2008 Report to the Nation

Who We Are

With the support of more than 1.1 million volunteers and 127,119 community–based organizations, the Boy Scouts of America provides educational programs for 2.8 million young people in building character, developing leadership capabilities, training in the responsibilities of active citizenship, and developing personal fitness. As part of our Good Turn for America national service initiative, we have contributed more than 8 million community service hours to issues that address hunger, inadequate housing, and poor health since the program began in February 2004.

Who We Served

1,665,635 boys ages 7 to 10 in Cub Scouts

905,879 boys ages 11 to 17 in Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts

261,122 young men and women ages 14 to 20 in Venturing and Sea Scouts

1,195,658 boys and girls in elementary through high school in Learning for Life character education programs

146,564 young men and women ages 14 to 20 in Exploring career-based programs

What We Promise

The BSA prepares young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

What We Supported

National Service

John Wolfgang, assistant director of Flight Projects Directorate of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, shows the Report to the Nation delegates a display of mission patches from every manned space flight in which an Eagle Scout was a member of the crew. The delegates also made stops at the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and other Washington landmarks.

Our advancement program is one of our basic character-building tools and provides young people with invaluable citizenship, leadership, fitness, career, and interpersonal skills such as helping and teaching others, camping, personal management, and communications. For example, an Eagle Scout must earn a minimum of 21 different life skills badges in career development and hobbies. The Eagle Scout Award, the highest rank a Scout can achieve, was earned by 52,025 Scouts—the highest annual number of service projects in our history.

Conservation and Outdoor Programs

Scouting emphasizes conservation stewardship, learning outdoor skills, environmental awareness, and outdoor ethics. As part of the principles of Leave No Trace, we conducted the ArrowCorps5 project  that provided more than 280,000 service hours, resulting in a value of more than $5.6 million worth of improvements at five national forests. In addition, for those who made significant contributions and increased public awareness about natural resource conservation, the William T. Hornaday Award was given to 144 Scouts and adult volunteers.

Healthy Living

Throughout Scouting, we encourage all ages to focus attention on physical health and well-being. As an example, our Venturing program advances one’s skills and knowledge in high adventure, sports, arts, hobbies, and religious life. The Quest sports and fitness award, for developing a healthy lifestyle through a nutritional diet and exercise plan, was created with the U.S. Anti–Doping Agency, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and sports organizations that support disabled people. Our personal fitness life skills badge was earned by approximately 54,000 Scouts.

Community Involvement

Our work with educational, religious, and other community-based organizations enables them to use the Scouting program under their own leadership as a service to their members. An example is our faith-based initiative with four national African American Baptist conventions to create more than 5,000 Scouting units to serve the needs of families in their communities. We also presented 504 lifesaving and meritorious action awards to Scouts and adult volunteers, of which 123 were for action taken during the tornado at Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Iowa. 

White House Photo by Pete Souza

On March 3, 2009, President Barack Obama received the BSA’s 2008 Report to the Nation from a group of young people representing all the Scouts of America. In recognition of the President’s favorite sport, the Report to the Nation contingent also gave him a BSA basketball that each of them had signed.

Multicultural Emphasis

Our 2006 Reaching America’s Next Multicultural Generation study examined the image and awareness of Scouting among African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans. Because of the results of this survey,
we launched our first focus, the Hispanic Initiatives program, designed to increase the involvement of a greater number
of Hispanic young people, adult volunteers, and Scouting executives. The Scouting… Vale la Pena Service Award recognized adult volunteers and organizations for their role in the development and implementation of Scouting.

Family Values

Scouting has always encouraged involvement and engagement of parents with their children. ScoutParents, our national parent initiative, emphasized capturing a parent’s interest and support in becoming more involved and committed to the success of their child’s Scouting experience. A total of 57,566 parents of new Scouts made a commitment to be active as a ScoutParent. Within those groups, we experienced Scouts staying in the program longer, more young people joining, and more adult volunteers being engaged with their child.

Celebrating the Adventure…Continuing the Journey

During our 98-year history, we have involved more than 110 million young people and adult volunteers. In 2008, we launched the BSA Alumni Connection to re-engage the 50 million living Scouting alumni. In 2010, we will celebrate 100 years of Scouting in America. Our 100th Anniversary represents an important milestone during which we plan to reintroduce Scouting to America—to celebrate our rich heritage and to reinforce the important role Scouting will play in shaping our country’s future. In partnership with volunteers and employees, we developed eight national programs to involve young people, families, adult volunteers, and community leaders in our anniversary celebration. Through our first nationwide Eagle Scout search, we identified 600,000 Eagle Scouts, of which 350,000 confirmed their commitment to Scouting.



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