2000: The Year in Review
In 2000, more than 4.9 million youth participated in the program of the Boy Scouts of America. Though Scouting's program is rooted in the concept of the "outdoor classroom," Scouting's methods have proven effective in both urban and rural areas.
In 2000, the Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 90th anniversary and the addition of its 100 millionth youth member. Four million nine hundred thousand youth had the opportunity to participate in the program of the BSA during the past year, thanks to the efforts of more than 1.4 million committed adult volunteers. All of this is made possible through support from tens of thousands of chartered organizations and community groups throughout the nation.
For our youth members and participants, Scouting is about having fun with friends. But Scouting is much more. Scouting is a values-based program designed to instill self-discipline, self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-worth—qualities that last a lifetime.
The Boy Scouts of America has long been recognized as the nation's foremost leader in values-based youth development. Though we tend to view our movement through statistics that highlight our strengths and accomplishments, the real focus of Scouting is the powerful impact it has on a single youth and his or her family. In a time of declining ethics and shifting morals, we remain steadfast in our purpose: to instill positive values in young people that enable them to mature into adults of strong character.
Cub Scouting. In 2000, Cub Scouting, for boys ages 7 to 10, served 2,114,420 youth members. Enhancement of age-appropriate programming has resulted in greater opportunity for youth to participate in Cub Scouting's contemporary family activities. Reflecting the increased emphasis on and expansion of day, resident, pack, and family camping opportunities, more than 41 percent of Cub Scouts participated in an outdoor activity.
Boy Scouting. Membership in Boy Scouting, for 11- to 17-year-olds, reached 1,003,691 in 2000. Eagle Scout, the highest rank a Scout or Venturer can achieve, was attained by 40,029 young men. The number of Scouts who experienced a long-term camping expedition reached its greatest level ever in 2000 with 58.2 percent of all Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts participating in these educational outdoor adventures.
Venturing. This high-adventure program for young men and women ages 14 to 20 has enjoyed continuous growth since its introduction in 1998. Built around an advancement program with the Venturing Bronze, Gold, and Silver awards, Venturing grew to 233,858 members—a 15.7 percent increase. The number of Venturing crews increased 12.1 percent in 2000 to 17,684.
Scouting's coordinated effort to reach out to more urban and rural young people focused on the Hispanic market in 2000. New Hispanic marketing materials and training aids were developed along with a number of bilingual publications designed to make the Scouting program more accessible to Hispanic youth and their families. The esteemed Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award was bestowed upon 148 volunteers—the largest number of recipients in the history of the award.
The National Court of Honor presents the prestigious Silver Buffalo Award to distinguished citizens for exemplary national service to youth. In 2000, recipients of Scouting's highest commendation included Charles L. Bowerman; M. Anthony Burns; Robert M. Gates; Roger R. Hemminghaus; Louise Mandrell; C. Dudley Pratt Jr.; Thomas E. Reddin; Frank G. Rubino, M.D.; Alfred S. Warren; Togo D. West Jr.; and Edward E. Whitacre Jr.
The BSA's National Court of Honor awarded the Honor Medal With Crossed Palms to six Scouts and Scouters who demonstrated unusual heroism and extraordinary skill or resourcefulness in saving or attempting to save a life at extreme risk to self. Other awards for lifesaving and meritorious action were presented to 234 Scouts and Scouters.
The Young American Awards recognize excellence in the achievements of young people ages 15 to 25. The 2000 recipients were Julius D. Jackson, Carl F. Regelmann, Svati Singla, Alison L. Smith, and Christopher K. Sokolov.
America's Promise—The Alliance for Youth
In 1997, the Boy Scouts of America pledged 200 million hours of service to America by our youth membership by the end of 2000. We are pleased to announce that we have surpassed that objective by completing more than 214 million hours. As part of this effort, members of Scouting's national honor society, the Order of the Arrow, performed more than 2,000 hours of service in Yosemite National Park. Scouts in New Orleans participated in Good Turn fairs in which they performed services for the community including removing graffiti and restoring playgrounds. The BSA's involvement in this worthwhile effort represents its commitment of service to our nation as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law.
Preparing for the Future: New Leadership and a New Plan
Strong leadership has always been a hallmark of Scouting. In this tradition, this past year our National Executive Board selected Roy L. Williams as the Chief Scout Executive. In May 2001, Williams will introduce a strategic plan for 2002-2005 that targets five issues critical to the future of the Scouting movement. Those issues are traditional membership and unit growth, financial development, marketing and strategic positioning, leadership, and Scoutreach. By addressing these key issues, the BSA will ensure that its values-driven program will be around for generations to come, and will continue to reach out to share America's values with today's youth, tomorrow's leaders.