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Boy Scout Troop 835
(Westminster, Colorado)
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The Beginning of Scouting

Scouting's history goes back to the turn of the 20th century to a British Army officer, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell. While stationed in India, he discovered that his men did not know basic first aid or the elementary means of survival in the outdoors. Baden-Powell realized he needed to teach his men many frontier skills, so 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 Boer War, where he became famous by protecting the small town of Mafeking for 217 days, Baden-Powell was amazed to find that his little handbook had caught the interest of English boys. They were using it to play the game of scouting.

Baden-Powell had the vision to see some new possibilities, and he decided to test his ideas on boys. In August 1907, he gathered about 20 boys and took them to Brownsea Island in a sheltered bay off England's southern coast. They set up a makeshift camp that would be their home for the next 12 days.

The boys had a great time! They divided into patrols and played games, went on hikes, and learned stalking and pioneering. They learned to cook outdoors without utensils. Scouting began on that island and would sweep the globe in a few years.

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; a mere two years later, membership in Boy Scouts had tripled.

Scouting comes to America

About this same time, the seeds of Scouting were growing in the United States. On a farm in Connecticut, a naturalist and author named Ernest Thompson Seton was organizing a group of boys called the Woodcraft Indians; and Daniel Carter Beard, an artist and writer, organized the Sons of Daniel Boone. In many ways, the two organizations were similar, but they were not connected. The boys who belonged had never heard of Baden-Powell or of Boy Scouts, and yet both groups were destined to become Boy Scouts one day soon.

But first, an American businessman had to get lost in the fog in England. Chicago businessman and publisher William D. Boyce was groping his way through the fog 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.

Intrigued, the publisher questioned the boy and learned more about Scouting. He visited with Baden-Powell as well and became captured by the idea of Scouting. When Boyce boarded the transatlantic steamer for home, he had a suitcase filled with information and ideas. And so, 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.

After the incorporation of the BSA, a group of public-spirited citizens worked to set up the organization. Seton became the first Chief Scout of the BSA, and Beard was made the national commissioner.

The first executive officer was James E. West, a young man from Washington who had risen above a tragic boyhood and physical disability to become a successful lawyer. He dedicated himself to helping all children to have a better life and led the BSA for 32 years as the Chief Scout Executive.

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.

More History......

  • February 8, 1910- William D. Boyce incorporates Boy Scouts Of America.
  • 1910- Ernest Thompson Seton combines Baden-Powell's book Scouting for Boys and The Birch-Bark Roll to Boy Scouts of America Handbook of Woodcraft, Scouting, and Lifecraft.
  • 1911- BSA publishes 300,000 copies of the first edition of the Handbook for Boys.
  • 1912- Arthur R Eldred of Troop 1 Becomes first Eagle Scout.
  • 1912- Sea Scouting is established
  • 1912- BSA purchases Boys Life Magazine
  • 1913- Norman Rockwell is hired to illustrator for Boys Life.
  • 1913- Registration for Scouts is 25 cents.
  • 1913- the LDS is first religious body to adopt Scouting as part of it ministry.
  • 1916- E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson start up The Order of The Arrow.
  • 1916- U.S. Congress votes to give BSA a federal charter.
  • 1916- Scouting publishes the first 57 merit badges pamphlets.
  • 1918- Rotary International becomes first club sponsor.
  • 1919- President Wilson established National Boy Scout Week.
  • 1920- BSA sends 301 Scouts to inaugural World Jamboree in England.
  • 1924- Scouts with physical disabilities earn first achievement badges.
  • 1924- Norman Rockwell paints first Boy Scout calendar.
  • 1925- Membership reaches 1 million.
  • 1926- First Silver Buffalo award is awarded
  • 1930- Cub Scouting (then known as Cubbing) started for younger boys.
  • 1934- Order of the Arrow becomes official program of BSA.
  • 1935- 5 millionth copy of Handbook for Boys is printed.
  • 1937- First National Scout Jamboree held in Washington 27,232 attend.
  • 1938- Waite Phillips donates 35,857 acres in Cimarron, N.M. for Boy Scout camp, call Philturn       Rocky Mountain Scoutcamp.
  • 1941- Webelos rank is started. Name comes from 3 ranks (Wolf, Bear, & Lion) It will change in 1967 to stand for "We'll Be Loyal Scouts" when Lion den is dropped.
  • 1948- First Wood Badge course is run. 30 men from 12 states attended.
  • 1949-- Age drops to 8 for Cubs, 11 for Boy Scouts and 14 for Explorers.
  • 1950- U.S. Post Office issues first American Boy Scout stamp. The 3 cent stamp shows 3 scouts, the statue of Liberty and the Scout badge.
  • 1952- Membership reaches 3 million.
  • 1953- Cubmaster Don Murphy creates the Pinewood Derby. First event held in Manhattan Beach, CA
  • 1954- Webelos Den is created to keep interest in 10 year-old Cub Scouts and provides bridge to Boy Scouts.
  • 1960- Scouting 50th Birthday Post Office issues 4 cent commemorative stamp.
  • 1965- BSA reaches 2 major milestones. The 40 million Scout and 500,000 Eagle Scout.
  • 1966- Scouting hits the big screen with Walt Disney's Follow Me Boys.
  • 1969- Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong walks on moon. Armstong and Buzz Aldrin (another former scout) had earlier radioed greetings to Scouts attending National Jamboree.
  • 1969- Young women are accepted as participants in Exploring Post.
  • 1972- National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) is started.
  • 1973- First and only time BSA holds two National Jamboree at Farragut State Park in Idaho & Moraine State Park in Pennsylvania. 73,610 attend.
  • 1980- Cub Scouts celebrates 50 years and 30 million Cub Scouts.
  • 1982- Alexander M. Holsiger become millionth Eagle Scout.
  • 1982- Tiger Cubs is started offering 7 year-olds the search, discover, & share".
  • 1984- Varsity Scouts is started.
  • 1998- Venturing Crew is started.
  • 1998- BSA unveils Wood Badge of the 21st Century.
  • 2000- BSA 100 millionth member registered.
  • 2001- In wake of 9-11, Scouts respond to nations call for assistance by collecting gloves, socks, toothbrushes, bottle water and other necessities for rescue workers and victims.
  • 2002- National Scouting Museum opens.
  • 2004- BSA lauches Good Turn For America, a national initiative with Salvation Army, Merican Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.
  • 2007- Eagle Scout Philip Goolkasian of Fresno, CA. wins BSA 100 patch logo.
  • 2009- Anthony Thomas Of Lakeville, Minn. Becomes 2 millionth Eagle Scout.