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Photos: Scouts meet President Obama

That moment when President Obama opened the door to the Oval Office is one Edward Abraham — and the nine other youth members of the Report to the Nation delegation — will never forget.

“There he was. Standing there, shaking our hands,” said Edward, the National Venturing President and member of the San Francisco Bay Area Council. “He’s a very personable person.”

The delegates, including one Cub Scout, six Boy Scouts, one Sea Scout, one Venturer and one Explorer, met Obama on Tuesday at the White House. They presented the Report to the Nation to Obama, who as U.S. president also serves as the BSA’s honorary president. The report recaps 2015, which was another great year in Scouting: 2.3 million youth participants served, 15.3 million hours of service logged, 54,366 new Eagle Scouts.

Neel Dhanaraj, an Eagle Scout from the Daniel Webster Council, was behind Edward in the line.

“It was so surreal,” Neel said. “I’m just, like, walking up in the line … and it’s like, oh, he’s right there.”

When Obama learned that Explorer Cynthia Garcia is from Chicago, he gave her a fist bump.

“It was amazing,” she said. “I never thought in my life that I would get such opportunities as I have in Exploring.”

Dan Ta, an Eagle Scout from the Orange County Council, said the Oval Office felt like a living room. Like he was at home.

As for the president, “he seemed like a ‘chill’ guy. Very personal,” Dan said.

In Obama’s eight years in office, Tuesday marked the seventh time Scouts have met with him to present the Report to the Nation. The Oval Office presentation has been a tradition for a long time.

Video and another photo

See a second photo of the Scouts with Obama below. At the end of the post, I’ve included a video I made of Scouts’ reactions minutes after leaving the Oval Office.

President Obama meets Scouts

 

2015 Report to the Nation

Read more coverage from the 2015 Report to the Nation, happening Feb. 27 to March 3, 2016, right here. And see more photos here.


Photo credit: Official White House Photos by Pete Souza

11 Comments on Photos: Scouts meet President Obama

  1. Jillian Infusino // March 3, 2016 at 3:29 pm // Reply

    Bryan, thanks for sharing these great stories this week! You all seem to have had an awesome week! I have truly enjoyed the behind the scenes look & it brings back great memories of the RTTN trip that I had the pleasure of being on last year.

    • Bryan Wendell // March 3, 2016 at 3:46 pm // Reply

      Thanks, Jillian!

    • Thank you to all of the Scouts for representing us. You are brave to meet with all of these top politicians. What an honor. The leaders of our country still understand the importance of the scouting movement.

  2. Jeff Abernathy // March 3, 2016 at 4:19 pm // Reply

    Bryan, Thanks for all the stories. This a a very special event annually.

    My comment though is around the broad use of the term Scout. While it has recently been applied to Venturers, we need to be careful (I think) to not apply it to Exploring, because of their legal separation within/without the BSA. Just a nit pick on a great program for the BSA and LFL.

    • Bryan Wendell // March 3, 2016 at 6:33 pm // Reply

      Thanks, Jeff. And yes, I agree. I’ve tried to avoid it but have used Scouts as an easier way to refer to the group, even if that term excludes one member.

      • Jeff Abernathy // March 4, 2016 at 5:22 pm // Reply

        I am aware that the perception of me saying ‘Explorers aren’t Scouts’ is generally negative to the general readership on here. I get it as a former Explorer myself, and one who really misses Exploring as part of the Exploring program. My statement is only that in order to protect us legally to draw the line that allows Duty to God in BSA but not in LFL, they must not be confused, else the lawyers come after us.

    • I have no problem with a leading LFL youth being referred to as “scouts” for the sake of brevity. Although, I certainly hope one our more of the boys invited her to drop by their troop, ship, lodge, or pack to talk about life in a post!

  3. Wonderful piece! However it would have been great to see a female venturer or sea scout in the the group besides the one lone female explorer. Not complaining, just saying😀

  4. Jon Tapply // March 11, 2016 at 7:38 am // Reply

    A terrific story and what a great opportunity for these young men and women to meet and speak with our President. Another great opportunity provide by the scouting program.

  5. Bryan, I am quite glad President Obama has personally met with the Scout delegation 7 of 8 times to receive the BSA’s Report to the Nation. Perhaps you can shed some light on why the current POTUS is zero for two on attending the National Scout Jamboree? He was invited as keynote speaker for the initial Stadium Show, both times.

    You were on site at Ft. AP Hill back in 2010 when the patch-of-the-day commemorated a non-occurring Presidential visit, were you not? I recall then Secretary of Defense Gates (current BSA President) delivered a powerful speech to the crowd.

    Being on staff for the 2013 Jamboree, I was unable to see the show, so cannot comment on the stand-in for POTUS that day.

    This is not a political commentary, rather an inquiry into why the man (the honorary President of the BSA), highlighted so nicely in this article, hasn’t been willing to clear his calendar for 3 hours. When held at Ft. AP Hill, it would have been a 12 minute flight on Marine One. Plus, an active US military base should have been easily securable for the secret service.

    YiS,
    Darrin

    • To answer that question in a balanced way, you need to ask it of all of the several other POTUS who did not make a visit to a Jamboree during their tenure in office.

      One of the things we teach our boys — especially Jambo attendees: do not confound the benefits of privilege with the entitlements of rights.

      Speaking of which, Id’s, posted publicly, may infringe on one’s future expectation of privacy. Not sure if the moderator can, but he/she would do well to delete that last line.

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