The Boy Scouts of America celebrate the 100th anniversary of their founding on Monday February 8, 2010.
Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts in England as an organization in 1908 from an idea from his experiences with the British Army in South Africa. Entrepreneur, publisher and adventurer William Boyce brought the scouting program to the US and incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910. You can learn more about the history of scouting in America from this timeline on the Scouting.org website.
While scouting has declined from its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, there are still more than 2.5 million boys and adults involved in all of the various scouting programs. Plus, more than 100 million boys and leaders have been involved in scouting over the last 100 years. What could be more All-American than an image of a Boy Scout doing his duty and many of these scenes have been captured by Norman Rockwell over the years. Many leading figures and more than 2 million boys have gone on to attain the rank of Eagle Scout which is scouting’s highest achievement. There is even a Wikipedia page compiled with notable Eagle Scouts which includes many politicians, judges, astronauts and other well-known figures.
I’m proud to say that I have been a Cub Scout, a Boy Scout, an Eagle Scout and now a Cub Scout Leader for my son. Plus, I have participated in many fine experiences and built lifelong memories because of scouting – camping on weekends and at summer camp, building fires, whittling, playing outdoor games, hiking, getting dirty, building confidence and participating in two high adventure activities through backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and canoeing in the Boundary Waters National Park in Northern Minnesota and Canada.
The 12 Boy Scout Laws are ideals for all to strive for and can probably still be recited by any boy who spent even a year or two in scouting – a Boy Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
Thank you William Boyce for bringing scouting to the United States, and thank you to all of the men and women who have provided guidance and leadership to millions of boys through the years. The tagline from the Scouting 100th Anniversary website sums up the future of scouting in this 100th year of existence:
Celebrating the Adventure…Continuing the Journey
What are your memories of scouting? I look forward to seeing your memories in the comments below. Thank you.