Jere Ratcliffe

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Jere Ratcliffe
Education Wittenberg College
Employer Boy Scouts of America
Title Chief Scout Executive
Term 1993 - 2000
Predecessor Ben H. Love
Successor Roy Williams
Spouse(s) Judy Jones

Jere Brian Ratcliffe is a retired professional Scouter in the Boy Scouts of America who was the ninth Chief Scout Executive.


Ratcliffe grew up in Springfield, Ohio, where he met his wife, the former Judy Jones. He was awarded Eagle Scout in 1955 and as an adult was presented with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.[1] After graduating from Wittenberg University in 1959, he volunteered at the Scout center of the North Florida Council in Jacksonville, Florida. He decided to make a career as a Scouting professional and attended the National Training School. His first position was as the district executive in the Blue Ridge Council of Greenville, South Carolina. He was first assigned as a scout executive in 1976, later becoming the Scout executive of the Heart of America Council in Kansas City, Missouri where he became Chief Soaring Lone Eagle of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. He was then the Scout executive for the Chicago Area Council.

Ratcliffe also served as Scout Executive for the former Birmingham (AL) Area Council, circa late 1970s; that council merged with two other councils in the 1990s to form the Central Alabama Council.

As Chief Scout Executive[edit]

On February 1, 1993, Ratcliffe accepted the position of the Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and moved to the organization's national headquarters in Irving, Texas. In March 1998, he met in Japan with leaders of the Boy Scouts of Japan to start an exchange program with the BSA.[2] While there, he presented Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto with the BSA's Silver World Award. Ratcliffe said Scouting, "is one of the few programs that still focuses on values, and values seem to be a quality many of our young people lack today".[2]

In October 1998 he received the Order of the Arrow Distinguished Service Award.[3] The year before, in April 1997, Ratcliffe was arrested at Miami International Airport when the security scan showed he had inadvertently left a handgun in his luggage.[4]

During his tenure, Ratcliffe created the Nationally Coordinated Endowment Emphasis to increase the level of endowment giving to local councils.[5] He also created the James E. West Fellowship, the 1910 Society, and the Founders Circle to focus on endowments. These efforts effectively doubled local council endowments and allowed National to direct funds to major improvements in the high-adventure bases. Under Ratcliffe's administration, the Operation First Class program, now known as Scoutreach, was introduced to provide training and develop the resources necessary to serve at-risk youth in urban and rural areas.

Retirement and later years[edit]

Ratcliffe received a retirement benefit of $2.6 million when he retired in May 2000.[6] He received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Wittenberg in 2004.[7] Ratcliffe currently lives in Southlake, Texas and serves on the coordinating committees of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and the World Foundation.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts". Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Boy Scout leader urges knife safety". Japan Times. March 9, 1998. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Chief Scout Executive Receives Distinguished Service Award". National Bulletin. Order of the Arrow. 1988. Retrieved September 29, 2006. 
  4. ^ "Boy Scouts' Top Official Arrested on Gun Charge". The New York Times. April 29, 1997. Retrieved 3006-09-29. 
  5. ^ "The Jere Ratcliffe Years". Scouting. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved September 29, 2006. 
  6. ^ Levine, Daniel S. (November 16, 2003). "Upward trend: Nonprofit work pays nicely for a handful of executives". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved September 29, 2006. 
  7. ^ "'Hero' Teacher Escalante Addresses Students At Wittenberg Commencement May 9". Wittenberg University. 2004. Retrieved September 29, 2006. 

Boy Scouts of America
Preceded by
Ben H. Love
Chief Scout Executive
Succeeded by
Roy Williams