On June 15, 1916 — 100 years ago — President Woodrow Wilson signed a charter incorporating the Boy Scouts of America.
The charter says the BSA will promote “the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods which are now in common use by Boy Scouts.”
Funny how some things never change.
But there’s more to the congressional charter. Section 8 mandates that “on or before the first day of April of each year” the BSA present a report to Congress outlining its accomplishments from the preceding year. That’s how Report to the Nation — an annual trip to Washington, D.C., for a group of hand-selected Scouts — was born.
This year, a group of 10 extraordinary young people representing every Scouting program is heading to our nation’s capital to present the 2015 Report to the Nation.
The report recaps another great year of Scouting: 2.3 million youth participants served, 15.3 million hours of service logged, 54,366 new Eagle Scouts.
On the Report to the Nation trip, the youth representatives will get behind-the-scenes tours, present the report to powerful people in Washington and spread the good name of Scouting in the place where key decisions are made.
I’m excited to announce that, for the first time, I’ve been invited to join these extraordinary young people in Washington. I’ll document the trip through the eyes of the Scouts and Venturers in attendance. You can keep up with the adventure through my daily updates on this blog and by following me on Twitter.
The 2015 Report to the Nation report
Wondering what the actual Report to the Nation looks like? Scouting Newsroom will have all the details next week.
How are the delegates chosen?
Each fall, local councils are asked to nominate a 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 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, Md.
- National Museum of Natural History
- National monuments
- U. S. Capitol for visits with congressional and cabinet leadership
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Arlington National Cemetery for wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- The Pentagon
- The White House
Who are the 2015 delegates?
Venturer, Eagle Scout, Venturing Silver Award recipient, National Venturing President
Edward is a 20-year-old Venturer from Fremont, Calif., with Crew 176, in the San Francisco Bay Area Council, headquartered in San Leandro, Calif. He joined Scouting when he was 8 years old as a Cub Scout while living in Hong Kong. During his Scouting experiences, he earned his Arrow of Light award as a Cub Scout, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout as a Boy Scout, and earned the Venturing Silver award and the Area, Region and National Venturing Leadership awards.
During his tenure, he has served in many leadership positions, including Senior Patrol Leader, Instructor and Quartermaster in his Troop; Crew President, Western Region Area 3 President, and the Western Region President in Venturing. He is now serving as the National Venturing President.
Edward currently attends San Jose State University and is working on a Business management degree, followed by his desire to earn an MBA. He plans on entering the airline industry and wants to be a customer service director for a major airline to share his passion for working with others and the delivery of inspirational customer service and working with diverse groups of people. He is a huge outdoor enthusiast and enjoys backpacking, kayaking, scuba diving and skiing.
Sea Scout Quartermaster, Eagle Scout, National Sea Scout Boatswain
Ed is an 18-year-old Quartermaster Sea Scout with Ship 5111, from Albion, Ind., in the Anthony Wayne Area Council, headquartered in Fort Wayne, Ind. He joined when he was 6 and has participated in Cub Scouts, earning his Arrow of Light award. He is an Eagle Scout; earned his Venturing Silver award, all five Bronze awards and the Ranger Award; he is also a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow. He served as Lodge Chief of his Order of the Arrow Lodge. He is also currently involved in a Varsity Team and serves as Captain. He recently was awarded his Denali Award. He is working to earn his Venturing Quest and Trust award. He earned his Venturing Summit award.
Edward earned the highest award in Sea Scouts, the Quartermaster Award. During his tenure in Sea Scouts, he has served his ship as Ship Boatswain, Council Boatswain and served as Central Region Area 6 Boatswain, which includes him running an annual, CR-A6, event called Spring Icebreaker.
Last year, he completed a personal challenge to sleep outdoors for 365 days, in a tarp, in an effort to raise funds to help Scouts experience the program of which he has been blessed. One-hundred percent of those pledges go to fellow Scouts to help them on their Scouting journey. He plans on pursuing a career in political science through the military for service to his country and is applying to some United State military academies after his year in his national youth leadership position.
Neel is a 17-year-old Boy Scout with Troop 261, from Merrimack, N.H., in the Daniel Webster Council, headquartered in Manchester, N.H. Currently he is a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. He joined Scouting as a Tiger at the age of 7, and earned his Den Chief award, his Eagle Scout award with Palms, the Supernova award and the 2014 Eagle Scout of the Year award for the Daniel Webster Council. He is also a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow.
In Scouting, he has participated in National Youth Leadership Training at Gilmanton Iron Works, N.H., and the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Neel also served on staff at the NYLT leadership training. Academically, he has earned two gold medals and three silver medals at the state-level Science Olympiad and also competed at the National Science Olympiad competitions held at Florida and Nebraska State.
He also develops curriculum and teaches science to students at Merrimack Elementary School. Neel has been working as an intern at Ferrite Technology Inc. during the summer of 2014 and since September 2014, he has been working at Conductive Compounds Inc. after school hours, developing and testing a new generation of printable solar cells. He wants to pursue his education in mechanical engineering. He presented a research paper at a national conference held at Big Sky, Mt., in August 2015. His musical talents have him playing the violin for 11 years.
He regularly volunteers at the Nashua Soup Kitchen. For his Eagle project, he built three shrines for his Hindu Temple. He was bestowed the 2014 Presidential Award by the New England Kamada Koota (Indian Association) for outstanding academics and community service.
Cindy is a 19-year-old Explorer from Franklin Park, Ill., in Post 9707 in the Pathways to Adventure Council, headquartered in Chicago. The post is chartered by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection of Chicago. She has been active member since 2012 and currently serves as a youth officer in the program with the title of Chief. She is also the National Youth Representative for Law Enforcement Exploring.
Cindy has been awarded the Explorer of the Year award and earned the overall Female Athletic medal. She now attends the University of Illinois at Chicago where she recently served as a squad leader for their ROTC program. Her goal after college is to work with and eventually lead a federal law enforcement agency to help address our nation’s most pressing issues.
Her hobbies and interests include running, playing soccer and playing in musical ensembles. In High School, Cynthia participated in both cross country and soccer. Additionally, she served as a section leader in her high school’s marching band, vocal ensemble and symphonic band. She was a lead mentor for a freshman studies group. Currently, at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she is seeking admittance into their debate and mock trial team.
Outside of school, Cindy aides her community in their Meals on Wheels program, assists in coaching youth soccer, aids instrumentally for school productions and takes part in marathons for various causes. She is manager of a local movie theater.
N’Jhari is a 13-year-old Boy Scout from Tampa, Fla., with Troop 142 in the Gulf Ridge Council, headquartered in Tampa. He began his Scouting at age 8 as a Cub Scout. His honors include the Arrow of Light, the Eagle Scout award and the Conservation award. So far he has earned 117 merit badges, with a goal of earning all of them. He is also a member of the Order of the Arrow.
He has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally for his tremendous community service, selflessness and superior academics. His recognitions include: Hispanic Heritage Month Essay contest winner, Champion of Service award by the state of Florida and the Lightning Community Hero by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation, with a gift of $ 50,000 to be given to a charity of his choosing.
One of his most impressive community projects was the Pajama Buddy Voyage Project, where he delivered 4,000 Pajama Buddies and Pajama Bags to hospitalized youth across the U.S., Germany and China. If that was not enough, he started a boy’s book club, which spans three schools. He is academically gifted and continues to challenge himself by taking high school courses.
Eagle Scout, National Chief of the Order of the Arrow
Hunter is a 19-year-old Eagle Scout from Lafayette, Tenn., from Troop 405 in the Middle Tennessee Council, headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. He joined Scouting at the age of 7. During his Scouting career, he has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, earned the Venturing Silver award, was awarded his youth religious award. He became a James E. West Fellow, is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow and earned the Founders Award. He has served in many leadership positions including Chapter, Lodge and Section Chief in the Order of the Arrow.
Hunter was recently elected to the position of National Chief of the Order of the Arrow, heading up a national honor camper organization with more than 171,000 members. He currently is a student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville where he is studying animal science/pre-med. His long-term goal is to become a medical doctor.
His involvement in school includes: member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity – Alpha Kappa Chapter, University of Tennessee Student Alumni Associates, University of Tennessee All-Campus Events Committee, American Degree recipient from the National FFA Organization, and gold-level Presidential Service Award. His community involvement has him engaged with Relay for Life, St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
Matt is an 18-year-old Eagle Scout from Troop 171 from Boulder, Colo., in the Longs Peak Council, headquartered in Greeley, Colo. He began his Scouting participation at age 11 as a Boy Scout. He is enrolled as a senior at Boulder High School and a college sophomore at CU-Boulder. His extracurricular activities include climbing, skiing and biking.
His goal in life is to go into medicine and the military as a pilot and a flight surgeon — maybe even one day work for NASA. Matt is a noted American mountaineer for his assent of 8,000 meter peaks and several of the Seven Summits. His early climbs took him to accept the challenge of 50 peaks in 43 days, making him the youngest to ever do this.
In April 2015, he was part of a team to climb in Nepal for his third expedition. As they approached Mount Everest an earthquake struck Nepal, triggering an avalanche. His skills provided him the knowhow and the energy to help others who had been hurt. For his actions, he received the Boy Scouts of America’s Honor Medal with Crossed Palms.
Ian is an 18-year-old Eagle Scout from Sandy Spring, Md., of Troop 96 in the National Capital Area Council, headquartered in Bethesda, Md. He joined the Scouting program at age 12. During his tenure with the Scouting program, he has served as the Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader and Scribe. He was chosen as the Northeast Region recipient of the 2015 Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award. His project focused on malaria prevention in Africa. He travelled to Nigeria, where he worked with a local organization to deliver insecticide-treated bed nets to health clinics and orphanages in and around the capital city of Abuja.
His aspirations after going to college are to become a businessman on Wall Street or to work in sports marketing. He has a love for both sports and business. His school activities include membership in the Multicultural Alliance, playing varsity soccer, basketball, and golf; and serving as president of the Landon School Spirit Club.
He is active in his church, serving as senior acolyte and works with the church’s community outreach activities through the Young Men of Trinity group.
Wolf Cub Scout
Sean is an 8-year-old Cub Scout from Edgewood, Ky., of Pack 3775 of the Dan Beard Council, headquartered in Cincinnati. He joined Scouts at 6 as a Tiger. During his short tenure as a Scout, he has earned a number of loops and pins during his two years. He qualified for his Nova Science award, the Outdoor Ethics Action award, the Cyber Chip, the ScoutStrong award, the Light of Christ religious award and just recently earned the Dr. Luis Alvarez Cub Scout Supernova Award.
Sean participates in several after-school clubs, including: Chess Club, Science Club, Jr. First LEGO League and Destination Imagination. He also participates in an adaptive horseback riding program and is one of the youngest members of the Cincinnati Dragons Youth Wheelchair Basketball Team. His goal when he completes school is to be a zoologist, because he loves to learn about animals.
He lets nothing hold him back, not even transverse myelitis, a rare neuro-immune disorder that caused him a spinal cord injury as a baby. After being selected as the Transverse Myelitis Association’s 2015 poster child, Sean led a schoolwide effort to raise funds to help other kids with the same disorder. He is a very spirited and determined Scout, following in the footsteps of his Eagle Scout father. His determination to succeed carries him through each day, allowing him to do what all youth at his age want to do: be active and have fun.
Dan is a 16-year-old Eagle Scout from Cypress, Calif., of Troop 1930 of the Orange County Council, headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif. He joined Scouts at 6 years old and has been involved for the past 10 years. His accomplishments include earning his Arrow of Light, becoming an Eagle Scout and attending National Youth Leadership Training. He is currently the Senior Patrol Leader for his troop.
His 18-month Eagle Scout project has been nominated as the Orange County Council representative for the Adams Service Project of the Year Award. His project was unique and addressed financial literacy awareness. He first founded a financial literacy club and then organized a wildly successful multi-school financial literacy event featuring the California State Treasurer, John Chiang, and attended by 700 students and staffs.
Outside of Scouts, he earned his varsity letter in track and field and plays varsity soccer. His other activities include the Penny Wise Club, which he founded through his Eagle project; playing piano, and serving as a U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Petty Officer Second Class. He acquired a sailing license and his FAA pilot knowledge test certificate. His recognitions include: Student of the Year from the Language Department, Patriot recognition and the Silver Award in Piano. Most recently he was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Orange County for his work with financial literacy.
Dan attends Oxford Academy High School, a rigorous college preparatory school. His dream school is the Naval Academy to first serve his country. Then his goal would be to go into the world of business and help with rebuilding companies or becoming a broker. Meanwhile, he hopes to use his giftedness to continue benefiting others.
Lyle and Toril Knight
Lyle R. Knight is married to Toril with five grown children, two Eagle Scout sons, one Eagle Scout grandson, 21 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They also have provided a home for an additional three foster children. They have made Billings, Mt., their home since 1998. Lyle is a 1968 graduate of the University of Utah, holding a bachelor’s degree in banking and finance; he is also a 1982 graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington, where he received top honors.
He started his career in 1970 in Phoenix as a management trainee working as a drive-up teller. During his career, he served as president and CEO of Caliber Bank of Arizona, president and CEO of Security Pacific Bank in Nevada, and concluded his career as president and CEO of First Interstate BancSystem Inc., consisting of 72 First Interstate branches.
He has been active in charitable and community affairs. He has a passion for youth development and serves on the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He also serves as a trustee of Rocky Mountain College. He is a former vice president of the Federal Advisory Council, acting as an advisor to Chairman Bernanke and the Board of Governors, representing the Ninth District of the Federal Reserve. Lyle has served as chairman of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, the Montana Bankers Association, the Billings Clinic and Hospital, trustee for the University of Montana Foundation, and as a member of the University Of Wyoming College Of Business Advisory Council.
Lyle has been honored in the past in Mesa, Ariz., as citizen of the year. He is a recipient of the Heart of the Community Award by the American Heart Association. He was awarded the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope and Silver Buffalo awards from the Boy Scouts of America, and a bronze star for army service in the Republic of South Vietnam. Lyle also serves on the corporate boards of Pacific Steel and Recycling and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Montana.
Toril was born in Oslo, Norway. She immigrated to America with her family as a child and is now an American citizen. She attended elementary and high school in Salt Lake City. Her hobbies include many physical exercise activities and all forms of music, especially singing. She is the chorister in her church and sings in the choir. She has taught children and adults. She is a community volunteer and spends many hours on Scouting activities, accompanying her husband and children. She works as a volunteer in the Billings LDS Temple where she has served as a shift coordinator.