Bob’s Blog: New Search and Rescue Merit Badge, Post-NAM Thoughts
I am proud and excited to join in our announcement about the availability of our latest merit badge—Search and Rescue. We talk often about our Scouts being Prepared. For Life.™, but the meaning behind that identity jumps to an even higher level when it comes to learning the skills that may help save a life—or lives—someday.
It’s important to recognize up front that we are not encouraging our Scouts to strike out on their own to launch search and rescue missions. Our Search and Rescue merit badge will not qualify our Scouts as trained searchers.
At the same time, these merit badge requirements do teach fundamental skills that our Scouts should learn and be aware of when thinking about (1) how a search is properly organized and conducted, and (2) how a rescue is safely coordinated and executed—these are two separate and distinct approaches to saving lives. Learning how to “stay found” is another important lesson within this program that sounds simple, but is so critical in many cases. I am glad we have added a merit badge to our training arsenal that addresses these specific skills.
I’m also proud that we were able to share the announcement of our new Search and Rescue merit badge at this year’s National Search and Rescue Conference hosted by the National Association for Search and Rescue and the Mountain Rescue Association in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. I can’t think of a better place to draw attention to how Scouting is meeting the need for this vital training for America’s young people
Outdoor adventures have always been part of our heritage. Keeping our Scouts safe as they enjoy the outdoors has always been—and will continue to be—among our priorities for delivering a quality Scouting experience. I hope you can encourage as many Scouts in your council as possible to take on the challenge of earning this important new achievement.
Thoughts After Our National Annual Meeting
Among the difficult things to grasp when retirement draws near are the “lasts”—the last drive to the office, the last visit to the cafeteria, or a final word with a close colleague.
One of my difficult “lasts” as Chief Scout Executive was attending this year’s National Annual Meeting. You see these events on the calendar and want to accomplish so much in the waning days, but it all moves by in such a blur that you wonder where all the time went!
I can’t begin to thank (much less count!) all the wonderful people who stopped by during this year’s NAM for a quick word or a handshake to offer their best wishes. It’s hard to say goodbye to so many terrific people who you’ve worked closely with over the years, but very gratifying to have the chance to share some memories and laugh about good times. Your kind words will be on my mind daily as I make the most of my remaining months leading the BSA prior to my retirement September 1.
Probably the most moving moments of my final visit to NAM were to find ways to thank great partners in our BSA leadership team for all their contributions—not to mention helping me navigate through often difficult waters—to bring our new BSA to where it is today. To Tico Perez, Rick Cronk, John Gottschalk, and Rex Tillerson, please know that you will always be remembered not just by me for your unfailing commitment to the youth of America, but by generations of Scouts yet to experience what you have worked so hard to achieve for our movement.
To our new CSE, Wayne Brock, and president, Wayne Perry, I wish you all the best in your endeavors to continue our mission to bring a quality Scouting experience to our nation’s young people. I leave my last NAM experience confident in the knowledge that Scouting’s future is in excellent hands.