On June 11, 2008 an F-3 tornado tore through 200 acres of the Mid-America Council’s 1800 acre Little Sioux Scout Ranch located at the Loess Hills, in Iowa. There were 124 Scouts and Scouters attending the Council’s National Youth Leadership Training Course, “Pahuk Pride”, that night when four Scouts lost their lives.
Mid-America Council plans to install a replica of the exclusive McKenzie Statue at the entrance of the Mid-America Council – Durham Scout Center, as a tribute to not only the four young men, but also to the 120 others that personified the scouting movement that night with their heroic actions and compassion for their fellow Scouts.
What is the McKenzie Statue?
Dr. R. Tait McKenzie was a surgeon, physical educator, artist, and sculptor. He was a personal friend of Lord Baden-Powell. Dr. McKenzie was a member of the Philadelphia Council Executive Board from 1911 until his death in 1938. When asked in 1914 to create something tangible “that would stand as a symbol of what scouting stood for, “Dr. McKenzie sculpted his beloved statue portraying the “Ideal Boy Scout.”
The sculptor portrayed in his statue the traits of character he knew the movement to install in a boy. To Dr. McKenzie, the uncovered head represented reverence and obedience; the ax on which the hand rests was a symbol of George Washington’s truthfulness.
The Philadelphia Council (now known as Cradle of Liberty Council) sells these life-size cast bronze statues only as an accommodation as a special request. Since the first was erected, 31 statues have been cast and are located around the world. Each of the life-size statues weighs 500 pounds and stands 6’ feet tall. They are individually cast, which is a very time consuming process and can take up to 6 months to complete. Considerable time, effort, and skill is required to supervise each casting. This is done by the Sculptor-in-Residence at Princeton University, one of Tait McKenzie’s students. He approves the location of each statue.
Other McKenzie Statue Locations:
– Boy Scouts of Canada, National Office
– Central Region Council: Naperville, IL
– Dauch Service Center, Detroit Area Council: Detroit, MI
– Gerald R. Ford Council: Grand Rapids, MI
– Gilwell Park: England
– Great Sauk Trail Council: Ann Arbor, MI
– Greater Cleveland Council: Cleveland, OH
– Indianhead Council: St Paul, MN
– Middle Tennessee Council, Brentwood, TN
– Milwaukee County Council: Milwaukee, WI
– Occoneechee Council, Raleigh, NC
– Simon Kenton Council: Columbus, OH
– Southwest Michigan Area Council: Kalamazoo, MI
– University of Pennsylvania, PA
– Winnebago Council: Waterloo, IA
This project is estimated to cost $28,000 total. The statue itself costs $15,700, shipping to Omaha $2,000, concrete base $5,000, Bronze Plaque listing the N.Y.L.T. participants $2,500, Bronze Plaque listing the contributing Councils.
The Mid-America Council is inviting all Councils to help memorialize the young heroes of June 11, 2008. If you are interesting in supporting this effort, please ask your local Boy Scout Council how they are collecting donations. A list of the Council’s that support the project will be listed on the base of the statue.
The following Councils have already forwarded their support: Evangeline Area Council; Jayhawk Area Council; Mid-Iowa Council; Northern Star Council; Okefekokee Area Council; Orange County Council; Patriot’s Path Council; Pennsylvania Dutch Council; Philmont Scout Ranch; Pine Burr Area Council; Potomac Council; Westchester-Putnam Council.