The Boy Scouts of America held their National Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, May 24-26, 2017, celebrating 107 years of service to the nation’s youth through Scouting’s values and programs. Here are some of the highlights of this week’s events as compiled by Nettie Francis and Roma Bishop in their “Report of the BSA National Annual Meeting.”
Duty to God Breakfast
The Thursday morning Duty to God Breakfast celebrated the religious aspects of Scouting with the theme of the sixth point of the Scout Law, “A Scout is Kind.” Duty to God has been a tenet of Scouting since the very beginning of our organization in 1910.
At the breakfast, leaders highlighted the principle of kindness in many ways, including celebrating and recognizing individuals who have earned their
religious emblem awards, youth and adults alike. Paul L. Moffat, Chairman of the Religious Relationships Committee, also chaired the breakfast meeting. During his opening remarks, he shared a photo of his Eagle Scout son, Andrew, who he reported is currently serving a mission for his church in India. His father said that Andrew met fellow Scouts at the Indian Embassy and found a connection to home.
It was noted during the breakfast that 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Forty percent of BSA religious chartered partners trace their foundation’s roots to the Reformation.
National Annual Business Meeting
BSA National President Randall Stephenson presided while nominating reports, resolutions, and treasurer reports were presented. Updates on key initiatives were shared and useful information was shared to equip Scouters to provide leadership to Scouting.
Between general meetings and award presentations, elective sessions were offered as panel discussions with diverse perspectives from subject matter experts. The overall goal for participants was to gain knowledge, skills, strategies, and solutions to help them back home.
During both days of the conference, attendees went to Spark Sessions on various Scouting subjects and attended a variety of general meetings.
A Conversation with the National Key 3
This session was limited to council, area, and region Key 3s who joined in an interactive discussion with the national Key 3: National President Randall Stephenson, National Commissioner, Charles W. Dahlquist and Chief Scout Executive, Michael Surbaugh.
Thursday evening a reception was held for LDS Scouters and friends. A notable outcome of that reception was when Elder Jeffery R. Holland, said regarding the recent Church decision to drop Varsity Scouting and Venturing, “Don’t read more into this change than there is. The programs were just not being used effectively, but don’t panic.” Elder Holland noted that the Church is still working on a plan for the older boys and that there is now a large world to think about. “Be patient,” he counseled. “We don’t want anyone to be anxious or frustrated.”
Always a highlight of the National Annual Meeting, the Americanism Breakfast showcased accomplishments of some of our most outstanding Eagle Scouts from 2016. Michael S. Malone was emcee, and Dr. Alan Stern and Mr. Glen Fountain were keynote speakers, all of whom are Eagle Scouts. Stern and Fountain have been involved in helping lead NASA’s New Horizons mission to explore the Pluto system and the Kuiper Belt, while Malone is one of the nations leading technical journalists and author of two popular Scouting books, Running Toward Danger and Four Percent.
Awards, Luncheons and Dinners
Four Regional luncheons were used to appropriately celebrate Silver Antelope awardees with their peers. Later that day, both Sliver Antelopes and Silver Beavers were hosted at a reception. The conference concluded with the National Silver Buffalo Recognition Dinner, where the adult volunteers who’ve earned the National Silver Buffalo Award were recognized for their outstanding service to youth.
Next year’s National Annual Meeting will be held in Dallas, Texas.