Scouting and It's Founders
Contributed by Lou Leopold
Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden Powell also known as BP or Lord Baden. Powell was a lieutenant general in the British Army, writer, founder of the Scout Movement and first Chief Scout of The Boy Scouts Association.
After having been educated at Charterhouse School in Surrey, Baden Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden Powell successfully defended the town in the Siege of Mafeking. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were read by boys and used by educators to teach boys life skills. Based on those earlier books, he wrote “Scouting for Boys,” published in 1908 by Sir Arthur Pearson, for youth readership. He held the first Brown Sea Island Scout camp on July 25, 1907, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting.
The first Scout Rally was held at The Crystal Palace in 1909, at which appeared a number of girls dressed in Scout uniform, who told B - P that they were the "Girl Scouts", whereupon BP and his sister Agnes Baden Powell formed the Girl Guides Movement. After his marriage on 30 October 1912 to Olave St Clair Soames, Baden Powell and his wife actively gave guidance to the Scouting and Girl Guiding Movements. Baden Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died and was buried in 1941.
In 1909, Chicago publisher William D. Boyce lost his way in a dense London fog. A boy came to his aid and, after guiding the man, refused a tip, explaining that as a Scout he would not take a tip for doing a Good Turn. This gesture by an unknown Scout inspired a meeting with Robert Baden Powell, the British founder of the Boy Scouts.
As a result, William Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910. He also created the Lone Scouts, which merged with the Boy Scouts of America in 1924
Woodsman, illustrator, and naturalist, Daniel Carter Beard was a pioneering spirit of the Boy Scouts of America. Already 60 years old when the Boy Scouts of America was formed, he became a founder and merged it with his own boys’ organization, the Sons of Daniel Boone.
As the first national Scout commissioner, Beard helped design the original Scout uniform and in- troduced the elements of the First Class Scout badge. “Uncle Dan,” as he was known to boys and leaders, is remembered as a colorful figure dressed in buckskin who helped form Scouting in the United States.
Ernest Thompson Seton immigrated to America as a youth in the 1880s. His fascination with the wilderness led him to become a naturalist, an artist, and an author, and through his works, he influenced youth and adults. Seton established a youth organization called the Woodcraft Indians, and his background of outdoor skills and interest in youth made him a logical choice for the posi- tion of first Chief Scout of the BSA in 1910. His many volumes of Scoutcraft became an integral part of Scouting, and his intelligence and enthu- siasm helped turn an idea into reality.
James E. West was appointed the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America in 1911. Although orphaned and physically disa- bled, he had the perseverance to graduate from law school and become a successful attorney. This same determination provided the impetus to help build Scouting into the largest and most effective youth organization in the world. When he retired in 1943, Dr. West was recognized throughout the country as the true architect of the Boy Scouts of America.