Let’s tip our caps to Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock as he retires

9290430356_e727057f6f_zIn his last address to Scouting professionals as the Boy Scouts of America’s Chief Scout Executive, Wayne Brock announced he’s beginning the transition to his successor, Mike Surbaugh, now.

Though he has passed the torch, Brock will continue to work remotely and remain engaged in some key projects through his official retirement date of Sept. 30, 2015.

Brock is fond of telling Scouting colleagues that after he retires he’ll get his biggest promotion of all: to BSA volunteer.

Today we salute Chief Brock and his 43-year career as a BSA professional.

Brock 2A life of service to Scouting

Wayne Brock began his professional Scouting career in 1972 as a district executive in New Bern, N.C., and then served on the staff in Knoxville, Tenn. He also served as Scout executive in Athens, Ga.; Scout executive in Orlando, Fla.; regional director of the Southern Region; and as assistant Chief Scout Executive.

Brock is a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, Order of the Arrow Distinguished Service Award, and received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from East Carolina University.

His term as Chief started Sept. 1, 2012. On that date he became just the 12th Chief in BSA history.

He and his wife, Ernestine, have a grown son, Richie; daughter-in-law, Julie; and “the pride of all of us,” he says, his granddaughter, Katie.

Brock 1In his own words

Brock graciously acknowledged that you don’t get to 43 years of Scouting service without some help along the way. In his final column in Scouting magazine, Brock thanked the countless volunteers and professionals he met along the way.

As I reflect, I can’t help but think of my time in Scouting as a youth and my Scout leaders who made the experience meaningful and fun. I think about the positive impact I hope my service had on thousands of young people; the volunteers who give so unselfishly of their time, talent and treasure; the employees who work way beyond the paycheck out of love for Scouting; the vast number of donors and supporters; and my family who supported me by putting up with seven moves and sacrificing family time so I could give my all to Scouting. To all of you, I will be forever grateful.

This week, at the BSA’s Top Hands meeting of professionals in Dallas, Brock gave his final big speech as Chief. Again, he focused on the work of others rather than patting himself on the back.

“We are so fortunate in the BSA to have this volunteer core that loves the movement as much as you and I do,” he said.

Later, his voice catching with emotion, Brock offered a final note of gratitude before leaving the stage to a long standing ovation.

“I can’t tell you from the bottom of my heart what it means to get to know you, to get to meet with you,” he said.

Brock 3A highly productive tenure

Brock is humble when describing his tenure as Chief. Again, from his Scouting magazine column:

I am often asked what I think my legacy as Chief will be and, to be honest, I wonder how history will view my tenure. I can only hope that I will be seen as a Chief who tried very hard to live up to the values of the Scout Oath and Law. As someone who tried to do his best for God, country and others. To me, that would be the best legacy any Scout could ask for.

In my humble opinion, history will view him as an outstanding leader who helped guide the Boy Scouts of America through some difficult times through which it emerged even stronger than before.

I feel lucky to have worked under his leadership and have enjoyed speaking with him on several occasions.

Here are some other important moments from his tenure:

  • STEM Scouts: Brock ushered in the era of STEM Scouts, a spark that will continue to grow long after his time in office.
  • The first jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve: The groundbreaking, life-changing first jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve happened under Brock’s leadership. Brock, a former high school band director, even took time to conduct the jamboree band.
  • 100th anniversary of the OA: The 100th anniversary of the Order of the Arrow took place during Brock’s time in office. He helped the OA celebrate at ArrowTour and at the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference.
  • Socially savvy: Brock was the first BSA Chief to have his own blog and Twitter account.
  • A moment of tragedy: In 2012, Brock met with the families of the two Tiger Cubs killed in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He memorialized the boys with the Spirit of the Eagle Award and offered his condolences.
  • Promoting service to others: Also in 2012, Brock relayed a call for help for those affected by superstorm Sandy.

See also

Read Brock’s final column on his blog.

About Bryan Wendell 2944 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.