SANTA FE, N.M. — Boy Scouts across the nation are preparing a care package campaign to comfort the family and associates of a 13-year-old boy killed in a terrifying flash flood Friday morning at Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico.
Alden Brock, of Sacramento, Calif., was killed when a rush of water 23 feet deep and 300 feet wide swept over the camp where he and 11 others had set tents 20 feet above what is normally a small, shallow creek, according to New Mexico State Police.
Three other campers were also swept away, but were able to hold onto the ground or other objects and survive. Brock was found about a mile from camp.
“I can’t imagine being in a tent at 4:30 in the morning and having that kind of flood,” said Chris Shelby, scout executive for the Great Southwest Council, which governs scouts in New Mexico territory, including Philmont.
“The family, the crew members and the whole council, they need our words of encouragement and support and prayers,” Shelby said.
Shelby said all Boy Scout troops are awaiting word from the western regional council to finalize plans about sending care packages to Brock’s family and friends in Sacramento, and to the staff at Philmont.
“It’s a real tight-knit community, so they’re hurting up there at Philmont, too,” Shelby said. “Your campers become your kids.”
Brock was on one of the ranch’s famous 12-day backcountry treks. The ranch hosts about 20,000 campers each year and is known as the “mecca of scouting,” Shelby said.
Brock and his fellow campers were accompanied by several troop and camp leaders.
Leaders at his home group, Pack 380 in the Golden Empire Council, said in a statement that they are “extremely saddened” by Brock’s death.
They are coordinating care with Brock’s family, troop leaders and the family’s church.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this tragic incident. This is a very difficult time for our Scouting family,” they said in a statement.
Shelby said he expects care packages to flow freely to Sacramento and Philmont once the western region gives the green light.