History of Scouting

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History of Scouting

  • An Overview of Scouting History in the US and World

  • 2003

  • Michael R. Brown

Why Is This Important?

  • Our fraternity is based on Scouting principles.

  • Our founders were all involved in Scouting.

  • In 1932, the BSA National Committee approved APO as an ‘official’ program. We have been listed in BSA literature since.

  • Until 1967, we required Scouting involvement for membership.

  • Many of our Brothers come to our fraternity because of their and our Scouting background.

  • Those who don’t have this background may not understand what Scouting is all about.

What Is Scouting?

  • A program of character building and citizenship based in the out-of-doors.

  • Program is used world-wide, with programs geared to specific age and gender groups.

  • It is based on a Scout Promise and Scout Law.

  • Each country customizes it to their culture, but still adheres to fundamental principles.

Fundamental Principles

  • The Scout Movement is:

  • A voluntary non-political education movement for young people, open to all without distinction of origin, race, or creed, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by the Founder.

    • -(World Organization of the Scout Movement)

Fundamental Principles

  • Scouting is…

    • A Movement
    • Voluntary
    • Non-political
    • Educational
    • For young people
    • Open to all (who are willing to adhere to its purpose, principle, and method).

Fundamental Principles

  • Purpose of the Scout Movement:

    • To contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities.
    • -(World Organization of the Scout Movement)

Fundamental Principles

  • Principles of the Scout Movement:

    • “Duty to God”
    • “Duty to Others”
    • “Duty to Self”
    • Adherence to a Promise and Law
  • All member groups must abide by this

    • -(World Organization of the Scout Movement)

Fundamental Principles

  • Elements of the Scout Method:

    • A Promise and Law
    • Learning by Doing
    • Patrol (or team) System
    • Symbolic Framework
    • Personal progression
    • Nature
    • Adult Support

Aims of Scouting

  • Character Development

  • Citizenship Training

  • Personal Fitness

  • -(Boy Scouts of America)

Methods of Scouting

Methods of Scouting

  • Scout Oath (or Promise)

  • "On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight”

  • -BSA

Methods of Scouting Scout Law






  • KIND

Methods of Scouting


  • Be Prepared


  • Do a Good Turn Daily

Methods of Scouting



Methods of Scouting

  • Four Goals of Girl Scouting

    • Developing Self-potential
    • Relating to Others
    • Developing Values
    • Contributing to Society

Methods of Scouting

  • Girl Scout Promise

  • On my honor, I will try:

  • To serve God and my country,

  • To help people at all times,

  • And to live by the Girl Scout Law

Methods of Scouting

  • Girl Scout Law

  • I will do my best to be

  • honest and fair,

  • friendly and helpful,

  • considerate and caring,

  • courageous and strong, and

  • responsible for what I saw and do, and to

  • respect myself and others,

  • respect authority,

  • use resources wisely,

  • make the world a better place, and

  • be a sister to every Girl Scout

Scout Emblem: World Crest

  • Based on fleur-de-lis (trefoil)

  • Used on compass: points the way.

  • Three points are three points of scout oath: Duty to God, others, and self (obeying Law & Oath).

  • Band around the three points symbolizes world brotherhood.

  • The rope symbolizes unity, the knot strength of world scout unity.

  • Purple denotes leadership and service, white purity.

Scout Emblem: BSA’s emblem

  • Based on fleur-de-lis (trefoil)

  • Used on compass: points the way

  • Stars are truth & knowledge

  • Three points are three points of scout oath: Duty to God, country and others, and self

  • Scroll represents smile, has Scout motto on it, knot represents good turn

Guide Emblem: World Trefoil

  • Based on trefoil

  • Three leaves are three fold promise: duty to God, country and others, and self

  • Stars are Promise and Law

  • Flame represents love of humanity

  • Pointed vein is compass point showing the way

  • Gold & Blue: sun shining over all the children of the world


  • Robert Baden-Powell

  • Ernest Thompson Seton

  • Dan Beard

  • William Boyce

  • James E. West

  • Olave Baden-Powell

  • Juliette Low

Other Important Characters

  • E. Urner Goodman

  • H. Roe Bartle

  • William Hillcourt

  • Norman Rockwell

Robert S.S. Baden-Powell

  • Baden-Powell is considered the Founder of Scouting.

  • Born 1857 in England.

  • Attended Charterhouse. Was a poor student, but had good dramatic and artistic skills. Learned outdoor skills on own and on trips with older brothers.

  • Entered military service in 1876 as a sub-lieutenant.


  • Served 8 years in India.

  • Assigned to Africa. Used his outdoor skills as a military scout during the Zulu uprising.

  • Assigned to Malta. Served as intelligence officer.

  • Started to write Aids to Scouting to teach others his scouting skills. Taught in small groups called ‘patrols’.


  • Baden-Powell’s “Scouting” program was very radical.

    • Men were in small groups under leadership of one of their own, not an officer.
    • Method of training was by games and activities, not drilling.
    • What was being taught was self-reliance and independence, and thinking on your own.


  • As a colonel during the Boer War in 1899, defended Mafeking during a 217 day siege.

  • His actions made him a hero to the British people and promotion to Major General.

  • Unknown to B-P, his Aids to Scouting became a popular book, and many used it to teach youth.

  • Remained in Africa to establish South African Constabulary.


  • After returning to England, was inspired to re-write military manual into something more suitable to youth. Used Seton and Beard’s work as inspiration.

  • Tried out his “scheme” in August, 1907 with weeklong camp at Brownsea Island with 22 boys from different backgrounds.

  • Success lead to publication of Scouting for Boys in 1908 in six parts.


  • Established Boy Scout Association in 1908.

  • Knighted in 1909 for his military service.

  • Retired from military service in 1910 as a lieutenant general to start his “second life”.

  • Baden-Powell would thus devote the remainder of his life to Scouting, both in the UK and world-wide.

Baden Powell

  • Established Girl Guide Association in 1910.

  • Would met and marry Olave Soames in 1912.

  • Proclaimed Chief Scout of the World, at first World Scout Jamboree in 1920.

  • In 1929, made a peer for establishing Scouting. First Baron of Gilwell, Gilwell being center of scout leader training (Wood Badge).

  • Died in 1941 in Africa.

Ernest Thompson Seton

  • Artist, Naturalist, Author.

  • 1860-1946.

  • Established Woodcraft Indians in 1902, a program for boys based on American Indian Lore. Program spread to a few countries.

  • Merged Woodcraft Indians into BSA in 1910, became BSA’s Chief Scout.

Ernest Thompson Seton

  • Wrote first Boy Scout handbook, a combination of B-Ps work and his own Birch Bark Rolls.

  • Wanted BSA’s highest award to be called Wolf Scout. Called Eagle Scout instead.

  • Left BSA in 1915. Disagreements as to why.

  • Re-established Woodcraft League, now for boys and girls. Organization died in late 1940s, but program lives on in other groups.

  • Some works: Wild Animals I Have Known, Two Little Savages, Rolf in the Woods, Birch Bark Rolls, Book of Woodcraft, and many more.

Daniel Carter Beard

  • Writer, Artist, Naturalist.

  • 1850-1946.

  • Established Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905, later in 1909 the Boy Pioneers, a program for boys based on the American frontiersman.

  • Merged SDB/BP into BSA in 1910, became BSA’s National Scout Commissioner.

Daniel Carter Beard

  • Known as “Uncle Dan” to many youth, longtime contributor to Boy’s Life.

  • Helped design Boy Scout Uniform and First Class Badge. Proposed Eagle Scout as BSA’s highest award.

  • A National Honorary member of APO.

  • Some works: American Boy’s Handy Book, illustrated Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

William D. Boyce

  • American newspaper publisher.

  • Lost in London fog in 1909. A Boy Scout helped him, without accepting a tip. Learning about Scouting, brought it to USA and incorporated the BSA, but had little involvement afterwards.

  • Later established Lone Scouts of America for rural youth in 1915. LSA merged into BSA in 1924 as Lone Scout program, soon dropping their unique award system. Lone Scout program still exists today.

James E. West

  • Attorney working for child’s rights.

  • Was orphaned and crippled at early age.

  • Chief Scout Executive of BSA, 1910-1943.

  • Strong leadership of BSA got it thru the early years: merger of rival scouting groups, WWI, first National Jamboree, and more.

  • A National Honorary member of APO.

Olave Baden-Powell

  • Olave Soames married B-P in 1912.

  • Became involved with Girl Guides, eventually becoming Chief Guide of Girl Guides, replacing B-P’s sister, Agnes, in 1918.

  • Appointed World Chief Guide in 1930.

  • Made Dame Grand Cross of BE, 1932.

  • Died in 1977.

Juliette Low

  • Born 1861 in Savannah, GA.

  • Founder of Girl Scouts of the USA.

  • Befriended B-P in 1911 and learned of Scouting and Guiding. Involved with Guides in the U.K.

  • Inspired by this, she established the Girl Scouts in 1912 in Savannah, and dedicated her life to the movement.

  • Died in 1926.

E. Urner Goodman

  • Early Scoutmaster and later Scout Executive in Philadelphia and Chicago Councils, National Program Director 1931-51.

  • Established Order of the Arrow at council camp at Treasure Island in 1915.

  • Order of the Arrow would became the official honor society within the BSA.

  • OA was inspired by Seton’s work with Woodcraft Indians.

H. Roe Bartle

  • Became a Scout Executive in 1921 in Wyoming, later moved to St. Joseph and then Kansas City.

  • Our National President from 1931-46.

  • Established Mic-O-Say in 1925, a rival program to OA. This program spread to other councils, and still exists today in the two he established.

  • Later entered public office in the 1950s, retiring as a scout executive.

William Hillcourt

  • “Green Bar Bill”, “Scoutmaster to the World.”

  • Born Vilhelm Bjerregaard Jensen in Denmark in 1900.

  • A Boy Scout in Denmark, earned Knight-Scout, highest in Denmark.

  • In 1925, started on a world tour with a scouting theme. In US, worked with the BSA, and stayed.

Green Bar Bill

  • Started writing and editing Scouting Magazine.

  • Wrote first Handbook for Patrol Leaders.

  • Started a column in Boy’s Life aimed at Patrol Leaders under the byline of “Green Bar Bill.”

  • Introduced Wood Badge, an advanced leadership program for Scoutmasters, to BSA.

  • Also wrote Scout Field Book and two editions of the Boy Scout Handbook.

Green Bar Bill

  • “Retired” in 1965.

  • Wrote a bio of B-P, World Brotherhood editions of B-P’s Scouting for Boys and Aids for Scoutmasters.

  • In 1978, wrote new editions of Boy Scout Handbook bringing back an outdoor orientation as part of the “All Out for Scouting” program. Received Silver Buffalo for this work.

  • Died in 1992 in Sweden during a world tour, the day before returning to his homeland.

Norman Rockwell

  • Famous American Illustrator.

  • 1894-1978.

  • First professional job as Boys’ Life artist, later art director, 1912-16.

  • From 1925-76, did 50 calendars depicting scouts, establishing for many the “image” of scouting. First two done free as a thanks to BSA.

  • Would receive a Silver Buffalo for his work.

Establishment of BSA

  • Boy Scouts of America incorporated in 1910.

  • Later, a group under the leadership of Edgar Robinson of the YMCA brought together almost all youth organizations to truly create the program.

  • Many early “rival” Scouting programs merged into BSA.

  • BSA would get Congressional Charter in 1916.

  • BSA is a member of WOSM as the scouting organization in the USA.

Historic Highlights

  • 1912: BSA purchases Boy’s Life magazine from scout who started it and made official BSA mag.

  • Scouts helped out during WWI

  • 1930s: Cub Scouts started, expanded Senior Scout program started which would include Sea, Air, and “land” based programs.

  • 1932: Schiff Scout Reservation opened in N.J.

  • 1935: planned First National Jamboree cancelled due to infantile paralysis epidemic.

  • 1937: First National Jamboree held in D.C.

Historic Highlights

  • 1938 & 1941, Waite Phillips gives land on his N.M. ranch that becomes Philmont

  • During WWII, Scouts gave service to country: selling war bonds, gathering paper and scrap metal, victory gardens, messenger and emergency services, etc.

  • After WWII, Scouts helped revise scouting in other countries thru World Friendship Fund.

Historic Highlights

  • 1950: Second National Jamboree held in Valley Forge, PA.

  • USPS issues first Boy Scout stamp.

  • 1950s: Scouts do Get Out the Vote campaigns.

  • 1960: 50th Anniversary & Fifth National Jamboree held in Colorado City.

  • 1967: BSA hosts twelfth World Jamboree in Idaho.

Historic Highlights

  • 1970: Project SOAR (Save Our American Resources) begun.

  • 1971: Exploring Program goes co-ed.

  • 1972: the “improved” scouting program, with a more urban emphasis, was introduced. Membership drops.

  • 1973-76: various projects relating to the Bicentennial are begun.

Historic Highlights

  • Late 70s, the “All Out for Scouting” program restored a more traditional camping-oriented program.

  • Tiger Cubs, for 7yo, introduced in 1982.

  • Varsity Scouts, for 14-17yo, introduced in 1984.

  • 1985: 75th Anniversary of BSA. 11th National Jamboree held at Ft. A.P. Hill, Virginia.

  • 1987: begun campaign against 5 unacceptables: drug abuse, hunger, child abuse, illiteracy, and youth unemployment. Drugs: A Deadly Game program, and Youth Protection Training begun.

Historic Highlights

  • 1988: Scouting for Food begun, largest National Good Turn ever.

  • 1989: BSA allows women to hold any volunteer position.

  • 1990s: BSA helps to re-establish scouting in the former USSR and other former communist countries.

  • 1998-2000: BSA aimed to perform 200 million hours of service to the community as the Service to America program. Completes 214 million hours.

Establishment of GSUSA

  • Girl Scouts of the USA incorporated in 1912. National Organization established in 1915.

  • GSUSA would also get Congressional Charter in 1950

  • GSUSA is a member of WAGGGS as the Girl Scouting organization in the USA

  • Today has 300+ Councils, serving 2.7 million girls

Establishment of Camp Fire

  • Established as Camp Fire Girls in Vermont in 1910 by Luther and Charlotte Gulick.

  • Program build around self-reliance and leadership. Wo-He-Lo (Work, Health, Love) is their watch word.

  • E.T. Seton and his wife, Grace, Dan Beard and his sister Lina were involved in its organization. Seton’s Woodcraft Indian program a great influence on Camp Fire program.

Camp Fire

  • The BSA viewed Camp Fire as their counterpart for girls and not the GSUSA. James West was member of their Executive Board. Same people involved in both groups.

  • Camp Fire went co-ed in 1975.

  • Renamed Camp Fire USA in 2001.

  • Today has 125 Councils in 40 states, serving 630,000 youth.

Establishment of WOSM

  • World Organization of the Scout Movement.

  • An international, non-governmental organization composed of its recognized National Scout Organizations(NSO), one per country.

  • Formed in 1920 as the Boy Scout International Bureau.

  • There are more than 25 million Scouts, young people and adults, male and female, in 216 countries and territories. Only 7 countries do not have Scouting!

World Jamboree

  • International gathering of Scouts from around the world (14-18yo). Around 30,000 attend.

  • Held every four years, the next one (21th) will be in England for the 100th Anniversary of Scouting in 2007.

  • First World Jamboree in 1920 in England.

  • BSA hosted the World Jamboree in 1967.

  • The fifteenth Jamboree, planned for Iran in 1979, was “postponed.”

Other World Events

  • World Moots (for Rovers, 18-25yo) every 4 years.

    • Next one in Taiwan in 2004 (the 12th).
  • World Youth Forums every 3 years, in conjunction with World Scout Conference.

    • Next one in Tunisia in 2005 (the 9th).
  • Jamboree On the Air (JOTA) every year, along with Jamboree On the Internet (JOTI).

  • Runs International Camp in Switzerland.

Establishment of WAGGGS

  • World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

  • An international, non-governmental organization composed of its recognized national Guide/Scout organizations.

  • Formed in 1928, out of International Council.

  • There are over 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 140 countries.

BSA Programs

  • BSA has three programs: Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturing.

  • Each program is geared to specific age groups.

  • Has 319 councils serving 3 million boys and girls.

Cub Scouts

  • Tiger Cubs

    • Grade: 1st (~6yo)
    • Program based on boy/adult partners
  • Cub Scouts

    • Grades: 2nd & 3rd (~7-8yo)
    • Home and family based program
    • Advancement: Bobcat, Wolf, Bear
  • Webelos Scouts

    • Grades: 4th & 5th (~9-10yo)
    • More advanced program leading to Boy Scouts
    • Advancement: Webelos, Arrow of Light

Boy Scout Program

  • Traditional Program for Boys 11-17yo.

  • Units are called Troops, subdivided into Patrols.

  • Units are youth-led by Senior Patrol Leaders and Patrol Leaders, adults are more of counselors.

  • Advancement program of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle Scout.

Eagle Scout

  • Highest Boy Scout Award.

  • Requirements include:

    • Earning 21 merit badges.
    • Serving in a leadership position.
    • Planning and carrying out a community service project.
  • Only 2% of Boy Scouts earn it.

Venturing Program

  • New co-ed program for high school & college age youth (14-20yo). Replaces Exploring.

  • Units are called Venturing Crews, members are Venturers.

  • Youth members fully run program, adults are only advisors.

  • Advancement is Bronze, Gold, Silver, Ranger.

  • Sea Scouts, a nautical program established in 1912, is part of this program. Sea Scouts have advancement of: Apprentice, Ordinary, Able, Quartermaster.

2005 National Scout Jamboree

  • July-August, 2005 at Ft A.P. Hill, Virginia.

  • 40,000+ participants, several from foreign countries.

  • Alpha Phi Omega plans to have a presence there with a booth manned by APO members.

  • Jamborees are held every 4 years, and are large displays of scouting. This will be the 16th one. Next one in 2010, at Ft A.P. Hill, for the 100th Anniversary of the BSA.

High Adventure

  • Philmont Scout Ranch, 215sqmi ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.

  • Florida Sea Base in the Florida Keys.

  • Northern Tier in Ely, Minnesota.

Order of the Arrow

  • Scouting’s National Honor Society.

  • OA is a service organization, like APO, and also emphasizes leadership.

  • Established in 1915 at Philadelphia Council, soon spread to other councils.

  • 1938, made an experimental program.

  • 1946, made an official program of BSA.

Order of the Arrow

  • Holds biennial Conferences at college campuses, 4-5 day event of training and fellowship. APO usually has a presence.

  • National Leadership Seminars, weekend training events run in various locations.

  • Since late 80s, run Trail Crews at Philmont to build new trails. Recently added Wilderness Crews at Northern Tier to build/repair portage trails.

Wood Badge

  • Advanced Adult leader training used world-wide, but each country’s is different.

  • Created by B-P, symbol are small wooden beads he collected during Zulu uprising.

  • In 1970s, added in Leadership Development from White Stag program. Teaches the 11 skills of leadership.

  • Well known and respected leadership training program, recently revised in the US.

Silver Buffalo

  • Award given at the National level annually to those who contribute to youth, regardless of their Scouting association.

  • Recipients include: B-P, Beard, Boyce, West, Seton, Goodman, Bartle, 13 Presidents, Norman Rockwell, Roger Tory Peterson, Norman Vincent Peale, Charles Schulz, Generals MacArthur, Westmoreland, Powell, Burl Ives, Hank Aaron, Milt Caniff, Neil Armstrong, Bob Hope, Jimmie Stewart, Irving Berlin, Walt Disney, Charles Lindbergh, Richard Byrd, and an Unknown Scout.

GSUSA Program

  • Has several age specific programs:

    • Daisy 5-6yo
    • Brownie 6-8yo
    • Junior 8-11yo
    • Cadette 11-14yo
    • Senior 14-17yo
    • Campus Girl Scouts college-based groups
  • Studio 2B will soon replace the Cadette & Senior programs

Gold Award

  • Highest Girl Scout Award, earned by Senior Girl Scouts.

  • Award established in 1980, replacing Golden Eaglette(1918-39); Curved Bar(1940-63); and First Class(1963-80).

  • Requirements include:

    • Earn four Cadette and Senior GS Interest projects.
    • Earn Career Exploration Pin.
    • Earn Senior Girl Scout Leadership award.
    • Earn Senior Girl Scout Challenge pin.
    • Planning and carrying out a community service project of at least 50 hours.

Camp Fire Program

  • Several programs, including Club based ones:

    • Starflight: Kindergarten - 2 grades.
    • Adventure: 3-5 grades.
    • Discovery: 6-8 grades.
    • Horizon: 9-12th grades.
  • Wohelo Award- Camp Fire’s highest honor, ~200 earned per year. Requires completing four "Reflections" and advocate for improved social conditions.


  • BSA web site www.scouting.bsa.org

  • GSUSA web site www.gsusa.org

  • CampFire web site www.campfireusa.org

  • WOSM www.wosm.org

  • WAGGGS www.wagggs.org

  • US Scouting Service project www.usscouts.org

  • Order of the Arrow www.oa-bsa.org


  • The Boy-Man, by Tim Jeal, 1990

  • Baden-Powell--The Two Lives of a Hero, by William Hillcourt with Olave Baden-Powell, 1964

  • The Chief: Ernest Thompson Seton and the Changing West, by H. Allen Anderson, 1990

  • Boy Scouts: An American Adventure, Robert Peterson, 1985

  • History of the Boy Scouts of America, William D. Murray, 1937.


  • A Thing of the Spirit: The Life of E. Urner Goodman, Nelson Block, 2000.

  • Brotherhood of Cheerful Spirit: A History of the O.A., 3rd ed, 2000.

  • A History of Wood Badge in the US, 1988.

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