An 8-year-old Cub Scout with “a heart of gold,” a 12-year-old Star Scout who saved his cousin’s life and the 16-year-old inventor of a revolutionary device for Alzheimer’s patients are among the 10 young people representing the Boy Scouts of America this week in Washington, D.C.
Their mission: Hand-deliver the 2014 Report to the Nation to top government officials.
The 2014 Report to the Nation, which you can read over at the Scouting Newsroom, offers a snapshot of all of the impressive feats accomplished by Scouts in 2014. It includes facts about how Scouting made a difference last year in countless communities across America.
Government officials get pulled in a million directions, so I’m always pleased when they take time out of their busy schedules to meet with Scouts and Venturers. It’s important to give them this annual reminder of Scouting’s nationwide impact — a movement that is 3.5 million youth and volunteers strong.
And I’m sure they prefer meeting with a bunch of incredible young people over meeting with lobbyists or members of the opposite political party!
You’ll meet those 10 young people in a second, but first, you might be wondering how the 2014 Report to the Nation delegates were selected and what they’ll do while in D.C.
How are the delegates chosen?
Each fall, local councils are asked to nominate a Scout or Venturer 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 (or, as is the case this year, the vice president if the president cannot attend). Serving as a member of the Report to the Nation delegation is one perk of office. They’ve earned it.
Where are the delegates going?
For security reasons, the delegates’ exact schedule is confidential. But I can tell you about some highlights. 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.
- Goddard Space Flight Center
- United States Naval Academy in Annapolis for church services and a tour of the campus
- National monuments
- U. S. Capitol for breakfast, a tour, and visits with congressional and cabinet leadership
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery
- A tour and visits with key leadership at the Pentagon
- White House
Who are the delegates?
Stephen Buttolph – Eagle Scout
Stephen is a 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Rumney, N.H.,with Troop 56 in the Daniel Webster Council, headquartered in Plymouth, N.H.
He joined Scouting when he was 11. During his Scouting experiences, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and became a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow. During his tenure, he has served in many leadership positions, including senior patrol leader. Currently he’s a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. He participated in several national leadership courses, including National Youth Leadership Training and National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience.
He has distinguished himself in academics, as an athlete, as a musician, in his church, as a community volunteer and in Scouting. Stephen ranks first in his class in high school. He also has received the National Presidential Volunteer Service Award–Gold level for more than 800 hours of community service.
He plans to pursue a career in computer science when he graduates. His extracurricular activities include: varsity math team, alpine ski team, Lakes Region Music Festival, student senate, YMCA youth and government, acolyte, and Episcopal Diocesan youth delegate for the State of New Hampshire.
Alex Call – Eagle Scout and National Order of the Arrow Chief
Alex is a 19-year-old Eagle Scout from Corpus Christi, Texas, with Troop 255 in the South Texas Council, headquartered in Corpus Christi.
He joined when he was 6 and has participated in Cub Scouts, earning his Arrow of Light award. He was recently elected as National Order of the Arrow Chief. He is a Vigil honor member of the Order of the Arrow, received his Episcopal youth religious award and has been honored with the National Youth Leadership Society recognition.
He plans on pursuing a career as a brand strategy consultant, something he received experience in while serving as the youth representative on his council’s marketing committee. Alex currently attends college at the University of Texas at Austin with plans to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, followed by a degree in law with studies in regulations and policy related to intellectual property and copyrights.
Mason Hakes – Cub Scout
Mason is an 8-year-old Bear Cub Scout from Corning, N.Y., with Pack 63 in the Five Rivers Council, headquartered in Horseheads, N.Y.
He enjoys the outdoors, playing with his friends, Scouting and singing. When he was 2, he learned new songs and performed them before crowds at school, the church and the community. He is described by his mother as ‘having a heart of gold.’ Mason gives 100 percent to everything he does.
In Scouting, he has participated in everything he can. He has earned his God and Me award, along with his Leave No Trace patch. He lives by the Cub Scout motto of “Do Your Best.” Because of his love of music, he wants to be a singer and a musician when he gets out of school. His favorite subject in school is science. To share his enthusiasm, he serves on the student council. He has received numerous “Gregg Gator” awards at school for being helpful, respectful, and responsible toward students and staff.
Lucas Hines – Star Scout
Lucas is a 12-year-old Star Scout from Columbia, Md., with Troop 361 in the Baltimore Area Council.
He has been an active den chief, chaplain’s aide and scribe for his troop. He also promotes religious emblems for the Scout community. Lucas is a seventh-grader at Lake Elkhorn Middle School and has received the Principal’s Honor Award for Outstanding Achievement, Exemplary Attendance awards, and the MSA Certificate of Achievement for the past three years.
His favorite subjects in school include math, science and technology. He loves to invent and build new things. When he gets out of school, he plans to be an aerospace engineer or a physicist.
He was awarded the Honor Medal for his brave efforts to save the life of his cousin during a family trip to Portugal. He was able to keep a large wooden pillar from falling on her head. He was injured but saved his cousin’s life.
Jillian Infusino – Venturer and National Venturing Vice President
Jillian is a 20-year-old Venturer from Whittier, Calif., with Crew 476 in the Los Angeles Area Council.
She began her Scouting at age 14 as a Venturer. Her honors include the Venturing Bronze, Gold and Silver Awards, as well as the council, area, regional and national Venturing leadership awards. Her Scouting participation includes attending the 2011 World Jamboree and the 2013 National Jamboree. She has attended the National Youth Leadership Training, Powderhorn and Wood Badge.
She is majoring in psychology and kinesiology and aspires to be an occupational therapist when she graduates, after she receives her master’s degree and doctorate in Occupational Therapy. She is on the dean’s list and a member of the Student Alumni Board.
Jonathan Johnson – Life Scout
Jonathan is a 16-year-old Life Scout from Atlanta with Troop 2020 in the Atlanta Area Council.
He joined Scouting at the age of 6. He is a scholar, student-athlete and a Scout. Jonathan is a member of the Chick-fil-A Youth Leadership Academy, Student Government Association at his school, a member of his golf team and a founding member of the W. E. Dubois Intellectual Society. He belongs to the National Honor Society and the Beta Club. He is an entrepreneur and owns a tutoring business called “F’s to A’s Tutoring Program.”
His top recognitions include being a Governor’s Honors Communicative Arts nominee, top biology student for academic achievement and member of the Magnet Leadership Council. His future aspirations include becoming an attorney and studying law and government.
Peter Schmidt – Eagle Scout and National Sea Scout Boatswain
Peter is a 19-year-old Sea Scout, Quartermaster Award recipient and Eagle Scout from Springfield, Ill., with Ship 123 in the Abraham Lincoln Council, headquartered in Springfield.
He began his Scouting participation at age 6 as a Cub Scout. He currently attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, taking his core classes leading toward a major in Civil and Environmental Engineering, with minor in Leadership Studies. He currently serves as the top youth leader for the Sea Scout Program: National Sea Scout Boatswain.
He has earned the top three awards in Sea Scouting, Venturing and Boy Scouting: the Quartermaster Award, Venturing Silver Award and Eagle Scout Award. In addition, he has earned the Long Cruise Award, Qualified Seaman Award and the Venturing Leadership Award.
Kenneth Shinozuka – Eagle Scout
Kenneth is a 16-year-old Eagle Scout from New York with Troop 729 in the Greater New York Council, headquartered in New York City.
He joined the Scouting program at age 11. He is chapter chief of the Man-a-Hattin Chapter of the Order of the Arrow and is a Brotherhood member. After he finishes high school, he wants to transfer his passion for scientific research and tread the borders between neuroscience, engineering and computer science to investigate the mysteries of the brain and possibly find a cure to Alzheimer’s.
He loves exploring the field of technology. As a part of his explorations and the need to help his grandfather who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, he developed a wearable sensor device to monitor his grandfather getting out of bed in the night. He founded SensaRX, LLC, to focus on sensor technology for healthcare. In school, his interests lie in the areas of literature, film and physics. In his spare time, he manages his school’s varsity ultimate Frisbee team.
Dallin Stevens – Eagle Scout
Dallin is a 14-year-old Eagle Scout with Team 888, sponsored by Northridge LDS 14th Ward of the Utah National Parks Council.
He joined Scouting at age 8 and has been involved for the past six years. His accomplishments include: Eagle Scout Award, Supernova Bronze award, Hornaday Badge, Arrow of Light, Varsity Letter, World Conservation Award, Camping and Riding National Outdoor Award, 46 merit badges, religious emblem, and one Eagle palm.
His nickname is ‘The Energizer Scout,’ and his activities show his enthusiasm to learn all he can about programs he has an interest in. He stays very busy by singing in the choir, participating in weeklong robotics competitions and working on his scouting projects. His plans after high school include applying to Brigham Young University for a degree in engineering. He lives the Scout Law on a daily basis.
Sebastian Zuleta – Eagle Scout
Sebastian is a 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Central Falls, R.I., with Troop 3 of the Narragansett Council, headquartered in East Providence, R.I.
He joined Scouting at age 7 and has been involved for the past 10 years. His accomplishments include becoming an Eagle Scout, becoming a member of the Order of the Arrow and attending National Youth Leadership Training. A highlight of his Scouting years is participation in the 2013 National Jamboree.
After high school, he is looking forward to joining the military and wants to become a Navy SEAL. Outside of Scouting, his extracurricular activities include participation in Special Olympics, CrossFit, the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, S.M.I.L.E (Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences), College Crusaders of Rhode Island and the state’s first school Emergency Response Team.
Others consider Sebastian someone who is reliable and influences others in a positive way. They say he has great integrity, citizenship and pumps energy into everything he does. He is always striving for the next challenge.
Who else is joining the Scouts?
Don’t worry. The Scouts and Venturer won’t be touring Washington, D.C., alone!
Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock, Report to the Nation Delegation Director Keith Christopher, Government and Community Relations Director Willie Iles and Director of the Office of the Chief Scout Executive Bob Mersereau are among the adult members of the delegation.
They’ll be joined by longtime Scouting volunteer and Silver Buffalo recipient Russell Smart and his wife, Helen. The two are serving as this year’s host couple.
Russell and Helen Smart – Host couple
Russell Hoke Smart is a lifelong resident of Greenville, S.C. He began a professional career in engineering, earning a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.B.A. degree. In 1983, Russell left his engineering career to be the project manager for the development of Rolling Green Village Retirement Community, sponsored by the Greenville Baptist Association. Russell was one of the founding partners of Windsor/Aughtry Company, a Greenville-based real estate development firm and serves as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Russell has been a Scouting volunteer since 1988. He served as Scoutmaster for more than 11 years, as well as co-advisor of Venturing Crew 99 for five years. He is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow. Russell served as a Scoutmaster for numerous national and world jamborees and also served as Southern Region Chairman for the 2007 Centennial World Jamboree and the 2010 BSA Centennial National Jamboree. He served as National Program Chairman for the 2013 and the 2017 National Jamboree.
He is a member of the Southern Region Executive Board and was the first chairman for the BSA National STEM Committee (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Among his Scouting awards are the District Award of Merit, Silver Beaver, Venturing Leadership Award, Baptist Good Shepherd Award, Silver Antelope Award, Baden-Powell World Fellowship, Scoutmaster Award of Merit, International Scouting Award and the Silver Buffalo Award.
He also enjoys playing golf, studying history and especially collecting and displaying artifacts and memorabilia associated with the history of Scouting. Outside of Scouting, Russell is a Deacon, Sunday School Teacher, and Treasurer. Most importantly, he has been married since 1975 to Helen. They have one “genetic” son, Hoke (Eagle Scout 1992), plus hundreds of adopted sons (and daughters).
Helen Smart was born and raised in Tennessee in the small town of Charleston. After high school, she attended East Tennessee State University, receiving two degrees: B.S. degree in English and M.A. degree in English. Immediately after finishing graduate school, she moved to Greenville, S.C., to teach high school English as well as composition and speech courses at Greenville Technical College. Helen left teaching for a few years to start a family but returned to teach for many years in the college-transfer division at Greenville Technical College, teaching composition, literature, and speech. She concluded her teaching career with what she calls her “dream” job: being a part-time English Professor at Furman University.
In addition to education, Helen has worked for other nonprofit organizations. She, along with her husband, Russell, was involved in the development of Rolling Green Village Retirement Community. Helen likes to read, travel, and entertain. She has taught adult Sunday School classes and has served as church musician for Roper Mountain Baptist Church for over 36 years. She spends much of her time now as a community volunteer, focusing much of her energy with a women’s collective-giving, philanthropic organization known as Greenville Women Giving.
How can I see photos of their adventures?
By visiting the official BSA Flickr page.