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NATIONAL ANNUAL MEETING and how they affect you. by bryan wendell  photogr a phs by ro ger morg a n


the former defense secretary and CIA director, took over as president of the Boy Scouts of America. His speech at the closing dinner, including some “blunt talk” about Scouting, sent attendees into a frenzy of excitement about where the organization is headed. The practical: Attendees got a


BrightFuture C


A


hange came in two flavors at May’s BSA National Annual Meeting: aspirational and practical.


The aspirational: Robert M. Gates, Here are three days’ worth of meet-


ings, announcements and excitement summarized into three things you need to know:


M. Gates returned for an encore and a second wave to the crowd. That kind of adulation is rare at BSA National Annual Meetings. Gates spent 27 minutes outlining


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preview of the big changes coming to Cub Scouting in 2015 and the newly released requirements for the new Venturing awards, available now.


his vision for enhancing transparency, marketing, retention, recruitment and program innovation at all levels of Scouting. He expressed his support for last


year’s thoughtful discussion about the membership policy, which resulted in a vote to remove the restriction that excluded youth based solely on sexual orientation. He said the discussion leſt the movement “divided, distracted and defensive.” Gates said he strongly supports the


final, democratically decided outcome and will oppose any effort to reopen debate on the issue during his two years as president. The meeting wasn’t really a


welcome for Gates; it was a welcome back. He’s a Distinguished Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member of the


28 SCOUTING ¿  


Order of the Arrow, and he served as president of the National Eagle Scout Association and as a BSA board member until 2006, when he leſt to become secretary of defense under Presidents Bush and Obama. Gates said he has already noticed


how much has changed — for the better — in the eight years since, especially in the role volunteers play in decision-making. “I believe the volunteer leadership


has assumed its proper role as the guiding hand of this movement,” he said. “There is still room for improve- ment, but as someone who has not been involved for the past eight years, the difference between then and now is like night and day.” That renewed passion for Scouting explains why Gates wants more


Change Agent THE APPLAUSE WAS SO HEARTY


that it didn’t stop until Robert Three big changes announced at the BSA’S 2014


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