About the BSA

2012 Report to the Nation

Who We Are  

The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training to its more than 2.6 million youth members. With more than 1 million adult volunteers in nearly 300 local councils throughout the United States and its territories, Scouting is an ongoing adventure that teaches a powerful set of real-life skills and develops fundamental qualities that help young people become “Prepared. For Life.®”


Who We Serve  

1,528,673 boys ages 6 to 10 in Cub Scouting

910,668 boys ages 11 to 17 in Boy Scouting and Varsity Scouting

219,453 young men and women ages 14 to 20 in Venturing and Sea Scouts

475,280 boys and girls in elementary through high school in Learning for Life character education programs

116,589 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 the impact of Scouting in 2012.

Prepared. For Learning.  

The BSA prepares young people for learning by emphasizing the importance of education and mentoring youth as they prepare for careers. The Boy Scouts of America has built relationships 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 careers in these fields.

In June 2012, the BSA joined with NetSmartz, part of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and a training expert for many law enforcement agencies, to launch the Cyber Chip. The program addresses topics such as cyberbullying, cellphone use, texting, blogging, gaming, and identity theft to help families and volunteers keep youth safe while online. More than 15,000 Scouts earned the Cyber Chip during the first six months of the program.

Promoting physical health and well-being has always been at the foundation of Scouting. Through the SCOUTStrong initiative, which seeks to ensure Scouts and all young people are healthy in mind, body, and spirit, the Boy Scouts of America has formed alliances with first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition to engage, educate, and empower youth to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Prepared. For Adventure.   

The BSA prepares young people for adventure by encouraging them to adopt an active lifestyle, make healthy choices, and enjoy the great outdoors. More than
1.1 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 a total of 5,721,790 nights during 2012.

Construction of our fourth national high-adventure base, the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, is nearing completion, and both volunteers and Scouts had an opportunity to preview some of the incredible facilities and intense outdoor programs that will be available when the Summit opens in July 2013. Located in the New River Gorge region of West Virginia, the Summit sits on 10,600 acres of forested mountains and is scheduled to open in 2013 when it hosts the iconic national Scout jamboree.

The Boy Scouts of America launched two new merit badges in 2012 to help Scouts develop outdoor skills. The Kayaking merit badge prepares Scouts both mentally and physically for the challenge of kayaking, and the Search and Rescue merit badge teaches lifesaving skills Scouts need to respond quickly in emergencies.

Scouting goes beyond teaching outdoor skills. The program instills respect for the environment and ethical use of natural resources through training and awards, including 11 life skills badges related to conservation.

Prepared. For Service.  

The BSA prepares young people for service by providing opportunities for them to help their communities through service to others. During 2012, Scouts across America recorded 13,449,017 hours of service to their communities at a value of more than $293 million (based on a national volunteer-hour value of $21.79).

Each year, Scouts collect canned goods for local food banks through the Scouting for Food program. Councils collected more than 7.9 million pounds of food for needy families in 2012.

Scouting also provides service to military families. With the support of more than 7,900 volunteers, we serve more than 19,750 youth annually on 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 2012, the Boy Scouts of America joined Messengers of Peace, a global initiative designed to inspire millions of young men and women in more than 220 countries and territories to work toward peace by recognizing and sharing their stories of service to their communities.

Prepared. For Leadership.  

The BSA prepares young people for leadership by giving them the skills to take responsibility and teach by example. For example, 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.

2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the Eagle Scout Award, and during this centennial year, 57,976 Scouts earned the rank of Eagle Scout—a record for the highest number of Eagle Scout Awards earned for any given year. In addition to the 21 life skills merit badges required to earn the Eagle Scout rank, each Scout must complete an extensive leadership service project that he plans, organizes, leads, and manages before his 18th birthday. In 2012, Eagle Scout projects provided approximately $231 million in service to communities across the nation.

Continuing the Adventure in Scouting  

For over a century, the Boy Scouts of America has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun and adventure. Scouting provides opportunities for families and communities to join together to create the next generation of conscientious, responsible, and productive citizens—ensuring our youth are Prepared. For Life.®