History of the BSA Highlights

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1910

  • The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated
    • February 8, 1910
    • Under the laws of the District of Columbia
  • Thirty-four national representatives of boys’ work agencies met, June 21
    • Met in a temporary national headquarters in a YMCA office in New York
    • Developed organization plans
  • Founders of Scouting: (click here to learn more)
    • William D. Boyce, incorporator
    • Colin H. Livingstone, president
    • Daniel Carter Beard, national Scout commissioner
    • Ernest Thompson Seton, Chief Scout
    • James E. West, Chief Scout Executive
    • President William Howard Taft, honorary president
    • Former President Theodore Roosevelt, honorary vice president and Chief Scout Citizen

1911

  • National Council office opened, January 2
    • 200 Fifth Avenue, New York City
    • 7 employees
  • First annual meeting
    • At the White House, Washington, D.C.
    • Addressed by President Taft
  • The Scout Oath, Scout Law, badges, and fundamental policies were adopted
  • National Court of Honor presented the first awards for heroism: 22 Bronze Medals

1912

  • First Eagle Scout, August 12
    • Arthur Eldred
  • First national civic Good Turns were performed
    • Promotion of a safe and sane Fourth of July
  • Sea Scouting began
  • Boys’ Life became the official BSA magazine

1913

  • First local council charters were issued
  • Scouting became the official magazine for volunteers

1914

  • First Scout Sunday was celebrated
  • First tree-planting project was held in New York
  • Training for Scout leaders was developed
  • First William T. Hornaday gold medal for the conservation of wildlife

1915

  • National office to train all Scouters was established
  • Fifty-seven merit badge pamphlets were issued
  • The Handbook for Scoutmasters was issued
  • The Order of the Arrow began

1916

  • Constitution and bylaws were adopted
  • The first college course in Scouting began at Teachers College, New York

1917

  • Scouting’s full resources were placed at the service of the government
    • Slogan: ‘‘Help Win the War’’
  • The first winter camp was held by Chicago Scouts

Scouts’ War Effort: 1917–1918

  • Sold Liberty bonds and war savings stamps totaling more than $355 million.
  • Collected 100 railroad cars full of nutshells and peach pits for gas mask manufacturing
  • Distributed more than 300 million pieces of government literature
  • Aided in food and fuel conservation projects
  • Planted 12,000 Boy Scout war gardens

1918

  • BSA adopted the slogan ‘‘The War Is Over, but Our Work Is Not’’
  • Scouts rendered nationwide service during the influenza epidemic

1919

  • First four Gold Medals were awarded by the National Court of Honor for saving a life at the risk of the rescuer’s own
  • U.S. Bureau of Naturalization invited Scouts to aid in its Americanization program
  • President Woodrow Wilson established National Boy Scout Week

1920–1929

  • First World Jamboree, 1920
    • London, England
    • 8,000 Scouts from 34 countries were present
    • 301 BSA members attended
  • The international left handclasp was adopted, 1923
  • Northern Tier high-adventure base began offering canoe adventures, 1923
  • Every Scout a Swimmer program began, 1924
  • Second world jamboree, 1924
    • Copenhagen, Denmark
    • 56 BSA members attended
  • First Silver Buffalo Awards for distinguished service to boyhood were awarded, 1926
    • Twenty-two awards given
    • The first was awarded to Baden-Powell
    • The second was presented in the honor of the unknown Scout whose Good Turn brought Scouting to America
  • National office was moved to 2 Park Avenue, New York City, 1927

1930–1939

  • Cub Scout program was formally launched, 1930
    • 5,102 Cub Scouts by the end of the first year
  • First Silver Beaver awards for distinguished service to boyhood within a council, 1931
  • President Roosevelt called for help from the Scouts for the distressed and needy, 1934
    • Nationwide Good Turn
    • Collected 1,812,284 items of clothing, household furnishings, foodstuffs, and supplies
  • Silver Jubilee of Scouting, 1935
  • Membership passed 1 million, 1935
  • Proposed national jamboree was canceled because of an infantile paralysis epidemic, 1935
  • First national jamboree, 1937
    • Washington, D.C., at the invitation of President Roosevelt
    • 27,232 attended, representing 536 councils
  • Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp established
    • Gift from Waite Phillips, 1938
    • 35,857 acres of land near Cimarron, New Mexico

1940–1949

  • Philmont Scout Ranch established
    • Additional gift from Waite Phillips, 1941
      • Residence and ranch buildings
      • Livestock and operating ranch equipment
      • Contiguous to former Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp
      • Total combined acreage: 127,000
  • First Silver Antelope Awards for distinguished service to youth within a region, 1943
  • Councils and campsites by 1949
    • 543 councils
    • 831 campsites
    • 288,545 acres

Scouts’ War Effort: 1941–1945

  • Included 69 specific requests from the government
  • Collected 30 million pounds of rubber during a two-week drive
  • 20,000 Scouts earned the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Medal for Victory Gardens
  • Distributed pledge cards for war bonds and savings stamps
  • Distributed stamp posters
  • Collected aluminum, wastepaper, and salvage
  • Conducted defense housing surveys
  • Distributed air-raid posters
  • Served as messengers and dispatch bearers
  • Assisted emergency medical units
  • Served as fire watchers

1950–1959

  • Second national jamboree, 1950
    • Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
    • 47,163 Scouts and leaders attended
  • First Boy Scout stamp issued by the U.S. Post Office Department, 1950
  • 2 million pounds of clothing collected for domestic and foreign relief, 1952
  • Distributed more than a million posters and 30 million Liberty Bell doorknob hangers in the Get-Out-the-Vote campaign, 1952
  • 20-millionth member joined, 1952
  • Third national jamboree, 1953
    • Irvine Ranch, California
    • 45,401 Scouts and leaders attended
  • Boys’ Life circulation passed 1 million, 1954
  • National office moved to New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1954
  • More than 100,000 units, 1954
  • More than 1 million adult volunteers, 1954
  • Fourth national jamboree, 1957
    • Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
    • 50,100 Scouts and leaders attended
  • 15 millionth copy of the Handbook for Boys, 1957

1960–1969

  • Scouting’s Golden Jubilee, 1960
  • Fifth national jamboree, 1960
    • Colorado Springs, Colorado
    • 53,378 Scouts and leaders attended
  • Johnston Historical Museum
    • Dedicated June 4, 1960
    • New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Sixth national jamboree, 1964
    • Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
    • 52,000 Scouts and leaders attended
  • 500,000th Eagle Scout honored, 1965
  • 40 millionth member registered, 1965
  • BSA hosted the 12th world jamboree, 1967
    • Farragut State Park, Idaho
    • 12,000 Scouts and leaders from 107 countries attended
  • First female Explorers, 1969
  • Seventh national jamboree, 1969
    • Farragut State Park, Idaho
    • 35,000 youth and leaders attended

1970–1979

  • Scouting Keep America Beautiful Day
    • June 5, 1971
    • Scouts collected more than a million tons of litter
  • National Eagle Scout Association formed, 1972
  • Eighth national jamboree at two sites, 1973
    • Moraine State Park, Pennsylvania
    • Farragut State Park, Idaho
    • 64,000 youth and leaders attended
  • Ninth national jamboree, 1977
    • Moraine State Park, Pennsylvania
    • 28,600 Scouts and leaders attended
  • National office moved to Irving, Texas, 1979

1980–1989

  • 30 millionth Cub Scout, 1980
  • Florida National High Adventure Sea Base was opened for Scouts, 1980 
  • 10th national jamboree, 1981
    • Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia
    • 30,000 Scouts and leaders attended
  • The 1 millionth Eagle Scout, 1982
    • Alexander M. Holsinger
  • 75th anniversary, 1985
    • Theme: “Pride in the Past ... Footsteps to the Future"
  • 11th national jamboree, 1985
    • Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia
    • 32,615 Scouts and leaders attended
  • First Scouting for Food National Good Turn, 1988
    • More than 60 million food items were collected
  • 12th national jamboree, 1989
    • Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia
    • 33,000 Scouts and leaders attended

1990–1999

  • Learning for Life established, 1991
    • Character-building program for the classroom
    • 700,000 youth participated in the first year
  • 13th national jamboree, 1993
    • Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia
    • 33,000 Scouts and leaders attended
  • 13th national jamboree, 1993
    • Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia
    • 26,000 Scouts and leaders attended
  • 14th national jamboree, 1997
    • Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia
    • 35,000 Scouts and leaders
  • Coed program, Venturing, was launched for youth 14 to 20 years old.

2000–2009

  • The 100-millionth youth member, 2000
    • Mario Castro
  • 15th national jamboree, 2001
    • Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia
    • 40,000 youth and leaders attended
  • National Scouting Museum was built, 2002
    • 50,000-square-foot facility
    • Next to the national office in Irving, Texas
  • 16th national jamboree, 2005
    • Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia
    • 43,000 Scouts and leaders attended
  • ArrowCorps5, 2008
    • In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service
    • 3,600 Scouts and adult volunteers participated
    • $5.6 million worth of improvements made to national parks
  • The 2 millionth Eagle Scout, 2009
    • Anthony Thomas
  • The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, 2009
    • The single largest gift ever made to the BSA
    • Near Beckley, West Virginia
    • Future home for:
      • Scouting Leadership and Training Center
      • National Scout Jamboree

2010-

  • Scouting's 100th Anniversary, 2010

 

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