The Boy Scouts of America and the National Park Service have been connecting families to the outdoors for generations. It’s kind of their thing.

In recognition of that mutually beneficial friendship, the BSA’s Report to the Nation delegates presented the Hornaday Gold Certificate to the National Park Service on Sunday night at the Department of the Interior in Washington.

The certificate was created to recognize groups that have made significant contributions to conservation and youth education on a national or international level.

Fittingly, Hornaday Silver Medal recipient Trevor Burke, an Eagle Scout delegate from Texas, presented the certificate to Dan Smith, an Eagle Scout who serves as acting director of the park service.

Trevor outlined the many ways the BSA and the park service work together: Eagle Scout service projects, unit-level service projects and the park service’s Scout Ranger Program, to name a few.

“Equally important are the rich outdoor adventures experienced by Scouts every year, with our National Parks as the backdrop,” Trevor said.

Dan Smith, acting director of the National Park Service (center), listens to Vionn Welcome, a delegate from Florida.

Once an Eagle Scout …

Prior to the presentation of the Hornaday Gold Certificate, Smith addressed the Report to the Nation delegates.

Smith said his days as a youth in Scouting happened decades ago, but the memories haven’t faded.

“I turned 73 this June, and I can still remember my Scouting experiences like they were yesterday,” he said. “Scouting has been an unbelievably important part of my life.”

Smith told the group he had read a Bryan on Scouting blog post written by my colleague Michael Freeman. In the post, Michael posed the question, “When do you remove ‘Eagle Scout’ from your resume?”

“It’s still on my resume, and I’m 73 years old,” Smith said. “The last two things on my resume say that I served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and that I’m an Eagle Scout.”

Al Lambert, the BSA’s “Director of Fun,” thanks the park service for their support of Scouting.

A message from the ‘Director of Fun’

Next up was Al Lambert, the Assistant Chief Scout Executive of Outdoor Adventures — or, to use the title he prefers, the BSA’s “Director of Fun.”

Lambert started by thanking the National Park Service on behalf of the BSA.

“Boy, isn’t it great to be a steward of the outdoors?” he said. “To be able to introduce kids and people in your community to the power of what we can do in parks, in Scout camps and in outdoor lands all across America.”

Now that the BSA welcomes young men and young women at all levels, Lambert said he sees huge potential to introduce even more people to the greatness of the outdoors.

“We’re going to take families into the outdoors,” he said. “We’re going to show them the fun and adventure that they can have in the outdoors.”

The delegates enjoy a nighttime tour of the monuments with Park Ranger Mike Balis.

Follow the Report to the Nation

Find more coverage here, and follow me on Twitter (@bryanonscouting) and Instagram (@bryanonscouting).

Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland. See more photos here

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