1997 Annual Report
In 1997, close to 4.6 million youth actively participated in the
values-driven programs of the Boy Scouts of America. To
our youth members, Scouting is learning new skills, being a team member,
and having fun in the out-of-doors. But Scouting is more
than fun and games. It provides an environment that fosters in youth the
initiative to grow and learn while instilling strong values and morals
- traits that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
It is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to serve others by helping
to instill values in young people and in other ways to prepare them to make
ethical choices during their lifetime in achieving their full potential.
The values we strive to instill are based on those found in the Scout Oath
Scouting helps develop strong values that stay with youth throughout their
lives. This is particularly true for boys who stay in Scouting for five or
A recent study conducted by Louis Harris & Associates indicates that
Scouts with five years of tenure are more likely than non-Scouts to
- Assume a leadership role in clubs or school organizations
- Put others' needs before their own
- Make the most honest, not the easiest, decisions
This past year our youth membership increased 4 percent to 4,573,621, with
membership growth in Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Exploring, and Learning for
Life. This growth follows our programs' strong growth in 1996.
Cub Scouting membership - Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts - grew
to more than 2.1 million, an increase of 2.7 percent and our third consecutive
year of growth.
- The percentage of trained Cub Scout adult leaders increased to 40 percent, a gain of 9 percent over 1996.
- Cub Scout day, resident, and family camping continued to grow in popularity, with more than 38 percent of members - almost 570,000 boys - participating in one of these outdoor experiences.
Membership grew 1.6 percent over 1996. Boy Scouting now serves more than 1
million 11- to 17-year-olds.
- The 14th National Scout Jamboree was held at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, in August 1997. Praised as one of the most successful jamborees ever, the nine-day event was marked by a number
of memorable moments, including an address from President William Jefferson Clinton.
- Eagle Scout, the highest rank a Scout or Explorer can achieve, was earned by 40,296 young men - an increase of 2,581 over 1996.
- The number of Scouts who went on a long-term camping expedition reached its highest level ever in 1997, with 57.7 percent of all Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts participating.
Exploring enjoyed a seventh consecutive year of growth, ending 1997 with a
7.8 percent increase. Young men and women ages 14 to 21 in Exploring numbered
455,268 in 1997.
- Preparations are under way for a summer 1998 gathering of more than 7,000 Explorers and leaders at the University of Maryland.
- More than 400 Explorers served as staff
members for the 1997 National Scout Jamboree.
Learning for Life
Participation in this classroom-based character-education program
grew 7.9 percent to 949,850 in 1997.
- Participation increased throughout programs
for elementary school, special needs, junior high/middle school,
and high school students.
- More than 7,000 schools nationwide used
Learning for Life to help students develop positive skills, attitudes, and
The prestigious Silver Buffalo Award is given to distinguished citizens for
exemplary national service to youth. Thomas D. Allen, William J. Clinton, John
M. Coughlin, Siegfred S. Kagawa, Francis H. Olmstead Jr., Robert H. Reynolds,
Samuel K. Skinner, Evelyn T. Smith, and Marvin L. Smith earned Scouting's highest
commendation in 1997.
The National Court of Honor awarded Honor Medals with Crossed Palms to five Scouts
and Scouters "who demonstrated heroism and extraordinary skill or resourcefulness
in saving or attempting to save life at extreme risk to themselves." Other awards
for lifesaving and meritorious action were granted to 258 Scouts or Scouters.
Young American Awards recognize excellence in the achievements of young people ages
15 to 25. The 1997 recipients were Rob Ferguson, Christopher Fullerton, Yukitoshi
Murasaki, Matthew Spence, and Sabrina Thompson.
Scouting Into The Next Millennium
Over the past six years, our success in delivering the Scouting program has
been the direct result of our unwavering focus on the five critical issues
of our National Strategic Plan: Positive Public Relations, Urban Emphasis,
Traditional Unit Growth, Endowments, and Unit-Serving Executives.
As we mark the accomplishments of the past year, we also look ahead to the
new millennium. To prepare for the challenges and opportunities that lie
ahead, the Boy Scouts of America will adopt a new National Strategic Plan
in 1998. At the National Leadership Training Conference, scheduled for August,
the entire family of Scouting professionals will gather to begin implementing
this plan which will refocus our efforts and move the organization forward so
we can deliver the promise of Scouting into the next century.
Scouting is an integral part of America. And as our young people face the
growing challenges of an ever-changing, ever more complicated world, Scouting's
role in shaping the young men and women of tomorrow is more vital than ever.
Our movement has made it a priority to touch the lives of even more youth
throughout our diverse nation, offering them the same opportunities America's
youth have enjoyed for the past 88 years.