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The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
The first Scouting activity took place in August 1907 in England. It was at this time that Scouting's founder, Robert Stevenson Smythe Baden-Powell took 22 boys to an island off the coast of England called Brownsea. Over the course of the next week, B-P tested his idea of a youth organization called Boy Scouting.
A year later the movement had grown to encompass most of the British Empire and even into Europe. A Chicago publisher named William D. Boyce encountered Scouting while lost in the London fog and became so impressed with B-P's ideas that he decided to bring it to America.
The Boy Scouts of America was founded February 8, 1910. Besides Boyce, the organization's founders included Earnest Thompson Seton (a writer and illustrator of nature and woodcraft books for boys), and Daniel Carter Beard (another writer and illustrator of nature and woodcraft books for boys). Both men had already founded youth organizations but had joined forces with Boyce to create the BSA.
While Seton served as Chief Scout, and Beard as the National Commissioner, James E. West became the organization's first Chief Scout Executive. With West's superb organizational abilities the movement soon gained momentum. Interestingly enough, there had been Boy Scout troops in the United States since 1909 when B-P's book Scouting for Boys was first published there.
In 1930 the Boy Scouts of America identified a need to reach younger boys, giving them some of the same benefits boys between 11 and 18 had enjoyed for twenty years. The Cub Scout program was inaugurated that year and has since grown from a program for boys aged 8 to 11, into a family oriented program for boys grades 1 through 5.
Prior to 1930, the BSA had a program known as Senior Scouts for older boys within a Scout troop. The Air Scouts and Sea Scouts had also been organized for older Scouts.
Over the past 90 years a lot has happened to Scouting both in the States and across the globe. In fact, come check out what Central New Jersey Council has been up to.
- Joan Andrews
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