February 8th is the anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. On this day in 1910, Chicago publisher William Dickson Boyce filed the official paperwork to create the Boy Scouts. Both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts have taught millions (more than 109 million!) of boys skills and values.
The Scouts were actually founded in Great Britain by Lord Robert Baden-Powell in the early 1900s. In 1907, he published Scouting for Boys, the first scouting manual. (His wife, Lady Olave Baden-Powell, later founded the Girl Guides.) The Boy Scout motto was “Do a good turn daily.” When William Boyce and his colleagues received a good turn from an unknown scout, they decided to bring the Boy Scouts to America.
The Boys Scouts of America continue to teach many of the same skills and values they have for decades. However, they also strive to keep current with today’s technology. Scouts can now learn to use GPS devices, their uniforms have pockets for iPods and cell phones, and the Boy Scout Handbook is available as an app on your iPhone.
Boy Scouts Fun Facts:
• Only 5% of Boy Scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout every year.
• Of the 294 US astronauts, more than 180 had been Boy Scouts in their youth; 40 were Eagle Scouts.
• 11 of the 12 astronauts who walked on the moon were Scouts.
• In 2004, there were 3,145,331 boys in the program and 1,173,064 leaders.
• One third of West Point and Air Force Academy cadets were in Boy Scouts. 14% were Eagle Scouts.
• The badges most often earned are: First Aid, Swimming, Camping, Cooking, and Citizenship in the Community.
• 40% of the members of the 111th Congress were in Scouts.
• In 2009, more than 2.8 million Boy Scouts participated in community service projects. The 36.7 milion service hours the Scouts provided, were valued at $764 million!
Famous Boys Scouts:
• Charles Lindbergh (awarded the Silver Buffalo Award for distinguished service to youth)
• Walt Disney (awarded the Silver Buffalo Award)
• Normal Rockwell (awarded the Silver Buffalo Award)
• Baseball legends Hank Aaron (Life Scout*, awarded the Silver Buffalo Award) and Nolan Ryan
• Olympic athletes Dan Jansen, Bruce Jenner, Mark Spitz
• Bob Hope (awarded the Silver Buffalo Award)
• Vince Lombardi (awarded the Silver Buffalo Award)
• Charles M. Schultz (awarded the Silver Buffalo Award)
• Astronauts Neil Armstrong (Eagle Scout, awarded the Silver Buffalo Award) and John Glenn
• Walter Cronkite, journalist (Eagle Scout)
• Mike Rowe, star of “Dirty Jobs” (Eagle Scout)
• Actors Jimmy Stewart, John Heder (Eagle Scout), Ashton Kutcher, Richard Dean Anderson, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Henry Fonda, Jerry Mathers, John Ritter, John Schneider
• Filmmakers Steven Spielberg (Eagle Scout) and Michael Moore (Eagle Scout)
• Recording Artists Jimmy Buffett, Branford Marsalis, Jim Morrison
• Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft
• Samuel Walton, founder of Wal-Mart (Eagle Scout)
• Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford (Eagle Scout), Jimmy Carter, John F. Kennedy, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama
“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.”
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.