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Examples: A Sampling of States

Reports to the states are as varied as the states themselves. In densely populated areas, a delegation gathering in the state capital might number in the thousands. Elsewhere, a delegation of six youth members might do the honors. The state highway patrol might pick up the delegates from the various councils and drive them to the capital.

February—on or around Scouting Anniversary Day—is a favorite time for reporting. The report may be presented earlier or later in the year, however, as circumstances warrant.

Here are examples of reporting methods or report-related activities in a few representative states.

Alabama

In February, the Greater Alabama Council (www.1bsa.org) works with the other BSA local councils serving the state to coordinate “Scout Day” at the Alabama Legislature in Montgomery. More than 300 youth members, adult volunteers, and council staff typically attend. A Scout troop ceremonially opens the legislative session, and BSA youth members from around the state participate in various parts of the legislative process throughout the day. The highlight is a recognition luncheon attended by about 100 youth delegates and adult leaders, and many state senators and representatives. “Scout Day in Alabama” is an educational event for the youth and an opportunity for the participating councils to report on their past year’s successes and membership growth.

California

The California Capitol March is planned for October 2009, as a lead-in to the 2010 Centennial of the Boy Scouts of America. It is expected to draw more than 10,000 youth members, leaders, and parents for a mile-long march to the state capitol at Sacramento. The Golden Empire Council (www.gec-bsa.org) is hosting councils from all over the state.

The goals are to present the State of Scouting in California report to the governor and other elected officials; proclaim the official start of activities and celebrations honoring Scouting’s 100th Anniversary in America; bring together councils in California to demonstrate Scouting’s strength; and promote Scouting to encourage support from business, community, and elected leaders, and to invite youth and families to join.

After the presentation at the state capitol, participants are scheduled to enjoy lunch and an additional program of entertainment and celebrations. Afterward, youth and their families will have the opportunity to explore Sacramento. The host council has worked with the city’s tourism bureau for discounts to many historical and fun attractions located in the downtown area. The host council provides lodging and camping information for units that wish to stay overnight.

Participants can register online by unit or as individuals. The per-person registration fee of $25 includes lunch, patch, neckerchief, program activities, and sponsor bag filled with “goodies.”

Indiana

Hosted by the Crossroads of America Council (www.crossroadsbsa.org), the Indiana Report to the State is presented to the governor during a photo opportunity with youth members and adult leaders from across the state. Additional copies of the report are shared with council executive boards, council staffs, volunteers, key stakeholders (donors, community leaders, foundation leadership, United Way leadership, chartered organizations, school superintendents, etc.), statewide and local media, and local council Web sites.

Maryland

Each of the five BSA local councils in the state sent one youth representative to participate in the inaugural Report to the State of Maryland in February 2009, coordinated by the Baltimore Area Council (www.baltimorebsa.org). The youth members—a Tiger Cub, a Webelos Scout of Latino heritage, an Eagle Scout, a Sea Scout (Venturer), and an Explorer of African American heritage—attended a practice session beforehand, at the council service center, to ensure that each youth would be fully ready to deliver his or her comments.

On the morning of the formal presentation at the Maryland House of Delegates in Annapolis, each youth spoke for 60 to 90 seconds, sharing with the state delegates and senators the highlights of Scouting in their communities and the impact that Scouting makes in virtually every neighborhood in the state. The youth conveyed how Scouting has enhanced their lives through educational and recreational experiences and the development of leadership skills, whether collecting food for the less fortunate or gaining self-confidence while camping in adverse conditions.

A Report to the State booklet detailing accomplishments and summary statistics was presented to the governor, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house. The Maryland councils received a proclamation from the floor of the house. Youth members met and were photographed with state legislators.

Minnesota

In St. Paul, Minnesota, the Northern Star Council (www.northernstarbsa.org) has hosted 15 youth members, representing all five councils in the state, as they meet with top state officials in early March to conduct the annual Report to the State of Minnesota. The youth delegates share not only statewide statistics but also their own personal Scouting highlights. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, and Explorers meet with top leaders of all three branches of state government. The day is focused on citizenship, and a professional photographer (who is also an Eagle Scout) records the highlights.

The event is well received by state officials, who all take the time to engage the youth in conversation. First there’s a visit to the chief justice of the state supreme court. After a tour of the courtroom, the youth members return to the justice’s office for an overview of the state’s judicial system. The judge explains his role and fields questions.

Participants then meet with the governor. The delegates introduce themselves and share their Scouting highlights. The governor asks questions of the delegates, and takes questions from the group. The governor shares insights into the importance of leadership and service that the youth members learn and experience through Scouting.

After a behind-the-scenes tour of the state capitol and lunch at a state agency’s cafeteria, participants observe the Minnesota House of Representatives in action. They meet with representatives and the Speaker of the House. From the House floor, a representative introduces the group that is seated in the House gallery. Several youth members help open the House session by leading the Pledge of Allegiance. The youth delegates may also meet with state senators, perhaps on the floor of the Senate.

A simple one-page report is presented to each dignitary in a padded presentation folder. The report includes:

  • Statistics—membership totals, merit badges earned, achievement awards earned (from Bobcat through Eagle Scout rank), pounds of food collected in Scouting for Food drives
  • Selected Highlights—records set, youth hours of community service reported, merit badge fairs and workshops held
  • Financial Support—dollar contributions through the councils’ Friends of Scouting campaigns

North Dakota

Each February during Scouting Anniversary Week, the Northern Lights Council (www.nlcbsa.org) makes a report on the status of Scouting to the governor of North Dakota. The event is sponsored by the Bismarck Rotary Club.

An important aspect of the report is the participation of six youth members from North Dakota—typically two Cub Scouts, two Boy Scouts, and two Venturers or Explorers. These youth have different roles during the report, such as giving the invocation, leading the Pledge of Allegiance, introducing the governor, etc.

Anyone wishing to nominate a youth member to participate in the report is asked to submit the nomination, by late December each year, to the Northern Lights Council at Fargo. Nominations include the name of the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Venturer, or Explorer; the youth’s age, rank, address, phone number, unit type and number, and chartered organization; the parent’s name; the unit leader’s name, address, and phone number; a brief history of the nominee (special honors, Scout spirit, non-Scouting activities); and the nominator’s name and address.

Youth members who are chosen to participate in the Report to the Governor of North Dakota are expected to be in Bismarck with their parents and unit leaders from 10 a.m. until mid afternoon on the day of the report. Youth delegates are also expected to be in full uniform.

Texas

For one day in February, downtown Austin becomes a sea of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts from all over Texas, marching down a tree-lined avenue that cuts through the middle of the city and leads to the state capitol. From there, youth delegates from each council in the state go to the floor of the House of Representatives and report to members of the state government about Scouting activities from the past year, and plans for the future.

Hosted by the Capitol Area Council (www.bsacac.org), the Scouting parade and Report to the State of Texas happens during Scouting Anniversary Week each year. All BSA local councils in the state are invited and encouraged to participate. In 2009, for example, 13 councils sent delegates to the event. An estimated 4,000 individuals participated; 400 people attended the opening breakfast; 150 units submitted parade entries; and 2,660 patches were sold to those units.

Here is a typical plan and schedule for the event.

WHO: The method of council participation is the formation of a delegation. Because of space and time limitations, each delegation may number no more than 30. A council’s official report delegation must be only six youths, including the council’s youth representative who will make the official report. These six youths only will be allowed on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives.

COST: Each delegate pays $5 to cover registration and the cost of an attractive Report to the State patch. The cost of the opening breakfast is $15. Each council delegation's attendance at the breakfast is strongly encouraged. Those not planning to attend the breakfast should have a representative pick up the packet with instructions before the breakfast.

SCHEDULE: 

7:30 a.m.

The Report to the State breakfast and program includes an address to attending delegates and final instructions for the morning’s activities.

9:30 a.m.

Delegates assemble in preparation for the Scout parade. Council delegations will head the parade and be joined by Scouting units within the host council. Total participation is about 5,000 youths and leaders.

10:30 a.m.

Official delegates assemble at the designated report location for photographs to be taken with state officials. Delegates must have a photo pass to enter.

11:30 a.m.

Report ceremonies begin. At this time, each council’s youth representative reports on the council’s progress during the past year.

OTHER ATTENDANCE: Those attending from a participating council, other than the official delegation, are welcome to participate in the parade. The breakfast and photographs are limited to official council delegations only. Reservations for those other than the official delegation need to be attached to the council delegation reservation form and identified as non-delegates. Reservations must be sent by the council office. Because of the limited time, only council delegates with passes are permitted at the photo session.

YOUR REPRESENTATIVE: Your council youth representative, selected from your delegation, should be prepared for two events—answering the roll call at the report breakfast, and reporting at the report ceremonies. Your council report must be concise (30 seconds) but informative. Please select one or two of the most important happenings in your council during the past year and concentrate on them rather than trying to cover all of your successes. Human happenings, because of Scouting’s influence, are just as important as large, glowing figures. Emphasize the importance of Scouting and its effect on youth in your council rather than identifying only record-breaking figures.

Virginia

The Report to the Commonwealth of Virginia is organized annually, in February, to allow Scouting youth and adult representatives from the nine BSA local councils serving Virginia to update the elected leadership of the commonwealth on the successes of the Boy Scouts of America. Some 15 Scouting delegates representing Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Venturing, and Learning for Life typically participate in the report.

The schedule for the day:

9–9:30 a.m.

Participants gather in Richmond. Delegates arrange to have breakfast prior to arrival. A bag lunch is provided to each participant to carry during the morning visit.

9:30 a.m.

Delegates enter the capitol building.

10 a.m.

Delegates tour the capitol.

11–11:30 a.m.

Lunch. (Bag lunches are provided to all participants.)

Noon–1 p.m.

In the House of Delegates chamber, the BSA delegation is introduced to the Virginia House of Delegates by a member of the Heart of Virginia Council (www.scoutingvirginia.org) executive board

1:15 p.m.

The lieutenant governor and the house speaker meet with the BSA delegates for photos and questions.

2:45 p.m.

The governor meets with the delegates for photos.

3:15 p.m.

The BSA delegation is dismissed.