Dressed in a crisp olive-green Scouting uniform embellished with leadership awards, Amy Cramer DiFrancesco arrived to the Oval Office to deliver the annual Boy Scouts of America's Report to the Nation. On behalf of Boy Scouts of America, DiFrancesco, 17 of Ketchum, served as part of a young delegation that met with President George W. Bush to highlight the Boy Scouts' achievements over the past year.
"My expectations were to return with stories about meeting the most powerful leaders in the world and visiting historical sites, as well as sites where history is made today," DiFrancesco said. "I returned with many such stories, but all seemed to begin with how fortunate I was to be part of this particular contingency."
Typically thought of as a boys' organization, the Boy Scouts also oversees the National Venturing program, a co-ed outdoor leadership initiative for young adults. DiFrancesco serves as the National Venturing president, which enabled the confident teenager to accompany a delegation of young (male) scouts March 4 to 8 to Washington, D.C.
"The rest of the scouts had all saved someone's life ... They were so humble about it," she said. "The kids were phenomenal. I was honored to be in their presence."
The opportunity to accompany the delegation emerged from DiFrancesco's dedication to scouting. When she turned 14, DiFrancesco joined the Boy Scouts' National Venturing program. As a venture scout, she quickly climbed the ranks, becoming the Western Region Venturing president. She then was elected as the first National Venturing president from the Western region (states west of Kansas). She is also the youngest president and the third woman to serve in the position.
She became involved in the Boy Scouts organization through her brother Joe.
"I tagged along at a lot of meetings. I always wanted to be involved," she said.
These days DiFrancesco is extremely involved, traveling across the country to meet with venturing crews. Her traveling responsibilities necessitated that she move closer to an airport. She left The Community School in Sun Valley to attend the RiverStone Community School in Boise, where she is pursuing an International Baccalaureate degree. Her family commutes from Ketchum to accommodate her studies and travel needs.
On a recent visit to the valley, DiFrancesco recounted her Washington visit. Tours of the Washington Monument, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the Naval Academy at Annapolis and Arlington National Cemetery proved memorable. Other memories include meetings with Central Intelligence Agency Director Porter J. Goss, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Clerk of the Supreme Court Hon. William K. Suter, and Sens. Larry Craig and Mike Crapo of Idaho.
For DiFrancesco, the highlight came with a visit to the White House. She presented a glass paperweight engraved with an eagle to President Bush.
"An Eagle (rank) is the greatest honor you can earn as a Boy Scout," she said.