At a special Eagles on the Hill gathering in Washington, D.C., more than 100 people — most of them Eagle Scouts — gathered to celebrate Scouting.

Among those who assembled in the stately Committee on Ways and Means Hearing Room on Wednesday were Eagle Scout congressmen, Eagle Scout congressional staffers, Eagle Scout students and Eagle Scout business leaders.

The event was hosted by the National Eagle Scout Association and NESA-DC, the National Capital Area Council’s NESA chapter.

Eagles on the Hill serves as a vivid reminder that Scouting has real power on Capitol Hill. Even when Eagle Scouts in Washington differ on political issues, they’re united in the belief that Scouting continues to instill essential character values and leadership skills.

Here are nine of my favorite quotes from the event:

Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, Eagle Scout

1. “As we were engaged in Scouting, we were growing as young people and trying to make this country better.”

Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Eagle Scout

2. “When I was in Scouts, I remember working on Citizenship in the Nation merit badge, and I thought, ‘When am I going to use this?’ Now I use it every day.”

3. “Earning Eagle keeps getting harder and harder and harder.”

Rep. Chris Collins of New York, Eagle Scout

4. “Go to work, do your best, Be Prepared, and you will sleep well at night.”

5. “[Welcoming girls into Scouting] was the right thing to do, and I commend the Scout board. … Mike [Surbaugh], you showed leadership in that.”

Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh (center) sits with NESA President Frank Tsuru (left) and Les Baron, Scout Executive of the National Capital Area Council.

Mike Surbaugh, BSA Chief Scout Executive, Eagle Scout

6. “Cubmasters, den leaders, Scoutmasters created this experience that transformed these young lives into what we see today.”

Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior

7. “There is no replacement for hard work. There isn’t an Eagle Scout out there who didn’t work hard.”

8. “Be conservation-minded. Recognize the need for conservation. And do something about it. The Boy Scouts have been the leader in conservation since the very beginning.”

9. “Thank you, Scouts. Thank you leaders of Scouts for what you do. Because our great nation is in your hands.”

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

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