It’s a phenomenon familiar to any veteran Scouter: The longer you serve in Scouting, the more job titles you’ll accrue. Consider it a natural byproduct of a volunteer’s passion for saying “yes” to doing what it takes to deliver a life-changing program to our Scouts.
Saying “yes” to extra responsibilities is something Roger C. Mosby knows well.
In his more than three decades as a Scouting volunteer, the badge of office on Mosby‘s left sleeve and the color of his shoulder loops have changed countless times. He has served Scouting at the unit, district, council, regional, national and international levels — service that earned him both the region-level Silver Antelope Award and the council-level Silver Beaver Award.
Last year, Mosby made the switch from volunteer to professional when he was named President & CEO of the Boy Scouts of America.
And last month, in a move you might expect from a devoted Scouter, Mosby added another title to his Scouting job.
The former HR professional, seasoned Scouting volunteer and father of three Eagle Scouts who has served for the past year as President & CEO has been officially named the BSA’s 14th Chief Scout Executive.
The decision was announced at the BSA’s all-virtual National Annual Meeting in May, where the volunteer-led National Executive Board elected to make Mosby a commissioned professional. That move made him eligible to hold the title of Chief Scout Executive.
“I have great admiration and respect for Roger, and he’s had to make some tough decisions — some critical decisions,” says National Chair Dan Ownby, a volunteer. “Based on that, the National Executive Board decided that he’s earned his ‘wings’ — his commission as a professional.”
Joining the professional ranks
When Mosby was hired to lead the BSA beginning at the start of 2020, he became just the third person in history who wasn’t already employed by the BSA when they assumed the organization’s top professional job.
The others were James E. West, the first Chief Scout Executive and one the BSA’s founders, and Elbert K. Fretwell.
Fretwell, who became the BSA’s second Chief Scout Executive in 1943, was a professor of education at Columbia University’s Teachers College when he took the job. He had also been a BSA volunteer for 25 years who “traveled extensively over the country in helping to promote the Scout program and is well known to the professional leadership of the movement,” Scouting magazine wrote.
A veteran Scouting volunteer whose professional prowess was needed at a critical time? Sounds familiar.
“During this time, we knew we needed to bring in someone from the outside because of the types of skills that were needed to get us through the bankruptcy,” Ownby says.
While he was “from the outside,” Mosby was hardly an outsider.
His paying job was leading the human resources operation for more than 11,000 employees at the energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan. His volunteer jobs included time as Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, troop committee chair, Southern Region area commissioner and more council, national and international roles than we could list here.
In other words, Mosby had both the corporate expertise and the Scouting experience you’d want in the organization’s top professional. But he wasn’t called Chief Scout Executive because that title is reserved for commissioned professionals.
While Mosby’s left sleeve looks a little different now, his role as the BSA movement’s top professional remains the same.
“This doesn’t change the job in any way,” he says. “It might be a different patch. But the job is the same. It’s still pretty much being the head of the corporation.”
What is commissioning?
Look closely at the badge of office worn by a district executive (professional) and district commissioner (volunteer). See the similarities?
Both patches include a ring of leaves surrounding the BSA fleur-de-lis. That’s known as the “Wreath of Service,” and it signifies a commissioned volunteer or professional.
For field professionals, the traditional path to earning a “commission” in Scouting involves completing extensive training and other requirements outlined here. But there also exists in the BSA’s bylaws an alternative path to commissioning based upon specific knowledge and Scouting experience.
Regardless of the path taken, if you see that Wreath of Service, you know the wearer has devoted significant time to improving their Scouting skills — all in the service of helping Scouts reach their full potential in our movement.
As a volunteer, Mosby wore the Wreath of Service as a commissioner. Now, as Chief Scout Executive, he’s wearing it again.
“It’s an honor that the board chose to both commission me and name me Chief Scout Executive,” Mosby says. “I missed wearing the Wreath of Service that I had worn for so many years as a commissioner. Volunteer or professional, we are all focused on unit success.”
One of the volunteers behind this decision is W. Scott Sorrels, the BSA’s National Commissioner. He says Mosby deserves to be named Chief Scout Executive both in recognition of what he’s done for Scouting and as a symbol of what he’ll do in the future.
“He has a unique skill set that the governance leadership team felt we needed to usher us through the period we’ve been going through,” Sorrels says. “And we want him to have an appropriate amount of time after we exit from the bankruptcy to move us toward the next step.”
List of BSA Chief Scout Executives through history
Including Mosby, there have been only 14 Chief Scout Executives in our organization’s 111-year history.
- 1911–1943, James E. West
- 1943–1948, Elbert K. Fretwell
- 1948–1960, Arthur Schuck
- 1960–1967, Joseph A. Brunton Jr.
- 1967–1976, Alden G. Barber
- 1976–1979, Harvey L. Price
- 1979–1984, J. L. Tarr
- 1985–1993, Ben H. Love
- 1993–2000, Jere B. Ratcliffe
- 2000–2007, Roy Williams
- 2007–2012, Robert J. Mazzuca
- 2012–2015, Wayne Brock
- 2015–2020, Michael Surbaugh
- 2020–20??, Roger C. Mosby
Additional reporting by Aaron Derr and Michael Freeman
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