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W.B.:Yep. That is how many interpreted it, although that was not the intent. If you take the big cities—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles—a lot of things you have to do to be a Scout are not accessible to those kids. To try to reach them, there was a path to Eagle Scout that didn’t require Scouts to camp. This change was not well accepted. We have to be very careful not to get away from our mission. Kids of all cities and cultures benefit from an outdoor experience, so we need to keep the outdoor experience as a terrific tool to teach kids.


SCOUTING: A relevant point, because Scouting is moving to modernize a lot of its programs with some technology- focused merit badges, the STEM initiative, and more. Do you think there’s a risk of going in that direction again? W.B.:Yes, but it’s somewhat different today. I think most people now realize you have to adapt to remain relevant.


SCOUTING: Is technology the BSA’s biggest competitor for gaining kids’ interest? W.B.:Our national president, Wayne Perry, said in his introductory speech at the National Annual Meeting that he believes it’s electronics. It’s kids staying inside and playing video games. Other people are going to tell you that it’s sports. I think it’s a combination of these things and others.


SCOUTING:So how does the BSA compete? W.B.:Have you ever heard the dog food joke? This company sells dog food, and their sales are going down, down, and down. The CEO calls all his top managers together, and they are talking about how they can turn themselves around. They start saying, “We’ve got to get better placement on the store shelves.” “We need better packaging.” “We need more salesmen.” Then this new man raises his hand and says, “There’s one other problem: The dogs


Wayne Brock, the BSA’s new Chief Scout Executive, takes time to grab a cup of hot coffee (above) from the wood-burning stove at the Sawmill Camp. The Chief visited Philmont Scout Ranch in July for the National Officers’ Retreat.


don’t like the food.” We have to make sure we have the best food.


SCOUTING:But Scouts love the BSA’s “food,” right? W.B.: Right. It’s more about image, especially for older youth. I’ll never forget this quote from a study we did. This one boy said, “What Scouts do is cool, but being a Scout is not cool.”


SCOUTING: What’s being done at the national level to make Scouting cool? W.B.:The question is not how do we make it cool; it’s how do we let youth know how cool it really is. One thing we’re doing is a new TV show scheduled to air in early 2013 on the National Geographic Channel called Are Y


ou Tougher Than a Boy Scout? Boys will see just how fun Scouting is. SEPTEMBER•OCTOBER 2012 ¿ S COUTING 33


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