If you camped, participated in a service project or earned a merit badge in 2018, your accomplishments are now part of the congressional record.
Twelve delegates representing four different BSA programs submitted the 2018 Report to the Nation to the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate on Tuesday morning at the U.S. Capitol. In doing so, the group fulfilled a mandate in the Boy Scouts of America’s congressional charter that says we must share a record of Scouting’s accomplishments with Congress each year.
This was no mere display for the cameras. The report will become part of the congressional record, which anyone can see at Congress.gov. (See the entry for last year’s visit at this link, under EC-4483.)
A great start to the day
For Cheryl Johnson, Clerk of the House, the chance to meet a bunch of impressive Scouts was a welcome respite during a stressful day.
Ninety minutes after leaving breakfast with the Report to the Nation delegation, Johnson, whose office creates and maintains all House records, was due in front of the House Appropriations Committee. In just her first month in the position, she would have to testify in support of her office’s budget for 2020.
“But this is a great way to start the morning — to see so many bright and fresh young people that are our future,” she said. “I just have no doubt that all of you will go to do such great things.”
Julie Adams, Secretary of the Senate, agreed.
“I’m always so impressed when I have the opportunity to sit down for this breakfast each year,” she said. “It does give me great hope for our future.”
Later, both women shared that they have Eagle Scouts in their lives. Johnson’s godson and Adams’ brother have earned Scouting’s highest honor.
“I spent a lot of time with merit badges happening in the basement of my house,” Adams said.
Learning about Scouts BSA
Johnson also gave the delegates a good opportunity to talk about the BSA’s move to welcome all members of the family into Scouting through programs like Scouts BSA.
“So are there coed troops?” she asked.
Jeff Messer, an Eagle Scout who is on the delegation with his daughter Isabella, a new Scouts BSA member, chimed in.
“It’s either all female or all male, but you can have linked troops that share a chartering organization and a committee,” he said. “They can meet on the same night, but they will be separate.”
Faith in our country’s future
In addition to receiving the report itself, Johnson and Adams showed genuine interest in hearing each delegate’s story. They wanted to meet the faces behind the numbers.
Avery Neuhart, a Law Enforcement Explorer from Maryland, talked about her time in Exploring.
“It’s really just provided me with more than I could ever imagine,” she said. “Before I came in, I would’ve had a hard time talking in front of this many people in a room. This past summer, I was able to give a speech in front of 3,000. … The program’s really proved to be incredible to me.”
Natalie MacEwan, a Venturer from California, called herself an honorary Scout as she grew up watching boys join the program she wanted to join. She became a Venturer when she turned 14.
For Natalie, Venturing was “the source for a lot of my inspiration, and my character development and leadership skills — really just a community I could rely on through hardship growing up.”
After each delegate shared his or her story, Jim Rogers, an Eagle Scout and the former CEO of KOA, offered a perfect closing statement.
“So that’s our team,” he said. “We wanted to be sure you understand that the Boy Scouts of America is healthy and going strong.”
Follow the Report to the Nation
Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here.