RTN-delegates2011

In Washington, Report to the Nation delegates hit the ground running

How are the 2011 Report to the Nation delegates adjusting to the fast-paced environment of Washington, D.C.?

Just fine. But what would you expect with a group of Scouts?

The group’s whirlwind visit to our nation’s capital started Saturday with an exclusive tour of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.  John Rehm, the Order of the Arrow national chief, says he was “amazed at this opportunity.”

“We had a chance to learn about how space shuttles are made and the dedication that goes into making them,” he said in an e-mail to me. “I feel so honored to be with the best of the best that Scouting has to offer.”

After the tour, the delegates, all strangers when the day began, enjoyed some team-building games where “things clicked seamlessly,” Rehm says.

Scouts John and Eric during a service project benefiting the Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place

Good thing, because Sunday put that teamwork to the test. After attending church at the Washington National Cathedral, the group completed a service project at the Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place, an organization that helps homeless men and women rebuild their lives.

Great job, y’all. This was the first time that Report to the Nation delegates completed a service project, and I’m betting we’ll see this happen every year from now on.

After that, the Scouts got an exclusive tour of the National Spy Museum from the museum’s founding executive director, Peter Earnest, a 35-year veteran of the CIA.

Today, the hectic pace continued as the group’s plans included sharing the Report to the Nation with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno; and Navy Vice Admiral William E. Gortney, director of the Joint Staff.

What a great opportunity for these Scouts who are doing a great job representing all of us in Scouting.

Stay tuned for more dispatches from Washington.

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