History of Scouting
At the turn of the 20th century,Lord Baden-Powell, a British Army officer stationed in India, found his men didn't know basic first aid or the elementary means of survival in the outdoors. He wrote a small handbook called Aids to Scouting, which emphasized resourcefulness, adaptability, and the qualities of leadership that frontier conditions demanded.
After returning from the war, Baden-Powell found his handbook had become very popular with the English boys, who used it to play the game of Scouting.
Being a visionary, he decided to test his ideas on the boys. In August 1907, he gathered about 20 boys and took them to the Brownsea Island. They set up a makeshift camp, and for 12 days they were taught basic survival skills. They divided into patrols and played games, went on hikes, learned stalking and pioneering, and learned to cook outdoors without utensils. They had a great time!
Scouting began on that island, and within a few years would sweep the globe.
The next year, Baden-Powell published his book Scouting for Boys, and Scouting continued to grow. That same year, more than 10,000 Boy Scouts attended a rally held at the Crystal Palace. Just two years later, membership in Boy Scouts had tripled.
Chicago businessman and publisher William D. Boyce was lost in the fog in England when a boy appeared and offered to take him to his destination. When they arrived, Boyce tried to tip the boy, but the boy refused and courteously explained that he was a Scout and could not accept payment for a Good Turn.
Boyce questioned the boy and learned more about Scouting. Intrigued, he visited with Baden-Powell and became captured by the idea of Scouting. Boyce began his journey home full of information and ideas. On February 8, 1910, Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America.
The "unknown Scout" who helped him in the fog was never heard from again, but he will never be forgotten. His Good Turn is what brought Scouting to our country.
Scouting has grown in the United States from 2,000 Boy Scouts and leaders in 1910 to millions strong today. From a program for Boy Scouts only, it has spread into a program including Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Venturers.
Origins of Cub Scouting
In 1914, Baden-Powell began implementing a program in England for the younger boys who were eager to become Boy Scouts. He based it on Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book.
In 1916, the Wolf Cub program began, and has since spread to other European countries with little change.
Back in America, there was a demand for a similar type of program, however it wasn't until 1930 that Cub Scouting was formally launched. By the end of the year, 5,102 boys were registered. By 1933, the program was introduced across the country, and the first national director of Cub Scouting was appointed.
Cub Scouting in America is different from Scouting in other countries because it is centered in the home and neighborhood. Boys enjoy a wide variety of interesting things in the program that are suited to their age.
A strong influence from Kipling's Jungle Book remains today. The terms "Law of the Pack," "Akela," "Wolf Cub," "grand howl," "den," and "pack" all come from the Jungle Book. At the same time, the Gold and Silver Arrow Points, Webelos emblem, and Arrow of Light emblem are taken from our American Indian heritage.
The Legacy of Baden-Powell
The Scouting program may have changed some over the years, but the ideals have remained the same: character growth, citizenship training and personal fitness.
Baden-Powell never overcame the surprise of the worldwide appeal of Scouting. He travelled worlwide and stayed close to Scouting. When his health became bad, he retired in Kenya in 1938 until his death in 1941. Scouts of different races carried him to his final resting place in a cemetary in Nyeri.
His grave is marked with a simple headstone that bears his name and the Scout sign for "I have gone home." His name is found recorded in Westminster Abbey, along with some of the greatest Britons of all time.
After Baden-Powell's death, a letter was found in his desk that he had written to all Scouts. It included this passage: "Try and leave this world a little better than you found it." These words are a fitting epitaph, for as he won the respect of the great by his strength, he won the hearts of youth by his example.