The Boy Scout movement was founded by British Lord Robert
Scouting's first manual was both written and illustrated by
Baden-Powell in 1908. Baden-Powell was a war hero because of his conduct
at Mafeking, a strategic holding action during the South African war
with the Dutch Boers in 1899.
The early American troops took their cues from Baden-Powell's
Scouting for Boys because there was no semblance of a national movement
in the United States. The YMCA men who started most of the early troops
saw Boy Scouting merely as a promising adjunct to their programs for
Millionaire Chicago publisher William Dickson Boyce became
involved in Scouting in 1909. He was visiting London in August of that
year. One afternoon, the city was enshrouded in pea-soup fog. Boyce lost
his bearings in the murk and was approached by a boy of about 12
carrying a lantern who offered to guide him to the address he was
seeking. When Boyce produced a shilling, the boy replied, "No, sir, I am
a scout. Scouts do not accept tips for Good Turns."
The Unknown Scout took Boyce to British Scout headquarters. From
that moment forward, Boyce's interest in Scouting grew. Boyce came home
determined to start Boy Scouting in America. He apparently knew nothing
of the troops already operating or of the YMCA's promotion of Scouting.
On February 8, 1910, Boyce filed incorporation papers for the Boy
Scouts of America in the District of Columbia The purpose, he said,
"Shall be to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other
agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to
train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage,
self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods which are in
common use by Boy Scouts."
The Story Of A Good Turn
One day in 1909 in London, England, An American Visitor, William
D. Boyce, lost his way in a dense fog. He stopped under a street lamp
and tried to figure out where he was.
A boy approached him and asked if he could be of help.
"You certainly can," said Boyce. He told the boy that he wanted
to find a certain business office in the center of the city.
"I'll take you there," said the boy.
When they got to the destination, Mr. Boyce reached into his
pocket for a tip.
But, the boy stopped him. "No thank you, sir. I am a Scout. I
won't take anything for helping."
"A Scout? And what might that be?" asked Boyce.
The boy told the American about himself and about his brother
scouts. Boyce became very interested.
After finishing his errand, he had the boy take him to the
British Scouting office.
At the office, Boyce met Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the famous
British general who had founded the Scouting movement in Great Britain.
Boyce was so impressed with what he learned that he decided to
bring Scouting home with him.
On February 8, 1910, Boyce and a group of outstanding leaders
founded the Boy Scouts of America.From that day forth, Scouts have
celebrated February 8 as the birthday of Scouting in the United States.
What happened to the boy who helped Mr. Boyce find his way in the
fog? No one knows. He had neither asked for money nor given his name,
but he will never be forgotten. His Good Turn helped bring the scouting
movement to our country. In the British Scout Training Center at Gilwell
Park, England, Scouts from the United States erected a statue of an
American Buffalo in honor of this unknown scout.
One Good Turn to one man became a Good Turn to millions of
American Boys. Such is the power of a Good Turn. Hence The Scout Slogan:
DO A GOOD TURN DAILY!