First Scouts

Robert S.S. Baden-Powell was a British hero of the Boer War, and came up with the idea for Scouting in the early 20th Century. To test his idea of a new movement for youth, he took 21 English boys and another adult leader to Brownsea Island off England's southern coast in the summer of 1907. These 21 boys were the world's first Boy Scouts. In a two-week encampment, Baden-Powell taught the boys outdoor skills such as tracking, stalking, ropework, plant identification, and campcraft. He devised games and contests to test their knowledge.

 

Unknown Scout

Baden-Powell formally launched Scouting in 1908. The following year, a Chicago publisher named William D. Boyce was in London on business when he became lost in a thick fog. As he groped to find his bearings, a boy appeared from the fog and asked if he might help. He led Boyce to his destination, and when the publisher offered him a shilling for the kind deed, the boy replied, "Sir, I thank you. I am a Scout. A Scout does not accept tips for courtesies and Good Turns."  Intrigued, Boyce questioned the boy and learned where Baden-Powell could be found. The next day, he interviewed Scouting's founder and was captured by his dream. On his return home, Boyce was determined to establish Scouting in the United States. On February 8, 1910, he filed incorporation papers for the Boy Scouts of America in Washington, D.C.

The Cubs

The early Boy Scout troops were bothered by younger boys who wanted to join in on the fun. Annoyed Scoutmasters, sick of chasing them away, assigned an older Boy Scout to take them off somewhere and keep them occupied.  The problem led to the establishment of Cub Scouting in 1930.  The program was similar to today's Cub Scouting, except that the den chief led the den. The den mother (yes, den mother) was in the background, and, in fact, she was not even a registered leader until 1938.

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