2003: The Year in Review

From the youngest Cub Scout to the most experienced Venturer, the BSA's youth members take their commitment to service to heart.

The Boy Scouts of America is an organization committed to making a difference in the lives of young people. Through the efforts of almost 1.27 million dedicated volunteers and the support of religious and community organizations, the BSA reached more than 4.7 million youth in 2003 with its program of citizenship, mental and physical fitness, and strong moral character.


The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

We use numbers and statistics to measure our success in delivering the Scouting program. But those figures provide only a glimpse of the Scouting program. Behind the numbers, you will find caring adult volunteers, families, and supporters giving their time and talents to build a better future one child at a time.


Cub Scouting. Cub Scouting, for boys in the first through fifth grades, served 1,914,425 Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts at December 31, 2003. Continued emphasis on providing increased opportunities for outdoor activities resulted in 47.6 percent of Cub Scouts participating in a day camp, resident camp, or family camp during the year.

Fellowship is a big part of Scouting. The experiences youth share and the friendships they make will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Boy Scouting. Membership in Boy Scouting, for 11- to 17-year-olds, reached 997,398 at December 31, 2003. The Eagle Scout Award, the highest award a Scout can achieve, was earned by 49,151 young men--the second highest annual number in BSA history. The promise of outdoor adventure continues to attract young men to the Scouting program. In 2003, 59 percent of all Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts participated in a long-term camping experience.

Venturing. This high-adventure program for young men and women ages 14 to 20 served 288,395 members at December 31, 2003. Lack of physical fitness is a major issue facing the nation's young people. To provide an emphasis for this critical issue, Venturing introduced the Quest Award. Venturers working toward this award are required to learn about good nutrition, fitness, and sportsmanship. In the process, youth develop healthy habits that last a lifetime.

High-Adventure Bases. Working as a team in the outdoors provides young people with the opportunity to put the values of the Scout Oath and Law into practice. Whether it be traveling the boundary waters of Minnesota at the Charles L. Sommers High Adventure Base, exploring the mountains of northern New Mexico at Philmont Scout Ranch, or discovering the crystal-blue underwater habitats of the Florida Keys at the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base, the BSA's high-adventure bases enhance youths' learning and development to help them face new challenges. All three programs enjoyed record attendance in 2003, with a 3.7 percent increase over 2002.

Venturing is a path to high adventure for young men and women ages 14 to 20.


The National Court of Honor presented the prestigious Silver Buffalo Award to 11 distinguished citizens for their exemplary national service to youth. In 2003, recipients of Scouting's highest commendation included Lawrence P. "Yogi" Berra, Donna Cunningham, Terrence P. Dunn, F. Melvin Hammond, Lyle R. Knight, Jerrold L. Lockshin, Francis R. McAllister, Glen McLaughlin, Jose F. Nino, H. Ross Perot, and George Zambelli Sr.

The Honor Medal With Crossed Palms was awarded to seven 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 343 Scouts and Scouters.

The BSA's Young American Awards recognize exceptional achievements of young people ages 15 to 25. The 2003 recipients were Kyle James Cline, Brett Michael Patrick Klukan, Katherine Ann Knuth, Akeem Rasheed Samuels, and Jonathan P. Wilkerson.


Traditional Scouting is a treasure trove of Scouting tradition. Nothing says camp like a campfire by the lake.

Scouts have been doing Good Turns for our nation for more than 94 years. Throughout the decades, Scouts and volunteers have sold bonds and collected scrap to help win two world wars; they've collected food for the needy and worked to protect the environment. Through these and many other efforts, the Boy Scouts of America has established a tradition of service. In 2004, the Boy Scouts of America will continue this tradition by launching Good Turn for America, a national service initiative that will address the issues of hunger, homelessness, and poor health. Inspired by President George W. Bush's USA Freedom Corps, Good Turn for America is a collaborative effort of some of the most respected service organizations in the nation, including Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, and The Salvation Army. Working together, we will teach youth vital lessons about service and leadership, while making a difference in our communities and the future of the nation.

The Boy Scouts of America saw continued success in 2003 due to the tireless efforts of dedicated volunteers, supporters, and youth members. The BSA's values-driven program will continue reaching out to America's youth for generations to come, helping to shape tomorrow's leaders and make our world a better place.