Thanks for your many emails and calls
about our safety in the aftermath of the Salt Lake City tornado.
The good news was that our Publisher, Terry Howerton was already in Provo, Utah, meeting with one of our suppliers and I was on a plane
that had not yet touched down in the city.
Coming from Kansas City, Tornadoes are nothing new to us, but it is as rare for Salt
Lake City to get a Tornado as it is for the Florida High Adventure Sea Base to get snow.
When I arrived, the Outdoor Retailer Show was hard it, as was the Delta Center (Basketball
Stadium), Wyndam Garden Hotel, and a major part of the city. One person was killed and
many were injured. The OR show was delayed a day before opening (they even considered
canceling the event).
As with all crises, there is the opportunity for goodness. This time, Scouting was at
its best. There were so many examples of Scouting values & attitudes that I observed
during the crisis that I'm certain I can not do it justice now, but here are a few
examples of things I observed.
Within an hour of the devastation, several Salt Lake City Troops had already organized
Scouts to begin sweeping the streets and removing downed trees from blocked roads. Other
volunteers began to help the exhibitors recover what they could of their camping gear, so
it could be moved into the Salt Palace.
Many camping equipment manufacturers who normally are keen competitors were offering
part of their own exhibit space to their competitors. I learned that many of the CEO's of
these firms are Eagle Scouts.
As you might expect, many of the Outdoor Retailer exhibitors had a Scouting background
(I would love to find out how many people in the Outdoor Camping industry had their first
exposure to an overnight campout or canoe trip as a part of a Scout Troop). With dozens of
injured people, some seriously bleeding it was the Eagle Scouts at the show and in the
city who began rendering First Aid - skills learned in Boy Scouts.
The average daily crime rate for the city actually FELL the day the storm hit. How many
of us could say the same thing about our cities? A power outage or natural disaster is
usually a cart blanche to begin looting in many places. In this (very clean) downtown, it
was a call for both the citizens of the city and the many current & former members of
the BSA who where at the show, either as exhibitors or retailers, to come together in
service and in aid to each other.
As I left Salt Lake City last night the news media was already discussing how the many
local Scout Troops would likely play a major part in replacing the thousands of downed
trees across the city.
As for us, we spent several great days at the show, met many fellow Scouters, saw the
buyers from both Supply Division & Philmont, and will be having many great new things
We really appreciate all of the concern and calls from Scouters. Thanks.