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Blue Elk Roundtable



The Boy Scouts of America responded to the needs of youth with a vision that was both global in its scope and local in its effectiveness. A National Council contingent travelled to the Kremlin to explore Scouting opportunities in the USSR, and then to the Vatican to present Pope John Paul II with the BSA's Distinguished Citizen of the World Commendation. The emerging Scout associations of Hungary and Czechoslovakia received grants from the BSA's World Friendship Fund. Across America, the new 10th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook enjoyed overwhelming endorsement from Scouts, the public, and the media. Among its messages were guidelines to help Scouts fight the five ''unacceptables'' of drug abuse, hunger, child abuse, illiteracy, and youth unemployment. It also helped Scouts realize the importance of caring for the environment and encouraged them to roll up their sleeves and go to work for the land. The initial demand for a million copies of the manual brought the total circulation of the Handbook since 1910 to 33,860,000. Each copy of the new manual contained the Scouting publication How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse and Drug Abuse: A Parent's Guide. Coupled with Drugs: A Deadly Game, it provided parents, teachers, and other adults with the most informative educational materials available. In its third year, the BSA's Scouting for Food National Good Turn again flooded the nation's food banks with canned goods. President George Bush honored the program for its 1989 success with a Presidential End Hunger Award. Training opportunities for Scout leaders were enhanced by the opening of the new Center for Professional Development in Westlake, Texas, to house BSA's Professional Development Division. Eagle Scout Richard H. Leet, executive vice-president of AMOCO Corporation, was elected president of the BSA, thus ensuring the continuation of superb national leadership. Youth membership rose by 1.4 percent, the 11th straight annual increase. On December 31, 1990, total membership was 5,445,899. Total members to date, 85,292,091.


Scouting continued to respond to pressing societal changes by seeking new ways to meet young people's needs. A primary goal-to contact all youth who would benefit from Scouting-was furthered by the BSA's Learning for Life subsidiary, which took a values-based curriculum into the classroom to reach children who would not otherwise be in a character-building youth program. Reaching out to a growing segment of the population, Hispanic Emphasis placed professional staff in local councils to support Scouting in Hispanic communities. Cub Scouting introduced two programs: Ethics in Action to promote ethical decision making, and the BSA family program to strengthen the family from within. Membership grew for the tenth consecutive year in Tiger Cubs, BSA; participation increased in Cub Scouting's day, family, and resident camping. Boy Scouting's outdoor programs also expanded. New outdoor skills instruction seminars increased Scout leaders' confidence in teaching skills to Scouts. A newly published Conservation Handbook promised to become an essential reference for Scout leaders and conservation project managers. The TRAIL Boss program (Teaching Resources And Individual Leadership) was developed by BSA and seven federal agencies to teach volunteers conservation skills. Four new merit badge subjects were introduced. More than a thousand BSA members attended the 17th World Jamboree in Korea. Scouts continued to combat the five unacceptables-drug abuse, child abuse, illiteracy, youth unemployment, and hunger. The national Good Turn, Scouting for Food, was the largest food collection effort in the United States in 1991. Exploring emphasized career preparation for young men and women through formation of community-sponsored posts; a new video, Moments in Common, introduced values-based post Advisor training. The DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund awarded a $2.3 million grant for BSA professional recruitment. Redbook magazine's October 1991 issue carried sixteen pages about Scouting; the special supplement titled ''The Adventure Begins!'' drew an enthusiastic response from parents. In a year that saw several eastern European countries determined to provide Scouting for their young people, BSA funded training for Scout leaders from the former Soviet Union, funded the writing of the Russian Scout handbook, sponsored the first Czechoslovakian and Hungarian youth leaders participating in the International Camp Staff program, and hosted a Czechoslovakian Scouting professional at BSA National Executive Institute training. On December 31, 1991, total BSA membership was 5,319,226. Total members to date, 87,158,867.


The Boy Scouts of America moved forward to meet the future with a commitment to make Scouting more widely available than ever. Analysis of future needs led to implementation of the BSA's new Strategic Plan to guide the Scouting movement through the 1990s and prepare it for the twenty-first century. The plan restructured the six BSA regions into four and addressed the need for local councils to prepare to serve the steadily increasing number of youths who could benefit from Scouting. A new Urban Emphasis encouraged Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Explorer posts to form in low-income and minority communities. Hispanic Emphasis, in its third year, increased the bilingual publication of Scouting literature to serve Spanish-speaking parents and leaders. A grant from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund launched a college internship program aimed at enlarging the pool of female and ethnic minority candidates for professional Scouting positions. School-based Learning for Life, designed to teach positive values and life skills in a classroom setting, completed its first full year of operation; nearly 700,000 youth participated. Committed to assisting the emerging Association of Siberian Scouts, the BSA sent an experienced Scouting professional to work in Siberia, and facilitated the first Scout exchange between BSA local councils and Scouts in Perm, Russia. A Cub Scout Academics program debuted. Boy Scout summer camping attracted 70.1 percent of Scout troops and 55.2 percent of all Scouts, the highest percentages on record. Exciting new outdoor and service adventures were introduced through the TRAIL Boss program for conservation education and natural resource stewardship. Emphasis on growth in traditional Exploring resulted in substantial increases in membership and posts. The national Good Turn, Scouting for Food, was once again the nation's largest food collection effort. The ability of Scouts and leaders to respond at a moment's notice was demonstrated in the wake of Hurricane Andrew, when Scouts brought to the devastated area food, clothing, and hands to help. John L. Clendenin, chairman and chief executive officer of BellSouth Corporation and a Silver Buffalo Award recipient, was elected national BSA president. Jere B. Ratcliffe, a Distinguished Eagle Scout, was chosen to succeed Ben H. Love as Chief Scout Executive, the BSA's top professional leader (assuming office in 1993). On December 31, 1992, total BSA membership was 5,339,660. Total members to date, 88,830,141.


On February 1, Jere B. Ratcliffe became the Boy Scouts of America's ninth Chief Scout Executive. The BSA implemented programs to advance its National Strategic Plan in four areas critical to growth and a quality Scouting program: traditional unit growth, Urban Emphasis, endowment emphasis, and positive public relations. To go where youth are and where Scouting is most needed, the BSA devised strategies to bring Scouting to the nation's urban areas. With the new Operation First Class initiative, efforts to reach urban youth received board-level attention from local councils. Professional staff members from councils throughout the nation participated in seminars on the needs of urban youth. A new Train-the-Trainer Conference manual was produced to train the people who train leaders in Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, Exploring, commissioner service, and district and council Scouting. Nearly 480,000 Boy Scouts, representing more than 55 percent of Scout membership and more than 70 percent of units, went camping in 1993. Cub Scout camping drew nearly 573,000 youth, including 5,000 new campers. Nearly 26,000 boys ages 12 to 18, from every state and sixty-four countries, attended the 1993 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. More than 25,000 youth participated in challenging outdoor activities at the BSA's high-adventure bases. The Council Exploring Growth Plan achieved its third consecutive year of membership growth, adding 13,810 to Exploring's 1992 membership. More schools adopted the BSA's popular Learning for Life program. In its second year of operation, Learning for Life brought positive values and essential life skills to nearly 738,000 students in classrooms nationwide. Educators and council professionals attended the first Learning for Life conference. Organizers of the Scouting movement in the countries of the former Soviet Union turned to the BSA for help in producing the first Russian Scout Handbook; 20,000 copies were distributed. The BSA established a new award, named the James E. West Fellowship Award in honor of the first Chief Scout Executive, to recognize major contributors to council endowment trust funds. On December 31, 1993, total BSA membership was 5,355,401. Total members to date, 90,525,242.

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