Who We Are
With more than 1 million adult volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America® helps its 2.7 million youth members to be Prepared. For Life.™ The value of that preparation lives in the heart of every person involved in Scouting who has ever overcome one of life’s challenges, and it helps inspire a lifetime of character and service.
Who We Serve
- 1,583,166 boys ages 6 to 10 in Cub Scouting
- 909,576 boys ages 11 to 17 in Boy Scouting and Varsity Scouting
- 231,127 young men and women ages 14 to 20 in Venturing and Sea Scouts
- 511,359 boys and girls in elementary through high school in Learning for Life character-education programs
- 112,783 young men and women ages 14 to 20 in Exploring career-based programs
What We Do
The BSA prepares young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The following provides an overview of Scouting’s impact in 2011.
Prepared. For Service.
The BSA prepares young people for service by providing opportunities for them to help their communities through service to others. Collectively, Scouts across America give more than 25 million hours of volunteer time annually, at a value of more than a half-billion dollars (based on national volunteer hour value of $21.36).
Scouting also provides service to military families. With the support of 7,900 volunteers, we serve 19,750 youth annually in military bases around the world. Service projects include clothing drives for children in Afghanistan, painting military facilities, basewide cleanups, and book drives for military libraries.
In July, the Boy Scouts of America and the National Park Service organized SummitCorps, a four-week national service project at the New River Gorge National River. Nearly 1,700 Boy Scouts between the ages of 14 and 21 built 16 miles of world-class hike and bike trails, rehabilitated 12 miles of ATV trails, and removed four acres of invasive plants, making it one of the largest youth service projects performed in National Park Service history.
Prepared. For Leadership.
The BSA prepares young people for leadership by giving them the skills to take responsibility and teach by example. For example, the Eagle Scout is the highest attainable rank in Boy Scouting, and Scouts must demonstrate proficiency in leadership, service, and outdoor skills at multiple levels before achieving the Eagle rank.
There were 51,473 Scouts who earned the rank of Eagle in 2011. In addition to the 21 life skills merit badges required, each Scout must complete an extensive service project that he plans, organizes, leads, and manages before his 18th birthday. The average number of hours spent on Eagle Scout projects is 130, which means that 2011 Eagle Scout service projects represented almost 6.7 million hours of community service.
Prepared. For Learning.
The BSA prepares young people for learning by mentoring youth to set goals and work to reach them one step at a time. The Boy Scouts of America has built partnerships with ExxonMobil, NASA, and other key organizations to develop curriculum in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and to engage young people in considering a career in these fields.
As part of the STEM initiative, the Boy Scouts of America launched a Robotics merit badge in 2011 to help Scouts develop critical skills that are relevant and needed in today’s competitive world. The new badge is one of 31 life skills merit badges related to STEM that Scouts can earn.
For the past 40 years, the Boy Scouts of America has conducted student career interest surveys and worked with businesses and organizations to offer firsthand job experiences to enhance a student’s financial success, career readiness, and college studies.
Promoting physical health and well-being has always been at the foundation of Scouting. In 2011, the Boy Scouts of America introduced a formal initiative, called SCOUTStrong™, which seeks to ensure that Scouts and all young people are healthy in mind, body, and spirit. As part of this initiative, the Boy Scouts of America aligned with first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity. The Boy Scouts of America also teamed with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) to engage, educate, and empower youth to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition. In addition, the Boy Scouts of America launched a special life skills patch awarded to Scouts who earn the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA).
In June 2011, the Boy Scouts of America partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) to help teach Internet safety to Scouts and their families and to enable them to make responsible decisions both online and in real life.
Prepared. For Adventure.
The BSA prepares young people for adventure by encouraging them to abandon a sedentary lifestyle, live healthier, and enjoy the great outdoors. More than 1 million Scouts attended our high-adventure camps in New Mexico, Minnesota, and Florida, as well as hundreds of our day and summer camps. In all, Scouts camped more than 5 million nights during 2011.
Construction began on our fourth high-adventure base, the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve. Located in the New River Gorge region of West Virginia, the Summit sits on 10,600 acres of forested mountains that will provide incredible facilities and intense outdoor programs. The Summit is scheduled to open in 2013 and will permanently host the iconic national Scout jamboree as well as the 2019 World Scout Jamboree.
Scouting goes beyond teaching outdoor skills. The program instills respect for the environment and ethical use of natural resources, including 11 life skills badges related to conservation.
The Next Century of Service, Leadership, Learning, and Adventure
Our country faces a number of challenges in the future, and the Boy Scouts of America is helping prepare our nation’s youth to face and overcome those challenges. While most people avoid obstacles, the Boy Scouts of America teaches Scouts and Venturers to face them head-on.
As we look to a new century of Scouting achievements and instilling the values of honor and integrity in the youth in our program, in turn, our nation will look to the youth involved in Scouting to lead us all forward into a bright future. The Boy Scouts of America will continue to ready those youth to become leaders of strength and character—leaders who are Prepared. For Life.™