to know what motivates you,” Pelosi said.

Knowledge: “Then be informed about it,” she continued. “Know what you’re talking about. When you acquire knowledge, people respect your judgment.”

A plan: “If I have a cause and I want to attract more people do it, what is my plan? A vision without a plan is a fantasy,” Pelosi said. “A vision with a plan can help you accomplish something.”

Michael Long, an Eagle Scout and former OA Lodge Chief, serves on Nancy Pelosi’s staff. Eagles on staff

Ryan has two Eagle Scouts on his staff; Pelosi has one.

Pelosi’s senior advisor is Michael Long, and Pelosi said he brings Scouting values to the office each day.

“He’s an Eagle Scout,” Pelosi said. “That seems to be the biggest compliment that anyone can have.”

Long said he remembers the first time he saw the Report to the Nation delegation visit Pelosi’s office.

His job was answering phones at the front desk — the first person people see when walking in. When the delegation arrived, he noticed the Scout uniforms and struck up a conversation with his fellow Scouts.

“I was so busy greeting and talking to people that the leader was standing there for about five minutes before we actually realized she was there,” Long said.

These days, Long works closely with Eagle Scout staffers serving congressmen from both parties.

“There’s a big contingent here of Eagle Scouts and Philmont staffers,” he said. “And we hang out and help each other. It’s not about politics; it’s about what we learned in Scouting and those common threads.”

Long didn’t plan to be an Eagle Scout when he joined. He had something else that motivated him to show up at that first troop meeting.

“I got in Scouting because I wanted to go camping,” he said. “Full stop. Then I started camping and wanted to be on camp staff because the camp staff was cool. So then I got on camp staff, and I wanted to do Order of the Arrow because I wanted to do what they were doing.”

These days, he has a dream job on Capitol Hill and still keeps up with those troopmates from way back when.

“My lifelong friends, who are on a text chain with me right now, are my tentmates from camp staff,” he said. “One’s in D.C., one’s in New York, one’s in North Carolina. And we talk almost every day.

“We travel, we’ve gone to each other’s weddings, and we’ve seen people have kids. It is a part of my life.”

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here.

Lessons from Washington, D.C.: Real-world experience is as important as education

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The two most important people in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives aren’t Republicans or Democrats.

They’re Julie Adams and Karen Haas.

Adams, the Secretary of the Senate, and Haas, the Clerk of the House, run their respective chambers from behind the scenes. They’re responsible for each bill from beginning to end. They introduce it on the floor, tabulate votes and deliver it to the White House.

But here’s the thing about Adams and Haas: Neither planned to work in her current role. In fact, Adams didn’t even know her current job existed until she began working in the Senate and saw the title of the person who signed her paycheck. Today, every U.S. senator’s paycheck bears Adams’ signature.

Again and again this week in Washington, important officials have told the Scouts and Venturers delivering the Report to the Nation that real-world experience is just as important as education.

It’s a lesson young people everywhere can take to heart.

Julie Adams, Secretary of the Senate, greets the delegates. Experience counts

For young people, Scouting offers the ideal venue for these real-world experiences. Scouts build character and gain leadership skills in a fun environment where it’s OK to fail.

Once they enter the workforce, young people learn that employers look for candidates with practical experience that builds on those fancy degrees.

“I think there’s a lot of real-world experiences that you get in jobs,” Adams said. “You don’t really know what’s out there until you get your foot in the door somewhere.”

Indeed, Adams wanted to be a high school civics teacher until she moved to Washington for some real-world experience and didn’t leave.

“I never planned to do what I’m doing,” she said.

Haas always had a love of history, but she thought she was going to law school. She worked her way up the Capitol Hill food chain and then was nominated to be Clerk.

Prior to that, it was “never something I ever considered,” she said.

Karen Haas (second from right) and Julie Adams (third from right) talk to the delegates. Opening new doors

Haas encouraged the Scouts and Venturers to thoughtfully consider any opportunity that presents itself.

“Talk to people. Listen to people,” she said. “When they give you the option to do something, take it. And at least experience it. Even if it may not be the right thing, it’s helpful to figure out what you don’t want to do.”

Here’s a Scouting example: Earning the Law merit badge could inspire a Scout to go to law school. Or it could help that Scout realize law school isn’t a good fit. In the latter case, a $4.99 merit badge pamphlet is a bargain compared to $100,000 in student loans.

Anthony Peluso, the National Chief of the Order of the Arrow who is considering law school himself, says this week has taught him that life doesn’t always travel in a straight line.

“One thing I’m taking away from this is that 95 percent of everyone that we’re meeting says they wanted to do something, and now they’re doing something else,” he said.

The Exploring program is built around this concept, too. Young men and young women ages 10 to 20 discover new careers through hands-on experiences and one-on-one mentorship. The career fields range from arts to social services.

For these fortunate Report to the Nation delegates, the trip itself has presented some unique opportunities. Eden Tillotson, a Venturer from California, says the group’s visit to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center was eye-opening.

“I’ve never thought of a career in NASA, but now I am,” she said.

Serving all representatives

Haas talked to Andrew Chin of New Jersey about his Eagle Scout project. Andrew, who is legally blind, installed braille signs that made Morristown High School more accessible to visually impaired students.

Haas told Andrew that her team is completing a similar project at the U.S. Capitol. This year they’ll deploy a new braille voting system in the House.

“So should we get a new member that is visually impaired, they’ll be able to vote without any issues in the House of Representatives,” she said. “We’re pretty proud of that change.”

“Oh, that’s great,” Andrew said. “Definitely an improvement in accommodations for people with different needs.”

Receiving the report

The delegates’ discussion with Adams and Haas was captivating, but there was business to do.

The group rose, formed a semicircle and presented the 2017 Report to the Nation to Adams and Haas. The report will be entered into the official congressional record.

As part of the BSA’s congressional charter, the BSA is required to present a report outlining the accomplishments of the previous year. (See the report here.)

The report may be congressionally mandated, but Adams and Haas seem to genuinely enjoy this annual part of their jobs.

“We always feel like the future is in good hands when we walk away from this breakfast,” Haas said.

As a member of STEM Scouts, Anjali Rao of Colorado gets to experience STEM careers in a fun, hands-on setting. Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here.

Three-star Army general, a Life Scout, says Scouting taught him how to work in a team

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He entered the room like a general — commandingly but with magnetic charm.

Lt. Gen. Leslie Smith, Inspector General of the U.S. Army, welcomed the Report to the Nation delegates to his conference room inside the Pentagon on Monday. Before he sat down, he circled the room, shaking each visitor’s hand and asking where they’re from.

Growing up, the three-star general was a Scout in Atlanta. His dad died when he was 5, and he had to teach himself a lot. Scouting helped fill in the gaps.

“I would say Scouting was the first thing that taught me how to work together as a team,” he said. “Being a Scout helped me learn the different things I needed to learn.”

He worked his way all the way to the rank of Life Scout. In Smith, we see living proof that you don’t have to be an Eagle Scout to have had a formative Scouting experience.

Lessons in leadership

Smith excels at talking to young people. He asked thoughtful questions, made sure to engage each participant and seemed genuinely interested in what these future leaders had to say.

Smith said he’s one of just 310 generals on active duty. Compare that to the 1.2 million people on active duty.

“That’s like the camel going through the eye of the needle,” he said.

But even if the odds of becoming a general are 0.03 percent, Smith doesn’t see himself as superior.

“Just because you achieve what you perceive as a semblance of importance in life, doesn’t make you better than that other person,” he said. “OK? It’s another one of those things you learn in Scouting: We’re all on the earth to do something.”

As the delegates left Smith’s conference room and shook his hand one more time, he asked if they wanted to see his office.

Of course they did. Bailey Thompson, a reservist who plans to join the Army full-time, was especially thrilled.

“I think all the guys in my unit are just going to be jealous,” he said.

Words of a general

These were some of my favorite Smith-isms from Monday’s meeting:

On the best leadership advice he ever got: “Listen to your parents. And treat everybody with dignity and respect.”

On paying it forward: “Somebody told you something to make you a Scout, and you have the responsibility to do the same thing.”

On teaching others: “People will come behind you and say, ‘show me what you know.'”

On lifelong education: “Today I just got an email that I’ve got to go to another class — for a whole week. And I’ve been here 32 years; I have two master’s degrees and an undergraduate degree. You’re always learning. That’s the mindset you’ve got to have. You’re always working on your expertise.”

On attitude: “Your ability to deliver has a lot to do with your attitude.”

On what he’d tell his younger self: “Be patient and be persistent.”

On his pet: “I have a dog named Booker T. Washington.” (It’s an Aussiedoodle — a mix between an Australian shepherd and poodle.)

More praise for the BSA

Smith wasn’t the only high-ranking person the delegates met at the Pentagon. Before talking with Smith, the delegates ate lunch in the Joint Chiefs’ dining room. Their host: Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Wayne Troxell, the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford.

“To all you Scouts in attendance today, thank you so much for what you do every day to make yourself a better person,” Troxell said. “To the Boy Scouts of America leadership, thank you all for being here today.”

Troxell joined the BSA 48 years ago as a 6-year-old Cub Scout in Davenport, Iowa. He said his parents raised him right — he went to school, he learned to be a good person, he learned right and wrong.

“But what I learned in Scouting is I learned purpose. I learned motivation, and I learned direction,” Troxell said. “It’s kind of stayed with me throughout a 36-year military career now — what I learned as a young kid.”

Touring the Pentagon

The Report to the Nation delegates got a VIP tour of the Pentagon — the largest low-rise office building in the world.

This tour is reserved for foreign dignitaries and guests of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

But the Pentagon offers public tours, too. These tours are free and open to groups like Boy Scout troops or Cub Scout packs.

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here.

Eagle Scouts on the rise at U.S. Naval Academy, lifting all boats

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In middle school and high school, Andrew Lee got tired of teachers and classmates telling him he “can’t do this and can’t do that.”

So he became a Boy Scout. Then an Eagle Scout.

“Boy Scouts was the first time someone told me what I can do,” he said.

He’s been doing great things ever since. Lee is a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He’s kind of obsessed with submarines and wants to work on one some day.

“I don’t think I would’ve been able to get in to the academy without Boy Scouts,” Lee said. “Now I want to give back to the Scouts in any way I can.”

Lee was one of four Eagle Scout midshipmen who gave a special tour of the Naval Academy to the Report to the Nation delegates on Sunday.

The weather was rainy and gloomy, but these midshipmen made the day seem bright.

Life of a midshipman

Jacob Broz, president of the National Eagle Scout Association chapter at the U.S. Naval Academy, led the tour. He’s in his final year, with just 88 days left until his commissioning. (But who’s counting?)

Broz took the delegates inside the giant dorm building where 4,500 men and women — from plebes in their first year to “firsties” in their last — live in close comfort.

The dorm is the largest in the country. It might be the tidiest, too.

Broz said the midshipmen must leave their room with the bed made, floor swept, door open at a 90-degree angle and blinds halfway up. To save time, Broz sleeps in a sleeping bag on top of his sheets. In the morning, the sleeping bag gets tucked away, leaving only the pristine sheets in view.

Eagles everywhere

John Ertel, an Eagle Scout and retired Naval Academy physics professor, started the NESA chapter at the academy many years ago. It’s now the country’s largest NESA chapter, but back then it was the first that wasn’t council-based.

I had always heard that one out of every 10 midshipmen at the academy is an Eagle Scout, but Ertel said the actual number is probably even higher — perhaps closer to one in seven.

Why the under-reporting? Because the Eagle Scout data comes from admissions applications. If a 17-year-old applies and is accepted to the Naval Academy when he’s a Life Scout, the academy has no way of knowing whether he later became an Eagle Scout.

Welcoming change

Ertel said he has talked to several Eagle Scout midshipmen about the BSA’s plan to offer a Boy Scout-age program to girls — with a path toward Eagle Scout — beginning in 2019.

To put it simply, he said, these Eagle Scouts support the move.

“They believe women who do the same work should get the same recognition,” Ertel said.

Intrigued, I asked some Eagle Scout midshipmen myself.

One said he appreciated the chance to “open up the doors to offer those opportunities” to young women.

Another said that as long as the requirements are just as tough, he’s ready to welcome young women as fellow Eagle Scouts.

A third said it’s “all about equality of opportunities.”

Come to the Naval Academy in 2019

Have you heard about the STEM Merit Badge Jamboree at the Naval Academy? Every year, midshipmen lead 800 Boy Scouts through a weekend of fun, merit badges and learning in Annapolis.

More than 5,000 Scouts apply for the 800 available slots. Space is limited because of the physical space available and the commitment of people and resources, but the academy’s NESA chapter is looking at ways to boost the capacity.

To be among the first to learn about the next STEM Merit Badge Jamboree in 2019, be sure to “like” the U.S. Naval Academy’s NESA Facebook page.

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here.

Bats, bones and a one-eyed cat thrill Scouts during Smithsonian stop

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Suzy Peurach owns a one-eyed cat.

Well, technically it belongs to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. But as the collections manager for the museum’s department of mammals, Peurach is responsible for the cat and another 600,000 specimens.

The purpose of the cyclops cat, which floats in a jar of ethanol, isn’t to deliver Ripley’s Believe It or Not-caliber chills. It’s to demonstrate the scientific value of mammals with genetic mutations.

Most Smithsonian guests don’t get to see the cat, located in a sixth-floor room filled with metal cabinets organized by species.

But then again, most Smithsonian guests aren’t delegates delivering the BSA’s Report to the Nation.

On Sunday, the Scouts, Venturers and Explorer ventured into an employees-only area with their hosts from the museum. These hosts, who volunteered their time on a Sunday afternoon, brought out some of their favorite specimens to inspire, educate and, yes, even shock the delegates.

‘An evil troll’ The wrinkle-faced bat, or Centurio senex … or evil troll.

Peurach takes the delegates to two white, waist-high tables where she has displayed a number of mammals — from the tiniest shrew to a giant porcupine collected in Afghanistan. She refers to each mammal by its scientific name.

She doesn’t call her favorite animal the wrinkle-faced bat. It’s the Centurio senex.

Actually, I prefer the name chosen by Donnell Thomas, a Cub Scout from Michigan.

“It looks like a troll,” Donnell said. “An evil troll.”

“Or, like, an ultra pug,” said Bogan Garcia, an Eagle Scout from Oklahoma.

Peurach explains that the bat has a built-in facemask it can pull over its face. Males use it as part of their mating ritual, she said. The wrinkles help it suck up the juices of the fruit it eats.

Later, Daniel Yu, an Eagle Scout from Illinois, impressed Peurach with his knowledge of the platypus, which Daniel calls “one of the craziest animals.” They’re one of just two mammals that lay eggs. The females have two ovaries, but just one functions. The males have venomous spurs on their feet.

“Wow,” she said. “You know more about them than I do.”

The human touch

Dr. David Hunt, an Eagle Scout anthropologist at the Smithsonian, opened a battered plastic box with a complete set of human bones inside. The bones are from an unsolved case from the 1980s.

“So those aren’t plastic?” asked Sean Golding, a Life Scout from California. “Those are real bones?”

Yes, Hunt said. He shared how human bones hold clues to a person’s identity.

Hunt’s knack for reading those clues makes him an expert in the field. He frequently testifies in court cases, revealing who the victim of a crime was and how he or she died.

He went through an exercise with Mercedes Matlock, the National Sea Scout Boatswain and pre-med biology major from Maryland.

He started with the skull, pointing out the first two molars there.

“So the person was at least 12,” Mercedes said.

“Exactly. And we actually see the third molars,” Hunt added.

“So we know the person was at least 17 or 18,” she said.

Correct again. The pelvic bones were next, and the hip width helped Mercedes identify this person as female.

Mercedes looked inside the box.

“Is this the spine?” she asked Hunt. “Can I take this out of the bag?”

With Hunt’s OK, she did. She removed each piece and stacked it into the spinal column.

Hunt, seemingly spotting a future medical researcher, only smiled.

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here.

Scouts find scientific inspiration, and maybe future jobs, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

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NASA optical physicist Ray Ohl seemed pleasantly surprised.

His opening question to the Report to the Nation delegates had been this: “Are any of you interested in a science or engineering or technical career?”

Immediately, 10 hands shot into the air.

“All right! That’s great to hear,” Ohl said. “Lots of careers in science will be hiring. In fact, there are NASA internships at every NASA facility.”

Facilities like Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, where NASA built the Hubble Space Telescope and its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope.

It is the 26th year that Goddard has hosted the Report to the Nation delegates. Each year, NASA scientists like Ohl give up a Saturday to drive into their place of work and host a group of Scouts and Venturers.

Each year, the Goddard visit demonstrates that the kind of hands-on STEM experiences young people get in Scouting could translate into exciting jobs at places like NASA.

And with the BSA’s new STEM Scouts program, that opportunity is available to more young people than ever before.

A passion for science

You could tell that Ohl, who serves as a den leader in his son’s Cub Scout pack, enjoys his job.

He talks about black holes the way a football fan might describe a game-winning catch. The enthusiasm level is high, and hand motions and sound effects are in full use.

Ohl’s black hole talk began with four or five delegates. As the conversation went on, even more were drawn into his orbit.

One of the Scouts who seemed especially interested was Daniel Yu, an Eagle Scout from Illinois who designed and built with his troop a project that was sent to the International Space Station.

As they walked past the giant vacuum chamber where NASA tests some of its space technology, Daniel asked Ohl to verify something he’d heard in his studies.

“In a vacuum, there’s no air resistance,” Daniel said. “You get rid of all forces except gravity. Is that why a bowling ball and a feather will fall at the same rate in a vacuum?”

“That’s right,” Ohl said. “Very good.”

(Skeptical, I had to see this for myself. Apparently it’s true.)

Discovering the future

At Goddard, the NASA team is working on a number of projects that could lead to a deeper understanding of our universe and the development of what Ohl called “Star Trek-like technology.”

Goddard’s primary hub for that research is a giant clean room where work can be completed in a sterile environment.

“This is the biggest clean room in the world,” Ohl said. Then a beat later, he added, “Actually, the Russians have one that’s bigger, but it’s not as clean.”

The delegates stood on the viewing platform, peering through glass at the massive white cube — a blank canvas for scientific breakthroughs.

Looked at another way, these young people might have been peering into their futures as NASA scientists.

As they departed Goddard, the delegates thanked Ohl for his time.

He told them to apply for a NASA internship, because he could see their boundless potential.

That’s the power of Scouting.

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland

Watch: Hear from the Report to the Nation delegates, in their own words

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After representing the Boy Scouts of America this week in Washington, D.C., the Report to the Nation delegates will leave with some amazing stories.

But as I talked with each delegate today, one fact became clear: They arrived with some amazing stories, too.

There’s the Eagle Scout from New Jersey who didn’t let his own visual impairment slow him down as he completed an Eagle project to benefit students who are blind. And the STEM Scout from Colorado who, at age 12, developed a revolutionary device to test for lead in water. And the Explorer from Nevada who stepped into the line of fire to save at least two dozen people after the concert shooting last October.

I interviewed 11 of the 12 delegates yesterday. (The 12th delegate is National Order of the Arrow Chief Anthony Peluso. He joins the delegation today after completing a site visit for the 2018 National Order of the Arrow Conference.)

The interview aired live on Scouting magazine’s Facebook page, but you can see a complete replay below.

Prepare to be amazed.

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

BSA goes to Washington: These 12 terrific young people will represent you in D.C.

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Take heart, fellow Scouters: If these 12 young people are the future of our country, there’s reason for overwhelming optimism.

Twelve tremendous delegates will represent the Boy Scouts of America next week in Washington, D.C., to deliver the 2017 Report to the Nation.

The delegates come from 11 different states, all four BSA regions and six different BSA programs: Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Venturing, Sea Scouting, Exploring and STEM Scouts.

You’ll meet each in a second. But first, a brief overview of Report to the Nation.

The 2017 Report to the Nation summarizes another phenomenal year for the BSA. But it’s no mere self-congratulatory exercise.

Section 8 of the BSA’s 1916 congressional charter requires the BSA to present an annual report to Congress. The BSA maximizes this opportunity by selecting youth delegates from across the country to hand-deliver the report to key officials in the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

Once again this year, I’ll be your eyes and ears on the ground all week. I’ll report on the Report right here on this blog and on Twitter and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

What’s in the 2017 Report to the Nation?

The actual 2017 Report to the Nation is a two-page glance at the BSA’s many accomplishments last year. (See the report here.)

Some highlights:

  • The BSA served 2.2 million youth participants and nearly 1 million adult volunteers.
  • Exactly 55,494 young men earned the Eagle Scout rank.
  • BSA members recorded more than 15.6 million hours of service to their communities.
  • Scouts earned more than 1.8 million merit badges.
  • Scouts and Venturers spent more than 5.6 million nights camping.
When is the 2017 Report to the Nation visit?

We call it the 2017 Report to the Nation, because it’s the BSA’s report about all the great Scouting stuff that happened last year.

But the actual trip to Washington takes place in 2018 — Feb. 24 to March 1, to be exact.

How are the delegates chosen?

Each fall, local councils nominate a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Venturer or Explorer for this honor. The National Service Center sends these names to a committee for review. Seven to nine young people are hand-picked to be a representative group of all programs from all four regions of the country.

Three more delegates get automatic selections: the National Sea Scout Boatswain, the National Order of the Arrow Chief and the National Venturing President.

Where are the delegates going?

While the exact itinerary must remain confidential because of security reasons, I can tell you the delegates will spend the week meeting with some of the most influential leaders in the nation to help showcase all of the wonderful ways Scouting makes a difference.

What are the plans to cover the 2018 trip?

Watch for daily blog posts here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

When the schedule permits, I’ll go live on Facebook to discuss the day’s events with the delegates. That’ll be on the Scouting magazine Facebook page, so be sure your notifications are on.

Finally, you’ll be able to see photos from the week’s action — taken by photographers Michael Roytek and Randy Piland — on Flickr.

Who are the delegates?

Let’s meet the delegates, sorted alphabetically by first name.

Andrew Chin Eagle Scout from New Jersey

Age: 19

From: Troop 228 of Cedar Knolls, N.J., part of the Patriots’ Path Council

Scouting accomplishments: Cub Scout, Arrow of Light Award, Senior Patrol Leader, earned 27 merit badges, Eagle Scout Award

Noteworthy: Andrew has a form of juvenile macular degeneration that has left him with only peripheral vision. For his Eagle project, he raised $4,000 to install 188 braille signs that made Morristown (N.J.) High School more accessible to blind and visually impaired students. He guided 120 volunteers over 600 hours. He then held a Blindness Awareness Day where 13 exhibitors promoted awareness of the activities and daily living solutions for blind and visually impaired people.

What he’s up to now: Andrew is a freshman at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia where he is pursuing a six-year doctorate in occupational therapy.

Anjali Rao STEM Scout from Colorado

Age: 12

From: Lone Tree, Colo., part of the Denver Area Council

Scouting accomplishments: As a STEM Scout, Anjali was named America’s Top Young Scientist of 2017 by the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. She invented a device that detects lead in water faster than any other current technique.

Noteworthy: Anjali published her first book at age 9. The self-illustrated book, Baby Brother Wonders, describes the world through her younger brother’s point of view. The book won second place in a PBS national writing contest. Additionally, Anjali is an anti-bullying advocate. She conducts workshops in elementary schools to educate children about kindness.

What she’s up to now: When she grows up, Anjali wants to study genetics and epidemiology at MIT. She hopes to keep writing, discovering and sharing her knowledge.

Anthony Peluso Eagle Scout from Virginia
National Order of the Arrow Chief

Age: 19

From: Troop 303 of Virginia Beach, Va., part of the Tidewater Council

Scouting accomplishments: Eagle Scout, Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, elected by his peers to be National Order of the Arrow Chief for 2018

Noteworthy: Anthony has never stopped serving others — from elementary school to today. In high school, he was on the soccer, basketball and tennis teams, and was involved in student government, theater and church groups. He was his school’s National Honor Society president.

What he’s up to now: Anthony is a sophomore at Virginia Tech, where he studies economics with a double-minor in business leadership and political science. After graduation, he plans to attend law school.

Bailey Thompson Law Enforcement Explorer from Nevada

Age: 17

From: Explorer Post 198 of Boulder City, Nev., part of the Las Vegas Area Council

Scouting accomplishments: Bailey is a Law Enforcement Explorer and soldier in the U.S. Army.

Noteworthy: Bailey was at the concert in Las Vegas last October when a man started shooting at the crowd. Instead of running away, Bailey ran toward the gunfire and began loading victims into his truck to drive them to the hospital. After dropping off 13 victims, he went back to find more people to help.

What he’s up to now: When he’s not involved with the Army or Exploring, Bailey enjoys bull riding, hunting and fishing — anything that gives him the chance to be outdoors. Bailey wants to be a police officer.

Blake Deaton Eagle Scout from North Carolina

Age: 16

From: Troop 130 of Kinston, N.C., part of the East Carolina Council

Scouting accomplishments: Cub Scout, Arrow of Light Award, God and Church Award, earned 81 merit badges, Eagle Scout Award

Noteworthy: Blake received the 2017 Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award. His project, which I blogged about in May, involved building and equipping sensory educational rooms for students with autism or other special needs. He was inspired by his twin brother, Shane, who is blind and autistic.

What he’s up to now: Blake recently starred in his high school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. He hopes to be a clinical psychologist, continuing his passion for helping others.

Bogan Garcia Eagle Scout from Oklahoma

Age: 15

From: Troop 275 of Oklahoma City, part of the Last Frontier Council

Scouting accomplishments: Cub Scout, Arrow of Light Award, two-time top popcorn seller in his council, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Eagle Scout Award

Noteworthy: Bogan had quite the busy summer last year. He was the crew leader on a trek at Philmont Scout Ranch, completed National Youth Leadership Training and attended the 2017 National Jamboree.

What he’s up to now: Bogan is his school’s freshman class president. He hopes to attend the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics as a junior, in preparation for applying to MIT.

Daniel Yu Eagle Scout from Illinois

Age: 16

From: Troop 209 of Arlington Heights, Ill., part of the Pathway to Adventure Council

Scouting accomplishments: Webmaster, Scribe, Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Eagle Scout Award

Noteworthy: Daniel designed and built with his troop a project that was sent to the International Space Station. The experiment looked at the rate of carcinogen mutation in microgravity and could impact research on tissue growth and cancer. Daniel and his troop logged more than 5,200 hours over two years to perfect the experiment.

What he’s up to now: Daniel is a member of his school’s Model U.N., vice president of the Gaming Club, volunteers at the local care center and is an award-winning violinist. He aspires to study computer science after high school.

Donnell Thomas Cub Scout from Michigan

Age: 9

From: Pack 188 of South Haven, Mich., part of the Michigan Crossroads Council

Scouting accomplishments: Leave No Trace Award (now the Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award)

Noteworthy: Donnell loves fishing, going to summer camp and racing cars in the Pinewood Derby. Donnell has two heroes: the superhero Flash, who uses his quickness to help others; and his grandpa, Jeffrey Dick, who sets a good example for him to follow.

What he’s up to now: Donnell loves school, and his favorite subjects are reading and gym. In addition to Cub Scouting, his extracurricular activities include football, baseball and church. When he gets older, Donnell wants to be a firefighter so he can help people when they get in trouble.

Eden Tillotson Venturer and Sea Scout from California

Age: 15

From: Crew 500 and Ship 1886 of San Diego, part of the San Diego-Imperial Council

Scouting accomplishments: president of her council’s Venturing officers’ association, ship boatswain

Noteworthy: Since joining the BSA, Eden has spoken about invasive species and the need to keep our beaches clean. She even set up beach cleanup in her area. She’s also an advocate for ending bullying and participated in Circle of Friends, a program within schools where students have lunch with children with special needs. She’s also an avid traveler, having hiked in Alaska, Peru and Japan.

What she’s up to now: Eden is a freshman at University City High School, taking an AP Environmental Science Course and other advanced courses. She plans to earn a degree in science, possibly majoring in epidemiology or neuroscience.

Mercedes Matlock Quartermaster Sea Scout from Maryland
National Sea Scout Boatswain

Age: 19

From: Ship 59 of Bethesda, Md., part of the National Capital Area Council

Scouting accomplishments: Quartermaster Award (Sea Scouting’s highest award), Northeast Region Boatswain Mate and Boatswain, Girl Scout Bronze and Silver awards, graduated from NYLT (National Youth Leadership Training) and SEAL (Sea Scout Advanced Leadership)

Noteworthy: Mercedes has tirelessly supported Sea Scouting, helping grow and promote the program at council, regional and national events. As National Sea Scout Boatswain, she represents Sea Scouts on ships from sea to shining sea.

What she’s up to now: Mercedes attends Hampton University in Virginia where she’s a pre-med biology major who hopes to become a pediatric cardiologist and complete medical research.

Michelle Merritt Venturer from Massachusetts
National Venturing President

Age: 19

From: Crew 345 of Milton, Mass., part of the Spirit of Adventure Council

Scouting accomplishments: Northeast Region Area 1 Venturing president, National Venturing Vice President, Venturing Silver Award, Venturing Pathfinder Award, National Venturing Leadership Award

Noteworthy: Michelle joined Venturing at 14 to experience what the outdoors had to offer, and she was hooked. Five years later, Michelle was elected by a group of 16 Venturers to represent the program as National Venturing President.

What she’s up to now: Michelle attends Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., as a chemical and biological engineering student.

Sean Golding Life Scout from California

Age: 13

From: Troop 649 of San Diego, part of the San Diego-Imperial Council

Scouting accomplishments: Cub Scout, Arrow of Light Award, Senior Patrol Leader

Noteworthy: Sean loves earning merit badges, learning new things and teaching skills to others. He’s a fan of any adrenaline-filled activity, such as snow skiing, wakeboarding, hiking, boating, surfing and boogie boarding. Last year, he rescued a girl who was having an epileptic seizure in the ocean.

What he’s up to now: Sean is active in the San Diego youth theater scene. He has been in a dozen productions, but his favorite role so far has been playing Lumière in Beauty and the Beast Jr. His onstage experience has helped build confidence for when he mentors others. Sean is fascinated with the human mind and would like to be a brain surgeon or lawyer.

Dan and Allison Ownby Host couple from Texas

Longtime Scouting supporters Dan and Allison Ownby will join the delegation as the host couple.

About Dan Ownby: Dan, an Eagle Scout, is vice chairman of the World Scout Committee, which oversees more than 50 million Scouts in 165 countries. He was the youngest BSA member ever elected to this world governing body. Dan is chairman of the BSA’s International Committee and will lead the BSA contingent at the 2019 World Scout Jamboree.

Dan is a 2017 recipient of the Silver Buffalo Award, the BSA’s highest honor for adult volunteers.

In his non-Scouting life, Dan is president of West Shore Pipeline and lives with his wife, Allison, in Houston.

About Allison Ownby: Allison is the assistant dean for faculty and educational development at McGovern Medical School, part of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

She provides educational expertise in curriculum design and development, learner assessment, and program evaluation for the medical education programs.

In her free time, Allison enjoys horseback riding, attending theater events in Houston and swimming.

Allison and Dan are proud owners of an Australian Labradoodle named — wait for it — Scout.

Can you get a perfect score in this ‘Jeopardy!’ category about merit badges?

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Among the Boy Scouts of America’s 137 different merit badges, you’ll find some classics like Bugling, First Aid and Forestry.

You’ll also find merit badges like Game Design, Digital Technology and Programming that couldn’t have existed last century.

It’s those badges that caught the eye of the clue writers at Jeopardy!, the iconic game of answers and questions that’s watched by 23 million viewers each week.

On the Feb. 22, 2018, episode, viewers were treated to a category called “21st Century Boy Scout Merit Badges.”

Unfortunately, they ran out of time before all five answers were revealed. But we did see four, and they were excellent.

The contestants got all four right. Can you?

Find the answers below, followed by the correct questions.

Test yourself: 21st Century Boy Scout Merit Badges $400: To receive the badge for this activity, you join two metal plates and inscribe your initials.

$600: The “S-A-R” on the badge created in 2012 stands for this lifesaving process. $800: The Robotics merit badge depicts this planet, but you can earn it on Earth. $1,000: That’s a GPS unit on the badge for this new 10-letter orienteering hobby.

Scroll for the correct questions…

The correct questions

$400: What is Welding?

$600: What is Search and Rescue?

$800: What is Mars?

$1,000: What is Geocaching?

You write the $200 answer.

Since we didn’t get to see the $200 answer, you get to write one!

Challenge each other in the comments with your own merit badge-related answer. See if your fellow commenters can guess the correct question. Go!

Other times the BSA has been featured on Jeopardy!

I know of at least three other times the BSA has been honored with its own Jeopardy! category:

This is how the average age of Eagle Scouts in 2017 compared to previous years

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After five years of steady increases, the average age of Eagle Scouts fell in 2017.

It’s now at 17.21 years — or 17 years, 2 months and 15 days. That’s the lowest mark since at least 2009, the first year for which detailed Eagle Scout statistics were made available to me.

What caused the average to drop by nearly two months? Does this reflect any type of change in your troop? I welcome your comments.

Average age of Eagle Scouts, 2009 to 2017

Year Average Age Year/Month/Day Equivalent 2009 17.32 17 years, 3 months, 27 days 2010 17.24 17 years, 2 months, 28 days 2011 17.32 17 years, 3 months, 26 days 2012 17.23 17 years, 2 months, 23 days 2013 17.24 17 years, 2 months, 26 days 2014 17.31 17 years, 3 months, 22 days 2015 17.34 17 years, 4 months, 2 days 2016 17.35 17 years, 4 months, 6 days 2017 17.21 17 years, 2 months, 15 days

Note: The year/month/day equivalent was calculated using a 365.25-day year. 

Average age by region

Eagle Scouts tend to be slightly younger than average in the Southern and Western Regions. In the Northeast and Central Regions, they’re slightly older than average.

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Western 16.99 17.03 17.06 17.08 17.05 Southern 17.18 17.29 17.34 17.31 16.88 Central 17.28 17.36 17.38 17.45 17.36 Northeast 17.50 17.56 17.57 17.55 17.53 Total 17.24 17.31 17.34 17.35 17.21 For more Eagle Scout Class of 2017 stats, click here.

Hat tip: Thanks to the BSA’s Mike Lo Vecchio for the data.

Eagle Scout Class of 2017, by the numbers

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The world needs more Eagle Scouts, and 2017 delivered in a big way.

Exactly 55,494 young men became Eagle Scouts last year. That’s the most in a single year since 2013, and it’s the fourth-biggest Eagle Scout class in history (trailing 2012, 2010 and 2013).

This is great news for our country and our world. It means the planet has another 55,494 people who are prepared to be outstanding friends and coworkers, leaders and innovators, husbands and fathers.

How large was the Eagle Scout Class of 2017?

There were 55,494 Eagle Scouts in 2017. Are you having trouble wrapping your head around that number? I was, too, so I looked at the seating capacities of Major League Baseball stadiums.

The largest, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, holds 56,000 people. Close enough. Here’s what Dodger Stadium looks like when it’s almost full:

That’s a lot of Eagle Scouts.

A deep dive into the numbers

Let’s look at the numbers behind the numbers:

  • Total number of Eagle Scout service project hours recorded in 2017
  • Region-by-region Eagle numbers
  • Number of Eagle Scouts per year, from 1912 to 2017
  • State-by-state Eagle rankings
  • The average age of 2017’s Eagle Scouts

As always, my thanks to the BSA’s Mike Lo Vecchio, who provides me with these Eagle Scout stats each year.

How many Eagle Scout service project hours were recorded in 2017?

Eagle Scouts and their volunteers completed 8,461,760 hours of service in 2017. That works out to about 152.5 hours per project.

Some might call that amount of service to communities “priceless.” But, in fact, you can put a price on it.

At the current “value of volunteer time” rate of $24.14 per hour, that works out to $204.3 million worth of service to communities.

Year Total Hours Eagle Scouts Hours per Eagle Scout project 2017  8,461,760  55,494 152.5 2016  9,156,368  55,186 165.9 2015  8,503,337  54,366 156.4 2014  8,127,532  51,820 156.8 2013  9,347,047  56,841 164.4

Note: The real number is probably much higher. Many soon-to-be Eagle Scouts miscalculate the number of hours worked, thereby shortchanging themselves. Read this post for details.

What was the region-by-region breakdown? Region 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Western  19,314  16,999  18,317  18,073  18,319 Southern  15,407  13,861  14,484  14,962  14,621 Central  11,450  10,681  10,913  11,017  11,227 Northeast  10,670  10,279  10,652  11,134  11,327 Total  56,841  51,820  54,366  55,186  55,494

Congrats to the Western Region for, once again, having the largest number of Eagle Scouts!

How many young men have been Eagle Scouts in past years?

In all, 2,485,473 young men have become Eagle Scouts from 1912 to 2017. That includes every Eagle Scout since the very first one: Arthur Rose Eldred in 1912.

1912  23 1913  54 1914  165 1915  96 1916  103 1917  219 1918  222 1919  468 1920  629 1921  1,306 1922  2,001 1923  2,196 1924  3,264 1925  3,980 1926  4,516 1927  5,713 1928  6,706 1929  6,676 1930  7,980 1931  8,976 1932  9,225 1933  6,659 1934  7,548 1935  8,814 1936  7,488 1937  7,831 1938  8,784 1939  9,918 1940  10,498 1941  9,527 1942  8,440 1943  9,285 1944  10,387 1945  10,694 1946  10,850 1947  9,733 1948  8,016 1949  9,058 1950  9,813 1951  10,708 1952  15,668 1953  9,993 1954  12,239 1955  14,486 1956  15,484 1957  17,407 1958  17,548 1959  17,360 1960  21,175 1961  24,637 1962  26,181 1963  27,428 1964  29,247 1965  27,851 1966  26,999 1967  30,878 1968  28,311 1969  31,052 1970  29,103 1971  30,972 1972  29,089 1973  46,966 1974  36,739 1975  21,285 1976  27,687 1977  24,879 1978  22,149 1979  22,188 1980  22,543 1981  24,865 1982  25,573 1983  25,263 1984  27,326 1985  27,173 1986  26,846 1987  27,578 1988  27,163 1989  29,187 1990  29,763 1991  32,973 1992  34,063 1993  33,672 1994  37,438 1995  31,209 1996  37,715 1997  40,296 1998  41,167 1999  47,582 2000  40,029 2001  43,665 2002  49,328 2003  49,151 2004  50,377 2005  49,895 2006  51,728 2007  51,742 2008  52,025 2009  53,122 2010  57,147 2011  51,933 2012  58,659 2013  56,841 2014  51,820 2015  54,366 2016  55,186 2017  55,494 Which states had the most Eagle Scouts?

That data gets its own post. I’ll share that soon!

What was the average age of 2017 Eagle Scouts?

I’ll share that breakdown and analysis in the coming days.

Saved by the Boy Scouts: Woman recounts tale of rescue on the mountain

Bryan On Scouting -

Katherine Quinn, her sisters and her dad wanted to climb Guadalupe Peak, the tallest mountain in Texas.

But when Katherine slipped on a loose rock during her descent and fell down hard, she couldn’t move another foot.

That’s when, as if from a movie, the Boy Scouts came along. Scouts and adults from Troop 312 of Royse City, Texas, helped support Katherine’s weight as she gingerly completed the final two miles.

“Upon arriving at the parking lot we asked them if they would get a badge for having helped me,” Katherine said. “They said, ‘Oh, no, this is just standard, expected behavior for a Boy Scout.'”

A perfect day for a hike

The weather conditions were ideal as Katherine and her family began their climb to the “Top of Texas.”

The hike is 8.4 miles round trip with 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Most hikers finish in six to eight hours.

Katherine was in “no particular hurry” as her group began the ascent. Soon they were passed by about 20 Scouts from Troop 312. The Scouts and leaders were friendly as they hiked past, Katherine said.

Katherine remembers doing a double-take at what one of the adult leaders was wearing. It appeared to be a military-style vest with each pocket filled to capacity.

“I thought of all the extra weight he was carrying and how hot he must be,” Katherine said. But she could tell he was “prepared for any unforeseen mishap.”

The view from the top

Katherine arrived at the summit and noticed it was more crowded than she expected.

There were at least 30 people up there, smiling and laughing and taking gulps of water. In one direction, a man proposed to his girlfriend. In another, a group posed for a photo in front of a large Texas flag.

Katherine and her group had a quick snack and began the 4.2-mile hike down.

It’s worth noting here that Katherine is no novice hiker. She regularly hikes 10 to 20 miles a week.

So you can imagine Katherine’s shock when, about 2 miles into the descent, she stepped on a loose rock and crashed to the ground.

Needing a hero

“I was in considerable pain and told my sisters to give me a minute to compose myself,” Katherine said. “The very next person around the corner was the Boy Scout leader with the generously packed vest.”

It turns out this leader is named Michael, and he had been an infantry soldier with medical training in the U.S. Army. Michael was with three other members of Troop 312 — two Scouts and another adult.

Michael assessed the situation and taped Katherine’s ankle. The guys from Troop 312 insisted on waiting while Katherine attempted to get up and walk.

“I realized I would not be able to make the remaining 2 miles down the mountain on my own,” she said. “Each step sent pain through the bottom of my foot up to my knee.”

The Scouts step in

“Lord, could you just give me strength enough to make it down?” Katherine whispered. “My prayer was answered.”

The Scouts — Noah and Mitchell — offered to help Katherine. She put her arm around one Scout’s shoulder to take some of the weight off her injured ankle.

Noah and Mitchell took turns traversing the rocky trail. One would walk with Katherine for about 10 minutes, and then the other would take over.

“They were always checking on me and each other so that no one was taxed too much,” she said. “Their sacrifice was significant. Noah had a sunburned shoulder, and Mitchell had a hurt back.”

A trip that should’ve taken 30 minutes took three hours, but Noah and Mitchell never complained. They never gave up.

Once Katherine and the group of four from Troop 312 got to the parking lot, she thanked them one final time. The guys said this is “standard, expected behavior for a Boy Scout” and rejoined the rest of their troop.

How we learned about this story

Troop 312 didn’t contact Scouting magazine to brag about their great Good Turn.

Katherine reached out, wanting to publicly thank the Scouts and leaders who saw their actions as part of being a Scout.

“This event gave me a new appreciation for the Boy Scouts and their leaders who truly desire to serve others selflessly,” Katherine said. “I’m ever so grateful for the assistance in my time of need.”

How to check if your Boy Scout troop or Cub Scout pack has unclaimed money

Bryan On Scouting -

A Boy Scout troop in Longview, Texas, has more than $2,100 in unclaimed funds in its name.

In Riverside, Calif., there’s a Cub Scout pack that’s owed more than $700.

Packs and troops in Punxsutawney, Pa.; Corvallis, Ore.; and Brownsburg, Ind. can collect more than $100 each.

From sea to shining sea, Scout units are owed money from the government, banks, credit unions or other sources. In some cases, the amount is $10 or less. But in a few instances, there are hundreds or even thousands of dollars awaiting Scout units.

You just have to know where to look.

I searched through state-level unclaimed property websites using phrases like “Cub Scout pack” and “Boy Scout troop.” In each state I checked, there were several successful hits.

Could your Cub Scout pack or Boy Scout troop be owed money? There’s an easy way to find out.

Instead of letting that cash sit there, claim it and put it to work to benefit your Scouts.

How to see if your pack or troop is owed money
  1. Start by going to your state’s unclaimed property site. Find a state-by-state directory here.
  2. Put your unit number in the search field under “business.”
  3. If you get a match, download the claim form and have your unit’s treasurer send it in. Check with your chartered organization representative as well. The state will want proof that you’re eligible to claim the cash.
  4. Wait for your check, and deposit the money into your unit’s bank account.

Note: Individuals can have unclaimed money, too. After you check for your Scout unit’s unclaimed property, check your own name, too.

Important: Consult your chartered organization

It’s possible this unclaimed money actually belongs to your chartered organization, whether that’s a religious institution or a community group. Always check with your chartered organization representative in matters of money.

Important: Tax implications

For info on how this windfall of cash might impact your taxes, consult a financial advisor.

Thanks to John Stewart and Tim Bouchard for the blog post tip!

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