Five things you need to know about Roger Krone, the BSA’s incoming President and CEO

A portrait of BSA President and CEO Roger Krone
New BSA President and CEO Roger Krone. Photo courtesy of Leidos

The BSA has a new President and CEO.

Roger Krone is the former chairman and CEO of government technology solutions firm Leidos.

He joins two volunteers, National Chair Brad Tilden and National Commissioner Scott Sorrels, on the BSA’s Key 3 national leadership team.

He succeeds Roger Mosby, who, like Krone, was hired as President and CEO before being named Chief Scout Executive a couple of years later when he became a commissioned professional.

In addition to his decades of experience running billion-dollar businesses, Krone, 67, is an Eagle Scout and the parent of two former Scouts. He has one grandchild whom he hopes will be a Scout someday, too.

Krone was kind enough to take some time to speak with me during his whirlwind introduction to the BSA.

Here are five things you need to know about the BSA’s incoming President and CEO.

He learned more than outdoors skills in Scouting

Krone says if you’d asked him what’s so great about Scouting back when he was a kid, he would have told you about the camping, the outdoors skills, the hikes, and all that stuff.

Now, looking back, he thinks it might have been something else entirely.

I think I learned planning, program management skills, self-reliance, being independent, taking initiative and being a self-starter.

I learned how to work with people. We went camping once a month. Our patrol planned its own campout. Each patrol had to set up a menu. So you learn how to be a program manager. You learn how to work together with fellow Scouts on a common goal.

When you look back years later, you realize what you learn from having to plan, having a budget, organizing pots and pans in the patrol box, making sure you have the right ropes if you’re doing lashings … it was a fantastic growth and development opportunity for me.

Outside of Scouting. I participated in sports. There, I was coached by an adult, led by an adult, told what to do by an adult. I had no input in the workouts or game strategy or anything like that. I was just there. Those are kids’ activities led by adults.

What’s unique about Scouting is it’s a youth activity planned and executed by youth. You pick stuff up without even realizing it. The ability to organize and plan tasks — when I was an engineer running development programs, those were the skills I used. We had budgets. I had to put together schedules, put together plans. It’s the same thing I did as a Scout.

Roger Krone, far left on the back row, at Philmont Scout Ranch in 1970. He’s joined by his cousin Robert Krone Jr. (second from the left in the front row) and, right next to Robert Jr., his uncle, Dr. Robert Krone. Photo courtesy of Robert Krone

He wants to go back to Philmont

In 1970, Krone visited Philmont Scout Ranch with a handful of other Scouts from Cincinnati.

He still remembers almost everything about it and, like everyone else who goes to Philmont, he wants to go back.

For me, it was something I had never done. It was huge. It was fantastic. I can’t wait to go back. I still have my Philmont belt, and I still have the boots I wore. I still have the same backpack. When I go back, I’m going to bring the same pack.

I had never been west of the Mississippi River. I had never seen mountains that big. It was a wonderful experience. It was so enriching. You know, there was connecting with nature, and being out under the stars and all that.

But my No. 1 memory was every dinner different people were in charge of different things. Some people had cooking. Some people had cleanup. The time I had cooking, we had chicken à la king. It was all dehydrated. You were supposed to put the mixture in the pot, get it going, then put dumplings on top, and the dumplings were supposed to cook from the steam coming up from the mixture.

Well, that didn’t make any sense to me. So, I mixed the dumpling mix in with the chicken à la king. And I created glue. It was inedible. My uncle was on that trip with me. To the day he died, he never let me forget that I screwed up the dinner at Philmont. You know, the basic lesson of read the directions, follow the directions. Understand the implication of your actions. Fifteen kids had to find something else to eat for dinner because I didn’t follow directions. My cousin, who was also on that trip, still reminds me of that, too.

He thinks the BSA needs to meet America’s youth where they are today

That includes, sometimes, reaching them at their homes when they’re on the couch watching TV, cycling endlessly through TikTok videos, or consuming other media.

Scouts used to come to us. My troop was based at the church. The Scouts were taken to the church by the parents. They were already there. We were blessed. We had youth who wanted to be in Scouting who came to us. That’s not how it works anymore.

The kids today are not the kids of my era. What we offer, how we reach kids, is different.

We have to meet youth where they are today. That could be at other activities that are consuming their free time, like travel sports. Or it could be on their couch.

What better thing to do than to affect the lives and development of a couple million youth in America.

I will have grandkids in Scouting, and I want them to have the gift I was given 45-50 years ago. Kids still love camping. Kids love being outdoors. There’s no lack of demand for being on a sailboat, going horseback riding. We just have to meet them where they are.

Roger Krone's Eagle Scout portrait, alongside his Eagle Scout card
Krone earned the rank of Eagle from his Scout troop in Cincinnati. Photos courtesy of Roger Krone

He says the Scout Oath and Law must always be essential to the BSA’s programs

In Scouting, we compete for the time and the share of mind for the youth today, and if the youth don’t think what we offer is relevant, they’re going to go someplace else. There is room for us to understand what the kids of today want and at the same time to shape Scouting going forward so we offer that to them and still make the Scout Oath and Law our top priority. In fact, it gives us an even better chance to have them embrace the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

He has opinions on a certain Aaron on Scouting blog post

Before I could get in my first question, Krone brought up this blog post about the Pinewood Derby.

He has thoughts, and one huge thing that he thinks needs to be added.

For me, both when I was a Cub Scout and when I was the parent of a Cub Scout, one of the biggest pleasures was working together on the Pinewood Derby car. When my dad helped me, we didn’t come anywhere close to winning.

Then, it took 2-3 iterations with my sons before we figured out how to make a car go fast. The first one we built looked really good, but it didn’t turn out very fast. We didn’t realize it was all about the axles and the wheels and weight distribution.

The cars that my dad and I built do not exist today. They’re all gone. One, I drilled a hole in the back and put  an Estes rocket engine in it to see if I could build a rocket car. It made a bunch of noise, went about 3 feet … and then nothing.

But all of my cars are gone. So, for my kids, I built a case for their cars. I built it so they could preserve their cars.

I have stolen the cases from them and wrapped them up and put them in the attic. Sometime in the future, they’re going to come back and say, “Hey Dad, do you still have the cars?” And I’ll say, “Yes, I do.”

Preserving that artifact … you’re going to find as time goes by that the experience you had with your child is really precious, and it’s embodied in this car. Keeping the car ought to be a goal, too. You need to preserve that car.

About Aaron Derr 467 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.