Dallin Stevens, 15, from Team 888 sponsored by Northridge LDS 14th Ward, recently traveled to Washington, D.C. as one of ten Scouts selected to deliver the Boy Scouts of America’s Report to the Nation. Each year, as part of the BSA’s congressional charter, we present a report to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. This report covers who the BSA is as an organization, the programs and initiatives it supports and its major accomplishments and contributions over the past year.
Dallin was nominated for the honor by Lee Hansen and chosen for his dedication to and involvement in Scouting. His accomplishments include the Eagle Scout Award, Supernova Bronze award, Hornaday Badge, Arrow of Light, Varsity Letter, World Conservation Award, Camping and Riding National Outdoor Award, 46 merit badges, religious emblem and one Eagle palm.
Dallin said one of his favorite parts about participating in the Report to the Nation was seeing Scouts from across the nation and realizing how much they all had in common. Scouting gave them a similar language and a set of common experiences that brought them together. He said he was able to learn from the examples of the best Scouts in America; now he hopes to take those experiences back to his crew, team, and Council in California to help new Scouts grow like he did.
Some of the highlights of Dallin’s trip:
He became close friends with Alex Call, the national OA Chief and a fellow delegate. Thanks to Alex’s encouragement and help, Dallin will attend the National Order of the Arrow Conference this summer.
Before giving their report, the delegates went to the naval academy and got a tour from five Eagle Scouts that were students or teachers. They also attended a church service at the academy’s chapel.
Dallin’s interest in science and conservation made the delegates’ trip to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History especially exciting for him. He said they even got to go behind the scenes and see where curators store specimens.
Some of the most meaningful experiences happened during the Scouts’ visit to the Pentagon. Before the trip these youth were told that because security was tight they would have to go through five security checks and have dogs check the bus before they could proceed to the building itself. When
Pentagon staff found out they were Boy Scouts, however, the delegates were allowed to bypass security—a testament to the reputation for trustworthiness and character that Scouting has achieved. The delegates gave their report to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were able to meet with other officials, all proud supporters of Scouting.
Since the report, Dallin has continued to explore new avenues in Scouting and service, including inspiring other Scouts to have the kinds of growth experiences he has. Here he encourages Scouts to work toward a citizenship award:
Our Country is made great because of the character of its citizens. In this time more than ever, we need good citizens to preserve the greatness of this country. Through Scouting, young men and women develop the values necessary to become good citizens and thus help maintain the greatness of our country. In addition, we can learn from the examples of good citizens and develop their attributes in ourselves. I recall an example I have looked to, one we can all look to, and one who has a BSA award named after him in hopes that scouts will learn from his example and become better citizens themselves.
Not long ago in the little town of Indiana, Pennsylvania lived a young man with a passion for aviation and the performing arts, a young man who was taught early in his youth through his faith-centered home and wonderful Scouting experiences the value of hard work and good citizenship. This man, James Stewart, with a failure to find work as a young college architectural graduate, found himself in a dilemma. But with his humble and determined attitude he found a job in show business as a stage hand. He worked hard, and in time had the opportunity to perform with his accordion, and later as an actor. Then the opportunity came for him to become a Broadway actor where he eventually took lead roles. His acting career was just beginning when, in the early 1940s, the Nazis began their tyrannic invasion of several European countries. Jimmy realized that the US may very well enter the war. As a licensed airplane pilot, he paid for additional flying hours so that he would have enough to be a military pilot.
When the US did enter the war, Jimmy quickly enlisted in the army air corps. Although originally rejected because he was underweight, his great determination to serve his country enabled him to convince the draft board to accept him. He remained with the air force reserve even after the war, and was eventually promoted to Brigadier General. As a devoted father and husband, Stewart taught his children that no one owes you a living and to love God, Country, and family; the same values that his parents and scouting taught him as a youth.
After Jimmy retired from the air force, he continued to build his community. He and his wife became very active in wildlife conservation, and he helped raise money for health centers. Throughout his life, he stood with the BSA in their mission to improve the young men of this country. He said “I happen to believe that the man who was a Scout is a better man for it, and the world is a better world because of this organization called the Boy Scouts” James Stewart sets a wonderful example for others through his life as a Scout, Air force pilot, father, actor, and a good citizen.
That is the reason that the James M. Stewart Museum foundation in cooperation with the James M. Stewart Foundation created the James M. Stewart Good Citizenship award. Scouts working on this award study the life of James Stewart, write an essay on the importance of citizenship, and perform a good citizenship project. By completing these requirements, Scouts come to understand the attributes of James Stewart and that of a good citizen, and learn to appreciate and love their communities and the values that make this country great.
As a Scout who has worked on this award, I can tell you that this experience is rewarding. For my project, I spent over 300 hours as a volunteer at the SCERA Center For the Arts in Orem, Utah. I sold tickets and concessions, and performed janitorial work. I also provided training to other volunteers who were in the Goodwill job training program. This work helped improve both the SCERA and the community it provides art and culture to. Through my volunteer efforts, my research, and my essay, I learned the importance of community service and the value of hard work. Because of these experiences patriotism means something to me. I would recommend every Scout work on this award and to strive to become better citizens. Our Nation needs good citizens, and this is one of the ways that Scouting helps to create good citizens and preserve the greatness of this Country.
Author: Dallin Stevens | BSA National Youth Representative 2015