2004: The Year in Review

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The Boy Scouts of America is an organization committed to making a difference in the lives of young people. Through the efforts of more than 1.2 million dedicated volunteers and the support of religious and community organizations nationwide, the BSA reached more than 4.8 million youth in 2004 with its program of citizenship, mental and physical fitness, and character development.


Promoting Values

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 behind the numbers, you will find a nation of young men and women learning leadership, developing character, and serving their communities with the caring guidance of volunteers and supporters.

Providing Opportunities Through Our Programs

Cub Scouting. Cub Scouting, for boys in the first through fifth grades, was serving 1,875,752 Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts at December 31, 2004. Continued emphasis on providing increased opportunities for outdoor activities resulted in 47 percent of Cub Scouts participating in a day camp, resident camp, or family camp during the year.

Boy Scouting. Membership in Boy Scouting, for 11- to 17-year-olds, was 988,995 at December 31, 2004. The Eagle Scout Award, the highest rank a Scout can achieve, was earned by 50,377 young men—the highest annual number in BSA history. The promise of outdoor adventure continues to attract young men to the Scouting program. In 2004, 59 percent of all Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts participated in a long-term camping trip.

Venturing. This high-adventure program for young men and women ages 14 to 20 was serving 280,584 members at December 31, 2004. 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. Whether canoeing the boundary waters of Minnesota at the Charles L. Sommers High Adventure Base, exploring the Florida Keys at the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base, or hiking the mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico or at our newest property, the Double H Ranch in central New Mexico, the BSA's high-adventure bases provide young people with the opportunity to put the values of the Scout Oath and Law into practice. Our high-adventure programs enjoyed record attendance in 2004, with a 4.1 percent increase over 2003.

Two areas identified for internal marketing and strategic improvement were the council's newsletter and Web site. Scouter, the newsletter, was expanded in content to support Scouting program, fund-raising, and membership. Additionally, it was redesigned to include photos and color. "We retooled the newsletter for readers' needs," Wood reports. "And we're hearing great reviews."


Scouting revolves around adventure and accomplishment, which lead to character development in young people. As youth challenge themselves and each other, their physical skills grow, as well as their leadership abilities and moral fiber.

Recognizing Excellence

The National Court of Honor presented the prestigious Silver Buffalo Award to several distinguished citizens for their exemplary national service to youth. In 2004, recipients of Scouting's highest commendation included Dr. George L. Allen Sr., John P. DesBarres, Dr. Joseph L. Harris, Aubrey B. Harwell Jr., the Rev. Donald K. Hummel, R. Lawry Hunsaker, Drayton McLane, Jan Perkins, Mary Ann Price, and Robert W. Spanogle.

The Honor Medal With Crossed Palms was awarded to five 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 311 Scouts and Scouters.

The BSA's Young American Awards recognize exceptional achievements of young people ages 15 to 25. The 2004 recipients were Aaron A. Allen, Elizabeth Anne Beckel, Evan Eugene Hunsberger, James Steven Kleckner, and Kevin Koo.

Addressing the Needs of the 21st Century

The Boy Scouts of America was founded on the premise that to be a good citizen you must do for others. Over more than nine decades, Scouts and volunteers have committed to serving others at all times with enthusiasm and conviction. In Scouting's earliest years, we sold bonds and collected scrap to help win wars; over the years, Scouts have worked diligently 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 launched Good Turn for America, a national service initiative that addresses the issues of hunger, inadequate housing, and poor health. Inspired by President George W. Bush's USA Freedom Corps, Good Turn for America is a collaborative effort with Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, and The Salvation Army.

Through Good Turn for America, the work of a single group is duplicated tenfold when hundreds of other organizations' volunteers join in to improve their community. While the program teaches youth vital lessons about service and leadership, it also enhances the life of adult volunteers by making a difference in the happiness and health of the nation.

Celebrating the Past—Preparing for the Future

In 2005, we will celebrate two momentous landmarks in our history—the 95th year of the Boy Scouts of America and the 75th anniversary of Cub Scouting. There is no doubt of the tremendous impact these programs have had on the fabric of our nation. In fact, one out of every two American males has had an affiliation with the Scouting program. Their combined contributions continue to touch our lives every day. And while we look forward to a year of celebrating their accomplishments, we continue to look to the challenges of the next century. By continuing to recruit quality leadership, adequately funding our programs, inviting youth from all backgrounds to join, and by offering a fun and exciting program, we seek to help ordinary young people become extraordinary adults.