Ever since 1910, when an American businessman brought the scouting movement from England to the United States, the Boy Scouts have done their very best to be of service to their communities and their country. Today, Boy Scouts continue to follow these ideals in their own towns and cities, making selfless and generous behavior a part of their everyday life. Since its founding, more than 110 million boys have discovered the timeless values of duty, honor, and service through the Boy Scouts.
Origins of the Boy Scouts
Today’s scouting movement had its roots in the mind of a 19th century English war hero and his desire to train soldiers to survive in foreign territory. Born in London in 1857, Robert Baden-Powell spent much of his life serving in the British cavalry in India, Europe, and South Africa. Baden-Powell based the idea for the boys’ organization on his own experiences as a youngster in England and as a soldier in the British military.
Baden Powell staged the first Boy Scout camp in 1907. For two weeks, boys lived in army tents and were instructed in camping skills, tracking, woodcraft, first aid, and the virtues of honor, dignity, and good citizenship.
After the camp, Baden-Powell wrote the first Boy Scout manual, called Scouting for Boys. It became an instant bestseller, and within weeks, scout troops dotted the British Isles, eventually spreading across the Atlantic and throughout the world.
Boys in the United States were thrilled by the promise of outdoor adventure depicted in Baden-Powell’s bestseller, while leaders of youth organizations quickly grasped its potential for training. Social reformers had long been concerned about the effects of increased urbanization on America’s youth. Worried that children would forget the rural past of their ancestors, reformers like Ernest Seton and Daniel Beard created organizations to promote physical strength, self-reliance, and resourcefulness among American boys.
The Boy Scout Purpose
There have been many changes in American society between 1910 and today, but the Boy Scouts have maintained the same principles throughout, focusing on character-building, self-reliance, good citizenship, and exploring nature. The Boy Scouts have come a long way, and helping young Americans maneuver toward adulthood is as important today as it was a hundred years ago. It helps that the Boy Scouts know exactly who they are: A strong sense of identity allows a firm grasp on core values, but at the same time, the Boy Scouts meet changing times with the confidence and courage to change. As a result, the Boy Scouts remain vibrant today and are successful in guiding young people as they assume the responsibilities of adulthood.