A look at 2016 and the strides we took in shaping the lives of America’s youth
“The Boy Scouts of America remains one of the best character-building and leadership development organizations in the world. The values Scouts learn as young men — integrity, selflessness and self-reliance — are fundamental to a strong, healthy society. It’s no surprise that so many of America’s leaders, in every field of endeavor and from all walks of life, have Scouting in their backgrounds.”
“With a steadfast focus on the four pillars of Scouting — service, leadership, learning and adventure – the Boy Scouts of America continues to help build the future leaders of our country through educational and fun experiences. As we share and celebrate our achievements of 2016, we look forward to an even more impactful year ahead.”
“Scouting, in all its programs, is more relevant and needed by youth and families today than ever before to help develop character and leadership that will empower this generation to face the challenges of the future. I am honored to build on the tradition that Tico Perez established before me to serve as the National Commissioner to continue to strengthen the bonds between the Boy Scouts of America and our charter organizations that deliver the program in communities nationwide.”
Randall Stephenson Named National President
Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, was elected as the BSA’s 36th national president at the National Annual Meeting in May, following former Secretary of Defense Dr. Robert M. Gates.
“I thank Dr. Gates for his vision and leadership these past two years, and I’m honored to build on his work,” Stephenson said. “The Boy Scouts of America remains one of the best character-building and leadership development organizations in the world. The values Scouts learn as young men – integrity, selflessness and self-reliance – are fundamental to a strong, healthy society.
It’s no surprise that so many of America’s leaders, in every field of endeavor and from all walks of life, have Scouting in their backgrounds.”
Stephenson joined the BSA Executive Board in 2005 and became a member of the executive committee in 2008.
“It is a true testament to the strength and impact of the Boy Scouts of America that two extremely accomplished, successful and high integrity leaders, Dr. Gates and Randall Stephenson, volunteer their time to help guide our path forward,” said Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh.
“Thank you to Dr. Gates for serving as our National President. We will remain eternally grateful to you and your unwavering leadership and commitment to Scouting.
“Moving forward in our mission to serve America’s youth by teaching them leadership and developing their character, Randall Stephenson is a shining example,” Surbaugh said. “As the leader of one of the world’s most innovative communications companies, Mr. Stephenson will help us fuel our effort to bring fresh, relevant and high impact experiences to youth and families.”
Also in May, Charles W. Dahlquist II was chosen as the BSA’s 10th national commissioner. In this volunteer role, Dahlquist will lead efforts to help chartered organizations and BSA leadership achieve the aims of Scouting to benefit the 2.3 million youth members the BSA serves today.
Dahlquist followed Tico Perez, who served in the role for eight years.
A member of the National Executive Board from 2004–2009 and again commencing in 2015, Dahlquist began his adult service to the BSA in 1975 when he became a unit commissioner in the National Capitol Area Council. He also served as a scoutmaster and Exploring adviser, as well as vice president of Exploring and as council president of the Great Salt Lake Council. As a youth member, he was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Explorer in Boise, Idaho.
Dahlquist is a recipient of the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, and Silver Buffalo awards, as well as the National Venturing Service Award, and served as assistant head chaplain and head chaplain for the 2005 and 2010 National Scout Jamborees, respectively; as well as the contingent chair for the BSA’s participation in the 2015 World Scout Jamboree in Japan.
“Scouting, in all its programs, is more relevant and needed by youth and families today than ever before to help develop character and leadership that will empower this generation to face the challenges of the future.” Dahlquist said. “I am honored to build on the tradition that Tico Perez established before me to serve as the National Commissioner to continue to strengthen the bonds between the Boy Scouts of America and our charter organizations that deliver the program in communities nationwide.”
A Utah native, attorney, and civic and community leader, Dahlquist has served as Young Men General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as chair of the General Church Scouting Committee from 2004-2009, and served as a Mission President for the LDS Church in the Hamburg, Germany Mission.
“The energy that Charles Dahlquist brings as the incoming National Commissioner uniquely reflects his deep understanding of the instrumental role our many valued charter partners play in bringing Scouting to life for youth across America,” said Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh. “We look forward to the powerful impact we know Charles will have in this role as he further grows and strengthens relationships with our charter partners.”
Scouting helps young people expand their horizons and build interests in the world around them. Whether they want to learn more about the outdoors, career and life skills, or technology, the BSA facilitates this through hands-on learning and opportunities for exploration that can’t be found anyplace else.
Inspiring career aspirations in the next generation is priceless. In fact, approximately 70 percent of companies say that young people who participate in mentorship programs are likely to eventually land a college internship with that organization. In 2016, a renewed emphasis was placed on expanding the Exploring co-ed career exploration program, which grew by 7 percent in 2016. The program’s 116,000 participants — including nearly 40,000 Law Enforcement Explorers, and thousands more in a dozen different career fields, including health care and skilled trades — cultivated crucial skills and benefited from partnerships with local professionals who can help guide them on the path to success.
The BSA’s STEM Scouts pilot program, which re-imagines creative, hands-on ways
for students in grades 3-12 to learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), more than doubled its membership from its launch in 2015. This surge demonstrates how we are meeting a need among young people and parents for a values-based learning experience that can grow a child’s understanding of concepts they learn in the classroom.
Additionally, the BSA launched our largest-ever pilot program — Lions — in response to parents’ increasing desire for more after-school programs that help kindergarten-age boys learn new skills and build character while having fun. The new Lion program introduces families to the adventures available through Scouting. Designed as an introduction to Cub Scouting for 5-year-old boys, the Lion badge serves as a precursor to the Tiger rank.
In all, Boy Scouts earned nearly 2.4 million merit badges in 2016 while exploring a range of offerings in 138 fields that reflect both their interests and our rapidly evolving culture.
Scouting builds strong communities by providing opportunities to serve others. During 2016, Scouts and Explorers across America recorded more than 15.4 million hours of service to their communities, at a value of more than $363.5 million (based on a national volunteer-hour value of $23.56). This is the equivalent of $1.12 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. — all 323 million of us.
Eagle Scout projects, which are planned, developed, and led by Scouts, accounted for more than $196 million in service to the nation alone. Since projects became a required part of the Eagle Scout award process in 1965 (joined by the addition of a “leadership component” seven years later), in fact, Scouts have contributed countless millions of hours of service to their communities while in pursuit of Scouting’s highest honor.
From their first days in Scouting, young people learn the importance of character and integrity. From the halls of Washington, D.C. — where 28 percent of the 535 members of the 115th U.S. Congress, including 33 Eagle Scouts, have some sort of connection to the BSA either as a former youth member, as an Eagle Scout, or as an adult volunteer — to the field of play, or even blasting into space, they take with them the knowledge, confidence, and skills gained through participation in our country’s premier character and leadership development program.
In fact, a recent study revealed the significant impact Scouting can have
on young boys in just three years of participation. Youth involved in Scouting are more likely to have positive character attributes and choose helping others over being the best. This positive impact grows even more when Scouts continue with the program.
In 2016, a total of 55,186 young men earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the program’s highest honor. Earning the badge requires Scouts to create a vision of future success and develop a plan to make it a reality, taking into account everything they’ve learned about leadership, service, outdoor skills, and values.
Scouting prepares our youth for active lives full of adventure. As the Scout grows, so does the level of adventure, allowing our members to go places, test themselves, and have one-of-a-kind experiences.
Physical fitness and healthy living have been a vital part of the Scouting program since the beginning. In all, our youth members earned 362,813 fitness-related badges. Just over 1 million Scouts attended our thousands of day and summer camps, as well as our high-adventure camps in New Mexico, Minnesota, Florida, and West Virginia, adding up to 6.5 million nights spent camping during the year.
13th Edition of The Boy Scout Handbook Released
In March, the BSA released the 13th edition of the book that has been used by millions of Scouts to guide them through Scouting and life’s many adventures.
First published in 1910, the Boy Scout Handbook includes lessons on citizenship, character, and outdoor survival skills — elements that have been built into the fabric of Scouting.
Just as the BSA continuously innovates its programming to appeal to the interests and needs of today’s youth, the Boy Scout Handbook also has been updated to include new content addressing some of the latest youth topics and trends, such as cyberbullying, STEM education, and sustainability.
“What young people experience in Scouting truly prepares them for life,” said Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh. “From the small things like cooking techniques to bigger lessons about citizenship and character, the Boy Scout Handbook can help Scouts build an adventure and prepare them for various situations they may encounter in their lives.”
To celebrate the new edition of the Boy Scout Handbook and showcase how Scouting can help prepare youth for life, the BSA developed a new video series called “Handbook Hacks” that were introduced via the BSA’s social media channels. The videos demonstrate how the lessons learned through Scouting and skills found within the Handbook can be knowledge that Scouts use throughout their lifetimes.