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Boy Scout History

Founders of Scouting

Robert S. S. Baden-Powell

As a youth, Robert Baden-Powell greatly enjoyed the outdoors, learning about nature and how to live in the
wilderness. After returning as a military hero from service in Africa, Baden-Powell discovered that English boys were
reading the manual on stalking and survival in the wilderness he had written for his military regiment. Gathering
ideas from Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard, and others, he rewrote the manual as a nonmilitary nature
skill book and called it Scouting for Boys. To test his ideas, Baden-Powell brought together 22 boys to camp at
Brownsea Island, off the coast of England. This historic campout was a success and resulted in the advent of Scouting.
Thus, the imagination and inspiration of Baden-Powell, later proclaimed Chief Scout of the World, brought Scouting to
youth the world over.

Ernest Thompson Seton

Born in Scotland, 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 both 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 position of first Chief Scout of the BSA in 1910. His many
volumes of Scoutcraft became an integral part of Scouting, and his intelligence and enthusiasm helped turn an idea
into reality.

Daniel Carter Beard

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 introduced the elements of the First Class Scout badge. "Uncle Dan," as he was known to
boys and leaders, will be remembered as a colorful figure dressed in buckskin who helped form Scouting in the United

William D. Boyce

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.

James E. West

James E. West was appointed the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America in 1911. Although orphaned
and physically handicapped, 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.

*Information about the "Founders of Scouting" was taken from the BSAs official webpage at: