The Boy Scouts of America was founded in the United States in 1910, based on the concepts of a similar organization founded in England by Lord Baden Powell. This organization, now over 100 years since its founding, was established for boys to build character and leadership skills until they reach the age of 18 by focusing on the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.
The Boy Scout Oath:
On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
The Boy Scout Law:
A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.
Scouts fulfill the principles expressed in the Scout Oath and the Scout Law as they follow the Boy Scout Motto (Be Prepared!), live up to the Boy Scout Slogan (Do a Good Turn Daily!), and practice the Outdoor Code (As an American, I will do my best to: Be clean in my outdoor manners; be careful with fire; be considerate in the outdoors; and be conservation minded).
“I was involved in the BSA for over 34 years as a representative of my church, which charters BSA Troop and Pack #73. I have been an adult committee member of these units, a treasurer, merit badge counselor, Eagle Scout counselor, and have received the Silver Beaver Award, which is the highest honor for an adult volunteer from the local BSA council. In these roles, I have been a very visible leader in my church and community to promote the advancement of hundreds of youths, as they follow their path and strive to become Eagle Scouts, which is the highest rank for a Boy Scout. Many of our countries’ leaders and presidents have been Eagle Scouts.
I encourage parents, guardians, and adult counselors of our youth, both boys and girls, to enroll and actively participate in their local Scouting programs, to give Scouts direction and guidance, to help them build character and leadership skills, and to help them become strong citizens of their communities and the nation.”
The Scouting programs are delivered to youths through religious, service, and other organizations that adopt the program of the Boy Scouts of America under a charter granted to them by the BSA.
John Wayne was a great American actor who passed away in 1979. He made one of his last public appearances at a dinner, even though he was riddled with cancer and knew he was close to death. The purpose of the dinner was to benefit a land purchase for a Scout Reservation called the John Wayne Outpost Camp. At this dinner, Wayne recited the Scout Law. Then he did something unusual: He said the twelve points of the Scout Law are “nice words.” “The trouble is,” he continued, “we learn them so young we sometimes don’t get all the understanding that goes with them. I take care of that in my family. As each boy reaches Scout age, I make sure he learns the Scout Law. Then I break it down for him, with a few things I have picked up in more than half a century since I learned it.” Then Wayne proceeded to explain the importance of the Scout Law, breaking it down for the guests at the dinner, much like he would have for his grandson. (Source: www.scouters.us)
Famous leaders who were scouts, many of whom were awarded the DESA (Distinguished Eagle Scout Award), include:
- Jere Ratcliffe, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America (DESA)
- Neil Armstrong, Astronaut (DESA)
- Gerald Ford, former U.S. president (DESA)
- Dick Gephardt, majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives (DESA)
- Donald Rumsfeld, former secretary of defense
- Steven Spielberg (DESA)
- Sam Walton, founder of Walmart (DESA)
- Robert McNamara, former secretary of defense
- Ozzie Nelson, actor and band leader
- Steve Fossett, explorer, aviator, and holder of five world records (DESA)
Who were your scout role models?