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Bob’s Blog: My Last Blog

 

You know, if someone had told me five years ago that I would have been authoring a blog for this long, I would have been extremely skeptical. Blogging was a whole new thing to me at the time, and I wasn’t sure how it would fly.

Now that I’ve been hiking around the blogosphere all these years, I am so grateful that I stuck with the idea. I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing thoughts, updates, and stories with you, and have also enjoyed the many stories and comments you have sent along in return. I will truly miss this dialogue with all of you as I move on to retirement.

We have accomplished a great deal together, and I really don’t know where to begin to thank all of you for your commitment to our new BSA. We’ve shared some pretty hair-raising moments in the early part of this process, but I am proud to see how our councils across the country have pulled together to deliver the quality Scouting experience that’s so important to the sustainability of our movement.

Our 100th Anniversary Celebration helped reintroduce Scouting to America, and we have been hitting the ground running ever since. Rebuilding our organization has been a daunting task, but I am grateful to our leadership team and others who helped walk us through those challenging times. With this foundation now in place, we’ve been able to deliver outstanding results with renewed purpose and flexibility as we move forward.

Our new BSA identity—Prepared. For Life.™—and the marketing push behind it have helped us redefine Scouting to America. With our councils’ dedication to Journey to Excellence, we are seeing dramatic improvements in recruitment and retention. Our commitment and the wonderful support from many of our stakeholders for the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve will pave the way for our next century of Scouts and leaders to experience and enjoy more outdoor adventures than ever before. As the new home for our national Scout jamboree and the 2019 World Scout Jamboree, the Summit delivers a bold statement to our nation and the world about the importance of Scouting to young people everywhere.

We have made tremendous strides in reaching out to underserved neighborhoods through the Hispanic Initiative and other multicultural programs. We have stepped out aggressively to tackle the issues of health for our young people through SCOUTStrong™. Our Youth Protection programs and training are stronger than ever. Through our STEM outreach, we’re making Scouting high-tech and cool as we help educate young people in vital areas of science and math. I’m also proud of the leadership role that the BSA played on the global stage in the launch of the Messengers of Peace program, which benefits communities around the world.

In addition, the accomplishments of our movement have received valuable third-party endorsement through Merit Beyond the Badge, a Baylor University study funded by the John Templeton Foundation that measured the lifelong effects of being in the Scouting program and, more specifically, of attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. This is an achievement we can all point to with pride.

As I’ve traveled around the country to visit councils, attend campfires, speak to Rotary clubs, and make other appearances on behalf of our organization, it has been so inspiring to see the progress we’ve made, and all the young faces who eagerly embrace what Scouting has to offer. These are moments I will always remember and treasure.

We have so much to be grateful for, and it is extremely difficult to step aside and know that all we have accomplished together will soon pass me by. At the same time, I know that I will be witnessing many new and significant milestones for our movement in the coming years, and am extremely proud to have had a lifetime role in serving America’s youth.

God bless all of you, my friends, for what you do for Scouting every day. I wish you and our new leadership all the best as you move forward to keep the torch lit and the trail open for many new and exciting Scouting adventures.

Yours in Scouting,

Bob

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