A look at 2017 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 — 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.”
“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.”
BSA Leadership: President Randall Stephenson and Commissioner Charles Dahlquist
Randall L. Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, serves as the 36th national president of the Boy Scouts of America.
Stephenson has served on the National Executive Board since 2005, and is a recipient of the Silver Buffalo Award — the highest commendation given by the BSA for extraordinary service to youth. He became national president in May 2016, and is serving two, one-year terms.
Stephenson began his career with Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1982, eventually serving as senior executive vice president, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer.
He was appointed to AT&T’s board in 2005, and has served as chairman and CEO since 2007.
Charles W. Dahlquist II is the BSA’s 10th national commissioner.
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 has served on the local level as a Scoutmaster and Explorer adviser, as vice president of Exploring, and as council president of the
Great Salt Lake Council.
Dahlquist has received the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, and Silver Buffalo awards as well as the National Venturing Service Award. He also has served at numerous national jamborees, as well as the contingent chair for the BSA’s participation in the 2015 World Scout Jamboree in Japan.
An attorney 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, and as a Mission President in the Germany Hamburg Mission.
Michael Surbaugh is the 13th Chief Scout Executive of the BSA.
Scouting was a central component of Mike’s life from early on. He was born in Charleston, West Virginia, the son of a steel plant manager. His family moved often, and in each new city Scouting became a touchstone of consistency. No matter where he went, Mike found a ready group of friends and mentors waiting in a new Scout troop.
After graduating from Salem College in West Virginia with a
Bachelor of Arts degree in youth agency administration, he joined the BSA as a district executive in Jacksonville, Florida. He then served as a senior district executive and program director in Syracuse, New York, and moved to become director of field services, director of development, field director, and development director in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He also served as the Scout executive in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Appleton, Wisconsin; and, finally, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
where he had been a youth member.
From Pittsburgh, Mike was promoted to BSA group director at the National Service Center in 2014, a position he held until being named Chief Scout Executive in 2015.
Mike is an Eagle Scout and an Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor member, and has completed Wood Badge. He also is proud to have served as camp director and a member of summer camp staffs for 12 years.
Scouts earned more than 1.8 million merit badges during the year — including Exploration, which became the 137th available merit badge in February — introducing Scouts to a spectrum of life skills topics.
In the Exploring co-ed career exploration program, a Career Interest Survey given to more than 150,000 students in 6th – 12th grades generated a list of favored careers that ranged from in-demand medical positions to more aspirational roles such as athletes,
singers, and actors. Nearly half of respondents, or 45 percent, expressed the most interest in the medical and engineering fields, as well as programming and marine biology.
Launched the previous year, the Lions pilot program grew in 2017 as it focused on teaching new skills and building character in kindergarten-age boys. Likewise, the co-ed STEM Scouts pilot program — which offers hands-on STEM exploration for students in grades 3-12 — continued expanding.
In communities throughout the nation, Scouting is administered through civic, faith-based, and educational organizations that deliver our programs to their youth members and adult volunteers.
During 2017, our members recorded 15.6 million hours of service to their communities, at a value of more than $376 million (based on a national volunteer-hour value of $24.14). Eagle Scout projects alone accounted for more than $205 million (or, 8.5 million hours) in service to the nation.
At the 2017 National Jamboree, which was held at the
Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia, Scouts and Scouters contributed more than 100,000 hours of service as part of the Messengers of Peace Days of Service initiative, making a meaningful impact on the lives of residents across the state.
While you often see Scouts working in your community, you also run across them online, where the BSA’s growing social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram reached more than 132 million people in 2017 with stories of service and leadership.
From the time they enter the program as Cub Scouts until they become adults, boys learn what it takes to be a leader. Starting in 2018, girls, too, will be able to benefit from these early lessons, thanks to the BSA’s historic decision to begin admitting girls into the Cub Scout ranks in 2018. A program for older girls, launching in 2019, will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
In 2017, a total of 55,494 young men earned the Eagle Scout rank. Reaching this pinnacle requires Scouts to conceive of, plan for, and complete a project that takes into account everything they’ve learned about leadership, service, outdoor skills, and values.
Jeffrey “Blake” Deaton from Morehead City, N.C., built a sensory room for children with autism — including special lighting, padded floors, and educational toys — earning him the 2017 Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award. But leadership doesn’t begin, or end, with the awarding of Eagle Scout.
Daniel Konzelman, a 24-year-old Eagle Scout, was among the first on the scene after an Amtrak train derailed in DuPont, Wash., in December. Demonstrating the skills he learned in Scouting,
he helped more than a dozen passengers to safety before emergency workers arrived. “Nobody was there, nobody was leading or responding to the incident,” Konzelman told CBS News. “I did my best to sort of take charge of the situation.”
In all, Konzelman, his girlfriend Alicia Hoverson, and a police officer who arrived on the scene helped about 15 people escape the train — many of whom were injured, in shock, and unable to move without assistance.
From Scouting’s younger ranks, STEM Scout Gitanjali “Anjali” Rao, 12, was named the winner of the 2017 Discovery Education and 3M Young Scientist Challenge thanks to her invention of a device that enables users to test for lead levels in water, proving that leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Her award-winning project, the Tethys, enables users to test for lead levels in water with greater ease and effectiveness than many existing testing processes. This tool was named after the Greek goddess of fresh water and has potentially life-saving implications for communities around the globe.
This invention follows her previous creation of a life-saving device for snake bites that earned her the title of Middle Tennessee Council’s STEM Scout of the Year.
Scouting prepares our youth for active lives full of adventure. More than 1 million Scouts attended our day and summer camps across the country. At our high-adventure bases in New Mexico, Minnesota, Florida, and West Virginia, they camped, hiked, climbed, paddled, and sailed. In all, this added up to more than 5.6 million nights under the stars.
During the course of 10 days in July, attendees at the 2017 National Jamboree combined adventure and leadership development, made lasting friendships, and experienced the best of Scouting, all in one place. As it does every four years, this landmark event showcased our mission by giving youth life-changing experiences they can’t get anywhere else. A few of the highlights from this year’s event included:
- Messengers of Peace Days of Service: The BSA partnered with the Citizens Conservation Corps (CCC) to identify more than 200 projects in nearly every county across West Virginia, with a combined economic impact of more than $7 million. Service projects ranged from restoring and preserving historical sites and flood remediation to creating art murals and installing a butterfly garden. Many were a continuation from 2013 when the BSA hosted the first jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
- The BSA Takes STEM Out of the Lab and Into Nature’s Biggest Classroom: The BSA provided a classroom encompassing 14,000 acres by offering unique STEM experiences that allowed attendees to explore the science behind adventure while experiencing the newly expanded STEM Quest area. Displays included offerings by NASA/FIRST, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), Cognizant’s Innovation Hub, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, West Virginia University, the American Welding Society and Lincoln Electric, and more.