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a difference in the world because Scouting made a difference in their lives. It’s a promise to the modern Scout that he’ll still take away some- thing priceless from the program: He’ll be “Prepared. For Life.”

TO CHIEF SCOUT EXECUTIVE Robert J. Mazzuca (at right)—who attended his last annual meeting at the helm of the BSA before his Aug. 31 retirement— showing off the modern Scout means reintroducing Scouting to America. Mazzuca’s farewell message stressed that the 102-year-old movement can no longer sit back and let others do its talking and that, to his mind, Scouting was too passive through the first 10 years of the 21st century. “We allowed ourselves to be defined by other people,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun to re-energize the notion that it’s OK to talk about Scouting.” That’s why, more than ever, the BSA has embraced popular culture to get people talking about what Scouting is all about. For example, the upcoming debut of the National Geographic Channel show Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? will offer Scouting a rare opportunity to send a positive message about its mission to teach youth the skills and values that will help them overcome the chal- lenges they’ll face as adults. Already, it’s a hit—at least judging

by the professional and volunteer Scouters who burst into applause at the end of an exclusive preview of the show in one of the meeting’s general sessions. But why not? The show comes from Thom Beers and the same production team behind the popular reality shows Deadliest Catch, Storage Wars, and Ice Road Truckers. Are You Tougher? will likely have

a positive influence on tens of thou- sands of viewers—adults and kids. Can you say “recruitment?” But that’s not all that the BSA has up its sleeve for leaders and Scouts to get excited about in the coming years.

48 SCOUTING ¿  

dent ended at the meeting, explained why he carves out time for youth. Scouts are the boots on the

ground, Tillerson said, the everyday heroes, and “The Main Thing.” “All you have to do is meet the young people, and you see the growth that occurs in [them] when they’re given the oppor- tunity to participate in Scouting.” Mike Rowe gets it, too. Those

STARTING WITH AN UPDATE to the BSA Handbook. Here’s the 411: Development and testing for the new manual begins now, and officials have targeted spring 2015 for the release. The big change? All ranks in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts will revolve around a common set of five core-content areas: character devel- opment; participatory citizenship; personal fitness; outdoor skills and awareness; and leadership. With these changes in place,

Mazzuca said, “Our future is bright. We’re on a path that’s going to lead us to great things if we stay the course.” Mazzuca also cited successes that include the ScoutSTRONG healthy- living program and the STEM initiative, the BSA’s commitment to promote careers in science, technology, engineer- ing, and math.

Another highlight of the three-day

event was good news from the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. AT&T has agreed to “light up” the site with wireless connectivity, a gift that’s reportedly of equal value to the Bechtel family’s original donation of $25 million to the base.

SUCH HIGH-TECH ADVANCES might create a lot of buzz among BSA members and nonmembers, but Scouting’s most valuable asset remains the same: the Scouts. That point isn’t lost on Rex

Tillerson, who, as CEO of one of the world’s largest companies, Exxon- Mobil, still finds time to volunteer. Tillerson, whose term as BSA presi-

are the same kinds of people you saw on Rowe’s Dirty Jobs—ordinary, hard-working individuals. But Rowe’s passion for everyday people doing extraordinary things started even before his first episode aired. “I remember this section in Boys’

Life magazine, ‘True Stories of Scouts in Action,’” Rowe said. “These were real people doing real things. They weren’t [always] Eagle Scouts. They were Scouts, First Class, Second Class, Star, Life, whatever it was. “You read a story about a kid who

runs over to a tractor, and the farmer’s stuck in it; the tractor is on fire, and he’s burning. The kid rips his shirt off and jumps on the guy—cuts the [seat] belt off and saves his life. And he’s 16 years old! Why isn’t that kid headline news? Why aren’t we taking that action and shouting it from a mountaintop?” Rowe’s question was rhetorical, but

his point is real. To Rowe, a Scout’s actions speak louder than the awards or patches he earns. He added, “It’s their mettle not their

medals, right? So finding people in this organization who walk the walk to help tell those stories—that’s some- thing [the BSA] is standing by to do.” ¿

BRYAN WENDELL is Scouting maga- zine’s Senior Editor.

MEET THE 2012 SILVER BUFFALO AWARD RECIPIENTS and see photos of these notable Scouting supporters at scout silverbuffalos.

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