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.

Our Mission.

Tiger Cubs 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 and Law.

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 more years.

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

Cub Scouting 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.

Boy Scouting

Boy Scouting 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

Exploring 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 values.

Awards

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.

Honor Medal 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.