When the Report to the Nation delegates described their Washington visit to the Secretary of the Senate, she was floored.
“That’s not a routine week in Washington by any stretch of the imagination,” said Julie Adams, whose office handles the Senate’s day-to-day operations.
Adams listened intently as the Scouts described visits to memorials, exclusive tours, and meetings with the president, cabinet secretaries and four-star generals.
And that was just the first three days.
Wednesday began with breakfast at the U.S. Capitol, during which the official Report to the Nation was presented to Adams and her House counterpart, Karen Haas. The delivery of the report to Adams and Haas fulfills the requirements of the BSA’s congressional charter.
After that, the Scouts, Venturers and Explorer were whisked through the Capitol to meet first with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and then with Rep. Paul Ryan.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader
Rep. Pelosi has welcomed Report to the Nation delegates into her office for years and said it’s something she looks forward to annually.
“Thank heavens Congress stated that you should give us this report,” she said. “It’s one of the joys of being in Congress and being in the leadership.”
Pelosi spent more than 20 minutes with the delegates, taking time to talk with each Scout individually. She encouraged them to get into the outdoors as much as possible and continue serving the country.
“I thank you for your leadership and service,” she said. “We live in a very great country, and we are very blessed by our founders. And how proud they would be of all of you for the responsibility you take.”
The congresswoman herself isn’t the only Scouting fan in Pelosi’s office. Her senior advisor, Michael Long, is an Eagle Scout. Pelosi recently surprised him with the Outstanding Eagle Scout Award.
Long, a former Order of the Arrow lodge and section chief, said his favorite Scouting memory was building trails at Philmont with the OA (Scouting’s national honor society).
He said he uses Scouting’s values in his job and that in the Pelosi office, “we’re always very supportive of Boy Scouting.”
Rep. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House
Rep. Ryan has two Eagle Scouts on staff, but the Scouting connections don’t end there.
Ryan said he was a Cub Scout, making it as far as Bear before his den mother moved away and “we had nobody to take over.”
His two sons were Cub Scouts as well, and “I’ve assisted in making about six Pinewood Derby cars,” he said.
In his 10 minutes with the group, Ryan asked for questions. Tyler Schutt, the National Youth Representative for Law Enforcement Exploring, stepped up.
“What’s your typical day like around here?” he asked.
Ryan’s family lives in Wisconsin, so he sleeps at the office “because it’s just convenient.”
During the week, “I get up, I go to the gym, I work out, shower, and then I start meeting with the staff,” he said.
Then there are more meetings all morning until he opens the House floor. Then he has meetings in the Capitol between the House and the Senate.
“Choreography is what I do,” he said. “I manage how the flow of work happens here, and that involves lots of meetings.”
In the evenings, he typically attends two receptions and two dinners supporting members. Then he comes back and does office hours with members — “whoever wants to come and talk about whatever.”
He reads memos from the staff and other briefing materials before finally calling it quits around 11:30 p.m. He’s asleep by midnight and is up again at 6 to do it all again.
“How do you balance all that with your family?” asked Hannah Wheaton, a Venturer from Virginia.
“That’s the key, key thing,” Ryan said. “I pack it in, but I make sure that I’m home every weekend.”
Ryan said he tries to work four days a week in Washington and spend the other three days in his home district with his wife and three kids. His schedule — including everything from congressional sessions to his kids’ sports games — gets planned six months in advance.
“I’m already scheduling August right now,” he said. “And it’s in 15-minute increments.”
Follow the Report to the Nation
Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here.