A New Chief
On September 1, Wayne Brock became the BSA’s 12th Chief Scout Executive, replacing Bob Mazzuca, who retired on August 31 after a remarkable five-year term. Brock had served as deputy Chief Scout Executive since 2009, so the transition was seamless.
As the Boy Scouts of America’s top executive, Brock has a simple yet all-consuming goal: to build on Scouting’s 102 years of strong tradition while ensuring that Scouting programs are relevant, appealing, and accessible to all youth. “We’re making that happen with program elements that teach and encourage skill development in science, technology, engineering, and math,” he said. “We’re also providing the tools and resources that our volunteers and employees need to accomplish our mission.”
Brock first joined Scouting in 1958 as a Cub Scout. He began his Scouting career in 1972 as a district executive in New Bern, North Carolina, and later served councils in Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. He has also served as regional director of the Southern Region and assistant Chief Scout Executive. He is a Distinguished Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow.
“Scouting is very personal to me; outside of my family and church, the next strongest influence on my life was Scouting,” Brock said. “I work for the Boy Scouts of America because I believe in Scouting—it’s not the other way around.”
New National President Wayne Perry
Since his wife, Christine, signed him up to be Cubmaster of Pack 601 in Bellevue, Washington, new BSA National President Wayne Perry has served in numerous positions at every level of Scouting, from local to international.
In the business world, Perry has worked in telecommunications since joining McCaw Cellular Communications lnc. in 1976. After that company merged with AT&T Wireless Services in 1994, Perry became vice chairman. He also serves on the board of Baseball of Seattle lnc., the managing general partner of the Seattle Mariners.
A longtime youth baseball coach, Perry knows firsthand the excitement of sports. But he knows something else: “Scouting offers things for kids who will not join athletics, and it’s great for kids who are the star quarterbacks of their high school teams. There’s virtually no kid in the United States who wouldn’t benefit from our program—the leadership skills they get, the values that are taught, the physical skills, the first aid. Those are skills that stay with you forever.”
New Merit Badges
For more than a century, merit badges have introduced Scouts to adventure pursuits, service opportunities, and career paths. This year, we built on that tradition by introducing the Kayaking, Search and Rescue, and Welding merit badges.
Kayaking is America’s fastest growing paddle sport, offering gentle fun on lakes and white-knuckled excitement on whitewater. The BSA has long offered a Kayaking BSA activity patch. Now, a full-fledged merit badge gives Scouts a greater experience in the sport.
To develop the badge, the BSA worked closely with the National Aquatics Task Force and the American Canoe Association. Project leader Richard Thomas, an ACA instructor trainer and longtime Scouter, first tried kayaking at Scout camp four decades ago. Now, he’s making sure today’s Scouts can receive a badge for learning his favorite sport.
Search and Rescue
Each day, the National Park Service averages more than 11 search-and-rescue incidents, while countless more searches take place in national forests, state parks, and even urban neighborhoods. Our new Search and Rescue merit badge introduces Scouts to SAR techniques and whets their appetites to learn more. Leading the development of the badge were Doug Palmer, Philmont Scout Ranch’s retired associate director of program, and Gary Williams, a New Mexico–based Scouter and SAR volunteer who got his start in SAR as an Explorer Scout almost 50 years ago.
Besides teaching SAR skills, the badge shows Scouts how not to get lost in the first place. “It’s all about good decision-making in the out-of-doors and, like the Scouts say, being prepared,” Palmer said.
Welding holds America together, but welders are in short supply. “There are actually over 200,000 more jobs out there right now than there are welders to fill them,” said Dave Landon, vice president of the American Welding Society.
Soon, today’s Scouts may be filling some of those jobs. The new Welding merit badge—created in collaboration with Landon’s organization—introduces Scouts to this critical trade. It is one more way we are preparing Scouts for life and incorporating science, technology, engineering, and math learning into our program.
Although the badge is new, its heritage is not. The first Handbook for Boys in 1911 introduced the Blacksmithing merit badge, and it remained part of the merit badge program until 1952.