An Interview with the Chief Scout Executive and BSA National Chairman
By David Thornton and Tyler Grey
Since the Scouting movement made its way to the United States in the early 20th century, the Boy Scouts of America has faithfully served millions of youth since then. It is not uncommon to run into a former Scout or even an Eagle Scout on the street or in other non-Scouting environments. At NOAC 2018, we had the opportunity to interview and dive into the Scouting careers and journeys of Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh and National BSA Chairman Jim Turley.
Both Surbaugh and Turley were involved with the Scouting program as youth members. Surbaugh credits the Order of the Arrow with keeping him involved in Scouting, and guided him to where he is today. Because of his experience on camp staff, ceremonies team, and with lodge leadership, Surbaugh felt encouraged to continue serving the Scouting program and helped him to “Decide his Destiny” as a professional. In fact, he had never considered Scouting as a potential profession until his Scout executive and two influential volunteers asked him about it.
Although Turley did not have the opportunity to join the Order of the Arrow as a youth, he was still an active Boy Scout just like his father and grandfather. Much to his regret, Turley did not achieve rank of Eagle Scout, as his family moved away and he did not rejoin Scouting again until he was an adult. However, Turley strongly wanted to emphasize that “it doesn’t matter how far you go or what rank you achieve, it’s the experience that counts.” Turley decided to give back to this incredible program because of the amazing memories he made as a youth and from all the fun he had. He was asked to serve on the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board almost 20 years ago and has been involved in various roles ever since. Turley looks forward to joining the OA and exploring all our program has to offer.
The National Order of the Arrow Committee recently announced, beginning February 1, 2019, unit elections will be permitted in Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scout units. Serving at the national level, both of these servant leaders are spearheading the recent policy changes as well as the introduction of family Scouting. Something Surbaugh strongly emphasized was the program is not changing at all and now is a very exciting time to be involved with the Scouting program. Arrowmen have the unique opportunity to assist in effectively delivering our program to all branches of Scouting.
More information about the membership update can be found here.