Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tornado Tragedy at Little Sioux Scout Ranch

12 June 2008

USSSP, Inc. is operated by volunteers and not associated with Boy Scouts of America

We tell our Scouts to "Be Prepared" -- to be prepared for life and what it gives you. It is more than a motto -- it in a capsule states the goals of the Boy Scouts of America.

This Thursday morning finds us, as well as many of you, stunned at the fact that overnight four Boy Scouts -- three participants in a junior leader training camp and a youth staff member -- died in the aftermath of a tornado which struck the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Iowa. Many other participants in that training experience suffered injuries which have been treated at area hospitals. The camp is an activity and facility belonging to the Mid-America Council, Boy Scouts of America, which is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska and which serves youth in eastern Nebraska, northwestern Iowa and southeastern South Dakota.

We grieve and offer our sincere condolences for the loss of the four Scouts to their parents, the other members of the training course and their adult advisors and mentors, and to the communities in which they resided. We know that the local Council will do everything in their power to support the families and their fellow Scouts and Scouters in their time of extreme pain and loss.

The Boy Scouts of America, through their local Councils like Mid-America, provide a special week of leadership development training each year. The course is called by different titles within different local Councils to give it a local slant and flavor. Course participants are nominated by local Scout Troops to attend the eight-day course; in many cases, the leaders attending these courses are the leader of their Boy Scout Troop, called a Senior Patrol Leader, or aspire to serve in that role in the future. The course is a nationally structured and scripted course which emphasizes small group leadership and management and, as a component, instruction on how to deal with emergent situations as they occur. Since Boy Scouts and Venturers camp in the outdoors as a central part of who we are, a great deal of time is spent on basic techniques in dealing with extreme weather -- whether it is tornadoes, great amount of cold or heat, and strategies for what happens when transportation fails or when the overhead cover is destroyed or damaged. Part of the week's training as conducted by the Mid-America Council's junior-leader camp called for tornado reaction drills and instruction, which was conducted the day before the tornado struck.

We are extremely proud of the Scouts and Scouters -- some as young as 13 and others as old as 17 -- who reacted to this emergency in true Scouting style. You will no doubt hear, see and/or read about accounts of true Scouting heroism in the face of extreme danger performed by those Scouts as well as their adult mentors and advisors -- Scouters. Many of you are surprised at the ingenuity, strength of character, and overall service that those Scouts -- young as they may be -- acted upon. We are not. This is what Scouters train Scouts to do; this is what Scouts do. More than the camping and outdoor aspect of our program, may we be bold as to remind you that Boy Scouting first is a program which prepares young men for their role as responsible strong citizens of quality character. This is why we have a Scouting program in this nation, and the Scouts and Scouters you are witnessing through media accounts -- and their own personal accounts -- are realistic, true-to-life examples of the value of Scouting, even in this "internet and playstation recreational environment", and why we place so much of an importance to what we do and how we do it.

You will also hear, see and/or read about the exceptional quick level of support rendered to the Council's camp leadership by a host of local, state and regional authorities. This is part of a coordinated plan -- an emergency plan the Council coordinated with each year before the start of the camp year. Once executed, the plan was accomplished in a grand way and we are sure it assisted in a large part to the treatment and care of those Scouts and Scouters caught in the wrath of the tornado's destruction. We thank those organizations and agencies for their support to the Mid-America Council, and indirectly to the families of those Scouts at the Ranch.

Again, we at the U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc, join with our fellow Scouters all over this land in our deepest condolences for the loss of life during the Mid-America Council's junior leader training camp program in Iowa. We pray and offer our best cheerful thoughts for the families and fellow Scouts who will deal with their loss of family and friends. We also extend our innermost pride and elation at the many Scouts and Scouters who stepped forward -- even through personal pain -- to offer first aid, recovery and staging during this emergency. We stand ready to assist the Mid-America Council and their leadership in whatever way we can be of service because that's what Scouts and Scouters do.

As we get information about camp restoration efforts, we will provide them to you. In the meantime, we encourage you to find out more information on the strength of personal character and how the Boy Scouts of America encourages, promotes and trains this through their youth in these ways:

Official Boy Scouts of America Websites

News Media - Omaha, Nebraska

News Media - Sioux City, Iowa

News Media - Missouri Valley, Iowa

| BSA Chief Scout Exec. and President - Statement |
| The Scouts We Lost | Scouts in Tornado Help Save Lives | Boy Scouts Praised As Heroes |

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New KNOTS Cartoon for June

Check out the new KNOTS or NOT scouting cartoon ... I think you'll find it quite a timely and heroic ... sort of.

Scouts Using the Internet Cartoon - Courtesy of Richard Diesslin - Click to See More Cartoons
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