Today marks the end of an era.
Chief Scout Executive Robert J. Mazzuca — known to us all as Bob — turns over the reins of the Boy Scouts of America to Wayne Brock at the end of the day.
Bob, BSA Chief since 2007, steered our movement through several important milestones, including the healthy living initiative, the centennial celebration in 2010, the acquisition and development of the Summit Bechtel Reserve, and much more.
On a personal note, Bob has been the only Chief I’ve known in my four years as a BSA professional.
Here’s a memory that sticks in my mind: A couple of years ago, I was asked to attend a meeting with the Chief and a half-dozen other professionals. I can still remember sitting down at the conference table across from Bob’s empty chair. It was my first small-group meeting with the Chief, and I could feel my heart pounding. It’s not every day you’re asked to meet with the CEO.
Bob was coming from another meeting, and everyone else had arrived early. We all chatted as we waited for him to enter.
When he did, a respectful silence fell across the room. Everyone turned to Bob.
He looked around the room, smiled, cracked a joke, and said, “Let’s go!” He then sat down and started the meeting. The tension melted away, and the meeting was productive and efficient.
That’s the kind of leader Bob is, in my experience. He owns any room, but not through force. Instead, he brings a warm, welcoming presence that inspires others to do their best.
I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Yesterday, I asked Scouting magazine’s Facebook friends to share their warm wishes for Bob. Here are a few of my favorite responses:
Scouters’ parting words for Bob:
“Bob, it was great to work with you in Pittsburgh. Thank you for all you have done for Scouting in every place you’ve been. May retirement bring every blessing to you in the years to come.”
— Alan Morrison
“Thank you, Bob, for always being a shining example of what it is to be a Scouter—courteous, friendly, and kind!”
— Rose Godfrey
“Thanks, Chief, for your leadership in bringing us thru our first 100 years and into the new age. Lots remain to be done, and thanks to you we have the momentum to get there. I was honored to have met you a couple times, the first one when you hung a Silver Beaver around my neck. The best night of my Scouting career.”
— Gerry Moon
“I’ll never forget your entrance at the closing show at the 2010 Jambo.”
— Rick Stellrecht
“I had the privilige of meeting Mr Mazzuca at the last NJSP Camporee. Nothing impressed me more than the fact he wanted to spend as much time as he could with the boys. He thanked the leaders but spent most of his time encouraging the boys to attain the goal of Eagle Scout. Hats off to you Bob, Its easy to say its all about the boys, but you embody that statement. Good luck!”
— Chuck Provenzano
“You have made a difference in the lives of many young men…thank you for your service to our youth and our future!”
— Barbara Coulter
“Bob, thanks for your courageous leadership. It was fun to ride with you along the way! As I told you the other night, you will be amazed how life fills in your days when you retire.”
— Paul Moore
“Mr. Mazzuca… Thanks for all you have done to put Scouting back in the National forefront where people know who we are again! Best wishes to you and your family and THANK YOU for your service!”
— Bill Payne
“Thanks Bob, you left us better than you found us.”
— Lloyd Dunnavant
“Bob, you did an amazing job as CSE, bringing a needed enthusiasm and a “new school” approach that was much needed and appreciated by volunteers. Best wishes for a fulfilling retirement. I’ll be joining that club soon & look forward to more time for Scouting.”
— Tom Mckeever
“Bob, Thanks for your strong leadership and guidance as we enter a new era of High Adventure and Jamborees. Best wishes in your retirement years.”
— Randall Holden
“Bob, You made us pull up our boot straps, focus our attention and lead us in such a great way that allowed us to tell the world who we are and stopped the world from tell us who they thought we weren’t. Thank you for your superb leadership.”
— David Dumont
“Bob, you have done more to move Scouting forward than any single individual since James West. Best wishes and happy trails! You will be missed!”
— Karl Kaszuba
“Thank you for guiding scouting into a new and exciting future. Now it’s up to us to carry on your vision.”
— Tony Goodman
Leave your parting words for Bob Mazzuca
How has the outgoing Chief positively affected your Scouting career? Leave your thoughts below.
Farewell Chief Scout Executive column by Bob printed in Scouting magazine
“My Last Blog” on Bob’s Blog
Interview with Bob from 2007 printed in Scouting magazine
Photos by Roger Morgan/BSA