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Report to the Nation 2016: A preview of the BSA’s week in Washington

Informing key leaders in our nation’s capital about all the good things Scouts did last year isn’t just a smart idea. It’s congressionally mandated.

When Woodrow Wilson signed the Boy Scouts of America’s charter on June 15, 1916, he made it official that “on or before the first day of April of each year the said Boy Scouts of America shall make and transmit to Congress a report of its proceedings for the year ending December thirty-first preceding.”

And so the BSA’s annual Report to the Nation was born.

This year, five Boy Scouts, one Webelos Scout, two Venturers, one Sea Scout and one Explorer will represent the BSA’s 2.3 million youth members to present the 2016 Report to the Nation.

The report summarizes the accomplishments made last year by young people throughout this great program.

Rather than having grown-ups in suits hand-deliver over the report, the BSA hand-picks youth delegates for the noble task. Looking sharp in their complete Scout uniforms, these 10 delegates will remind leaders in Washington that Scouting isn’t just still around. It’s thriving.

Once again I have been invited to join these young people in Washington to report on the journey. I’ll share my plan for covering this trip later in the post. First, I’ll answer some questions you might have about Report to the Nation — including why we call this the 2016 report even though it’s 2017.

What is the Report to the Nation?

It’s a two-page document outlining the BSA’s accomplishments from the previous year. Though the trip to Washington takes place in 2017, we refer to this as the 2016 Report to the Nation because it covers the year 2016 in Scouting.

The official report, which will be posted at Scouting Newsroom, tells of 2.3 million youth participants and nearly 1 million adult volunteers who took part in this “ongoing adventure that teaches a powerful set of real-life skills and fundamental qualities that help young people become ‘Prepared. For Life.'”

It celebrates these 2016 accomplishments, among others:

  • 55,186 new Eagle Scouts
  • 15.4 million hours of service performed by Scouts
  • 2.4 million merit badges earned
  • 6.5 million nights of camping
  • A growth in the Exploring program of 7 percent

How are the delegates chosen?

Each fall, local councils are asked to nominate a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Venturer or Explorer to be considered. The National Council then sends these names to a committee that reviews all nominations. Five to seven young people are hand-picked to be a representative group of all programs from all four regions of the country. Care is taken to ensure the ethnic diversity of Scouting is showcased.

Three more delegates get automatic selections: the National Sea Scout Boatswain, the National Order of the Arrow Chief and the National Venturing President. Serving as a member of the Report to the Nation delegation is one perk of office. These national leaders have a tough job, so they’ve earned it.

Where are the delegates going?

For security reasons, the delegates’ exact schedule is confidential. But at each stop, where appropriate, the delegates will hand-deliver the Report to the Nation to key members of our nation’s legislative, executive and judicial branches.

What were the highlights from the 2016 trip?

Because of the busy, always-shifting schedules in Washington, each year’s trip is different from the one before it. But for a potential preview of 2017’s highlights, let’s look at last year’s trip.

In 2016, I watched the delegates present the 2015 Report to the Nation to several high-ranking officials. The young people were mature, asked great questions and represented us well.

Some highlights, with links to articles about each:

What are the plans to cover the 2017 trip?

The 2016 Report to the Nation trip — March 4 to 9, 2017 — will surely produce a new set of fascinating stories. I’ll be there every step of the way.

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

When the schedule permits, I also plan to 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 settings are such that you’re notified when we go live.

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 and why are they awesome?

Forrest Gertin
Eagle Scout
National Chief, Order of the Arrow

From: Troop 750 of Rochester, N.Y., part of the Seneca Waterways Council

Noteworthy: Forrest was elected by his peers to serve as National Chief of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s honor society. A Scout since age 6, he has earned the Arrow of Light award, Eagle Scout award, Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor and the Order of the Arrow Founder’s Award.

What he’s up to now: Forrest attends Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he’s studying international political economics. He’s involved in theater, serves as a freshman representative on the School of Foreign Service Academic Council and earned a spot on the Dean’s List his first semester.

Gilberto G.
Life Scout

From: Troop 239 in Providence, R.I., part of the Narragansett Council

Noteworthy: Joined Scouting at age 11 and has earned the 50-Miler Award, World Conservation Award and 26 merit badges. Gilberto says his favorite Scouting highlight so far was hiking Philmont’s Tooth of Time.

What he’s up to now: A sophomore in high school, Gilberto wants to pursue college but has not yet narrowed down a field of study.

Francesco G. 
Webelos Scout

From: Pack 126 in Wilmington, Mass., part of the Spirit of Adventure Council

Noteworthy: A Cub Scout since the second grade, Frankie has experienced almost everything a young boy can through the Cub Scouting program. Born without a right hand, Frankie has participated in a special project through a global volunteer organization called e-Nable. This group made him a 3-D printed elbow-actuated prosthetic arm. Frankie paid it forward, having his Bear Cub Scout den make four 3-D printed hands for kids in Haiti.

What he’s up to now: He’s living life to the fullest with this personal motto: embrace yourself, embrace others and embrace difference in all its glory. One of his favorite activities is fishing, and he also plays soccer, basketball and tennis.

Ronald K.
Eagle Scout

From: Troop 301 in Lumberton, N.C., part of the Cape Fear Council

Noteworthy: Ron joined the Cub Scouts when he was 6 and has remained active during those eight years. Among Ron’s many awards: World Conservation Award, God and Me, Arrow of Light, God and Church, Messenger of Peace, as well as 42 merit badges. After Hurricane Matthew, Ron rallied fellow Scouts and they helped staff a shelter with more than 2,000 meals served daily. They cleaned streets in the neighborhood, put together cots and did anything possible to help others.

What he’s up to now: In addition to Scouting, Ron is involved with his church youth group, baseball, Beta Club, teen court, the yearbook staff and the wrestling team.

Tyler Schutt
National Youth Representative for Law Enforcement Exploring

From: Explorer Post 2950 in Lansing, Ill., part of the Pathway to Adventure Council

Noteworthy: Tyler was selected from all Explorers to be the 2016-2018 National Youth Representative for Law Enforcement Exploring. He joined the program in 2012 where he currently serves his post as a lieutenant. He plans to go into law enforcement as a police officer or a special agent to help keep our streets safe.

What he’s up to now: Tyler attends Trinity Christian College and is majoring in criminal justice and communications. He’s also on the JV and varsity soccer teams. As Law Enforcement Exploring’s National Youth Representative, he wants to: establish a social media site for Explorers, provide training guides to support preparations for national competitions, re-establish the regional representatives program and help plan the 2018 National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference.

Bryce T.
Eagle Scout

From: Troop 248 in Tucson, Ariz., part of the Catalina Council

Noteworthy: Bryce joined Cub Scouts at age 6 and has been involved for the past 11 years. He earned his Arrow of Light award as a Cub Scout and is a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow. Bryce is a cancer survivor. While in remission, he was helping others and counseling other young people through their cancer. Because of his dedication to finding a cure and helping others through their treatments, he was named a 2016 Light the Night Honored Hero by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

What he’s up to now: A senior in high school, Bryce loves math and participates in cross country and swimming.

Pratik Vaidya
Eagle Scout
Venturing Silver Award recipient
National Venturing President

From: Crew 570 in Seattle, part of the Chief Seattle Council

Noteworthy: Pratik serves as the National Venturing President. A Scout since first grade, Pratik has earned the Venturing Leadership Award at the council, region and national levels. For the past two years he staffed the Inter-American Leadership Training in Guatemala.

What he’s up to now: He studies biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan, where he conducts research through the department of radiology. Outside of Scouting, he’s an EMT and frequently volunteers with the American Red Cross in various capacities. When he isn’t hard at work indoors, you can probably find him exploring the outdoors with hiking boots and a camera.

Adam V.
Eagle Scout

From: Troop 100 in St. Paul, Minn., part of the Northern Star Council

Noteworthy: Adam joined Scouting at age 11 and belongs to a troop in the Hmong community, now serving its second generation of Scouts. He loves camp and has served as a camp counselor.

What he’s up to now: He’s in 10th grade and loves math. He’ll join the tennis team in the spring. After graduation, he wants to explore the field of computer science.

Rachel West
Quartermaster Sea Scout
Venturing Silver Award recipient

National Sea Scout Boatswain

From: Ship 911 in Austin, Texas, part of the Capitol Area Council

Noteworthy: Rachel joined the Sea Scouts at age 14. She earned a number of awards and served as a delegate for the Capitol Area Council’s Report to the State. In high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society, student council and orchestra. She has taken and served on staff for NYLT, Trainers’ EDGE, and NAYLE (the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience).

What she’s up to now: Rachel attends the University of Texas at Austin and is studying biology and business. She plans on continuing her education by attending medical school to become a doctor. As the National Sea Scout Boatswain, she will represent all youth in the program from across the country. She wants to be the voice of change to help youth see what they can do through the program.

Hannah Wheaton
Venturing Silver Award recipient

From: Crew 824 in Chesapeake, Va., part of the Tidewater Council

Noteworthy: Hannah joined Venturing at age 14 and has served in local and region positions of leadership during her tenure. She organized Appalachian Trail hikes, caving and canoeing trips, and a service project for the Chesapeake Bay. She interned at the World Affairs Council, during which time she went to Canada, China, Russia, Estonia and Finland.

What she’s up to now: Hannah attends Washington University in St. Louis, where she is a John B. Ervin Scholar. She plans to study American culture studies and political science, continue through law school, and become an attorney. She’s an active member of the school’s club field hockey team and various other clubs.

Bill and Linda Rosner
Host couple

From: They divide their time between Orlando, Fla., and Pittsburgh.

Noteworthy: Bill and his wife, Linda, have been married for 37 years and have three adult children. Both boys are Eagle Scouts. Linda worked as a leasing agent, developing shopping centers prior to her marriage and relocation to Pittsburgh. Then she devoted her career to raising three children. Bill retired as Chief Human Resources Officer for the PNC Financial Services Group. Bill grew up in the Chicago area, where he was active in Boy Scouts. He served as the senior patrol leader for his troop. He began his adult Scouting experience while living in London from 1989 to 1993, where he and his wife Linda were both involved with the Cub Scout program with their boys. Linda served as a den leader. Bill has received the Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope awards, among many other honors. Linda and Bill each are members of the President’s Leadership Council.

What they’re up to now: The Rosners continue to serve Scouting in big ways. As Northeast Region Area 4 President, Bill is responsible for supporting 10 Scout Councils in western and central Pennsylvania as well as parts of New York, Maryland and West Virginia. He’s also a member of the BSA’s National Advisory Council and chairman of the Program Development Committee.

9 Comments on Report to the Nation 2016: A preview of the BSA’s week in Washington

  1. John F. Pyfer, Jr. // March 4, 2017 at 11:50 am // Reply

    My wife and I were pleased to be chosen as the host couple in 2004 and thoughly enjoyed our “mountain top” experience.

    • Bryan Wendell // March 4, 2017 at 12:48 pm // Reply

      Terrific! As you know, the host couple plays an critical role in making this event a success.

  2. Charles Binder // March 4, 2017 at 4:12 pm // Reply

    Congratulations to the scouts chosen for this honor. I hope they enjoy visiting D.C. and are treated well by our nations leaders. Upon reading the list of accomplishments I noticed that 3 million plus members camped 6.5 million nights. Is this number a typo? That means every member averages just 2 plus nights per year. Many units that I know here in NJ camp almost every month and bring the Cubs along every now and then. This lack of participating in the outdoor program needs to be addressed. Good luck in DC guys.

    • Bryan Wendell // March 4, 2017 at 4:25 pm // Reply

      I don’t think you can do the math like that. That membership number includes programs like Exploring, where camping isn’t the focus.

    • Agree. Charles, your denominator is overestimated. In all likelihood about a million members have monthly camping as central to the program, but even an active unit has a number of boys on the roster who don’t take advantage of the program.

      However, you can take heart, not all scout camping nights get reported, even in the most meticulous reporting units. Furthermore, once trained, older scouts may hike and camp independently with their mates. It’s the equivalent of traditional patrol overnights … but no longer under the auspices of the BSA. So I bet the numerator is a gross underestimate of total camping nights resulting from Boy
      Scouting..

  3. Cassandra Johnson // March 6, 2017 at 10:27 am // Reply

    Will they really be visiting with Obama?

    • The referencence to meeting President Obama was listed in the “highlights from mast year”. The article explains that this year’s itinerary was not listed as a security precaution.

  4. Nicole Kuzmin-Nichols // March 6, 2017 at 12:31 pm // Reply

    Sean and I are wishing all the Scouts a wonderful trip and an adventure of a lifetime. I know we had an amazing time last year.

  5. Excellent selection!
    Dr.. Daniel Cross, Thd., Lt.Col(Ret), USA, Eagle Class of 69′.

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