The Grand Canyon Council BSA, an independent non-profit organization chartered by the Boy Scouts of America in Arizona, has a long and rich history of providing young people with opportunities to develop leadership skills, explore the outdoors, learn new skills, and serve their communities.
A Report to the State is an opportunity to communicate to state officials the service and the benefits that Scouting provides to Arizona. Presented annually to the state legislature or the governor, the report is an ideal time to tell the Scouting story – to reintroduce to elected officials all that Scouting has to offer.
On March 14, 2023, Scouts from the Grand Canyon Council BSA visited the Arizona State Capitol to deliver the Report to the State. The contingent was made up of Jack McLellan, Wipala Wiki Lodge Chief; Joshua Balch, Crew 2616; Melanie Lin, Troop 3280; Christopher Boadu Troop 513; Soren Lindquist, Troop 818; Audra Lindquist, Pack 116; Sergio Joel Rivera-Orbegoso, Troop 172; Wiltz Bethancourt V, Troop 194; Morgan Willis, Troop 3030; and Samuel MacDonald, Troop 818. Each Scout reported specific examples of how scouting has helped them develop important life skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and leadership.
The day began with a visit to the Arizona Capitol Museum, where a tour guide led the Scouts and their families through several exhibits featuring the history of the historic capitol and the state of Arizona.
The first official stop of the day was with the governor’s office, where our Scouts had the opportunity to meet with Director of Operations Ben Henderson and Senior Counsel Sean Berens, both Arizona Scouting alumni. In addition to being able to present our annual report, the Scouts had the opportunity to learn about the staffers’ career paths and what role Scouting played in it. The Scouts were also brought to see a Wipala Wiki Order of the Arrow Lodge patch set that hangs in the executive tower, after being presented to a former governor.
Soon after, the group headed downstairs to meet with Director of Special Projects & Innovation Tonia Tunnell from the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State. Director Tunnell is a committee member and merit badge counselor with Phoenix’s Troop 329, and particularly enjoyed hearing about the contingent member’s favorite Scouting memories.
After a quick lunch, the group split in two to help open the day’s session in both the House and the Senate. The sergeants-at-arms for both chambers were very helpful in coordinating the council’s visit, allowing both groups to present the colors (including a council flag), lead the pledge of allegiance, and distribute council neckerchiefs to every member. Afterwards, the contingents moved to the gallery to watch the legislative process in action. In the upper chamber, President of the Senate and former Scoutmaster Warren Petersen spent some time meeting the Scouts, and Senator Ken Bennett asked all current and former Scouts in attendance to join him in the Scout Law.
Finally, the contingent moved to the State Courts Building, where the Scouts presented the final report of the day to Justice Kathryn H. King. In addition to receiving the report, Justice King gave a presentation on the Arizona Court System, and explained the important role that the State Supreme Court plays in the Judicial Branch. She especially appreciated the opportunity to meet with some of the Scouts from GCC’s girl troops and remarked that she hopes that these types of visits will help inspire the next generation of legal professionals.
Overall, the visit by the Grand Canyon Council BSA to the state capital for the annual Report to the State was a remarkable success. It provided an opportunity for Scouts to showcase their accomplishments and highlight the positive impact that scouting has on communities in Arizona.
By sharing their stories and experiences, Scouts demonstrated how the Grand Canyon Council BSA is helping to create responsible and engaged citizens committed to making a positive difference in the world.
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