Iowa Scout tragedy – a message from the Chief Scout Executive

Chief Scout Executive Robert J. Mazzuca issued this message yesterday, regarding the tornado strike at Mid-America Council’s Little Sioux Scout Ranch in western Iowa. For the record, for your information and action:

Robert J. Mazzuca
Chief Scout Executive

June 13, 2008

To our Scouting family:

We were all shocked and saddened by the news coming out of Western Iowa. The tornado that ripped through our Little Sioux Scout Ranch left a terrible wake of destruction in its path. We mourn the lives lost and injuries suffered as a result of the storm. And we extend our deepest sympathies and concern to the families of those who were affected.

BSA President John Gottschalk and I have pledged the full support of the National Council to assist in any way. Particularly during this period of front-line response, most of the effort is being managed by the outstanding Mid-America Council. We are grateful for Lloyd Roitstein and his staff, who have shown remarkable leadership during this very challenging time. The local council has placed a very high priority on tending to the needs of the impacted families. We continue to remain in close contact and are helping to coordinate communication across the local council network. The National Council is prepared to engage further at any time.

Understandably, we are receiving many calls from all across the country from staff, volunteers, Scouts, and families who want to be supportive. Thank you, everyone, for this outpouring of support. We have put into place a process for properly channeling offers of financial assistance for the impacted families, as well as interest in volunteering time to the effort. Right now, we need to give emergency responders and the local council time to attend to the task at hand. Very soon, the effort will turn to rebuilding and reconstructing. Upon the determination of exact needs, we will follow up with you.

Please forward contact information and offers of support to our emergency response e-mail at Anyone interested in making a donation to help rebuild Scouting in the communities affected by the tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest go to Select “BSA Disaster Relief.”

Again, we are deeply saddened by this tragedy. At the same time, however, we are moved by and proud of the way in which our Scouts, leaders, and the local council have responded. There is no question that this terrible situation would have been worse if it were not for the heroic efforts of the young men who were on the ground when the tornado hit. They epitomize what is so very special about being a Scout.

Please join me in keeping all of those affected in our thoughts and prayers. God bless our Scouts.

Yours in Scouting,

Robert Mazzuca signature

Robert J. Mazzuca signature



Robert J. Mazzuca
Chief Scout Executive

Memo in .pdf form

Tip of the old scrub brush to Debie Franz, Wisdom Trail District, Circle 10 Council


2 Responses to Iowa Scout tragedy – a message from the Chief Scout Executive

  1. mpb says:

    Don’t forget the Girl Scouts. I thought they had a meteorological badge but the safety aspect would certainly be important


  2. MAJ. Jesse Carnes says:

    I am Maj. Jesse Carnes.
    I am in Louisiana. I was a scout as a boy, and my pastor [Scott Lindsay] was an Eagle.

    Re: last week’s tragedy at “Little Sioux Scout Ranch”– Little Sioux Iowa

    I had a thought. I believe that the tragic event which struck the Scouts camping in western Iowa could be prevented in the future. I know it sounds a bit different, but has the BSA ever considered a merit badge in Meteorological Safety? I used to teach cadets [ages 12-18] through an Air Force-sponsored program, called Civil Air Patrol.

    We monitored weather conditions during Air Search-and-Rescue missions and on SAREX [practice] missions. I have a Specialist rating in Aerospace Education and taught cadets aviation concepts in connexion to weather conditions for about 5 years.

    Point : I believe that IF underground shelters are in place at Scout Campsites, in addition to having 1 or 2 daily (on site) designated Scouts [from either that troop or other troops] who could monitor meteorological conditions, ON-SITE, via a wireless or conventional laptop computer [regional radar for any particular region], that 20-30 minutes heads-up lead-time could be given and if a dangerous storm does brew up in a Scouting area, enough warning could be given to enable scouts to head for shelters to possibly prevent such a future tragedy.

    I have also emailed Chuck Simmons, who is our Istrouma Council President/Scout Executive for the Greater Baton Rouge area. I am writing to you guys, since you are in the Mid-America Coucil (where this happened).

    Your best thoughts?

    Warmly ;


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