Origin of the Boy Scouts of America Organization
The Boy Scouts of America was created because there was a growing concern that young men were no longer learning patriotism and individualism.
The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910 by W.D. Boyce. While visiting London, a boy scout helped Boyce when he was lost. Intrigued by the young man’s helpful attitude, he met with the staff at the Boy Scouts Headquarters. When he returned to America, he incorporated the Boy Scouts of American on February 8th, 1910. He turned the Boy Scouts over to the YMCA to develop a moral and influential program to help young men. Former President, Theodore Roosevelt was a pivotal supporter of the Boy Scouts. Roosevelt claimed that there was a decline in American manhood.
The first goal of the Boy Scouts was “to teach [boys] patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values.” The first partner to sponsor the Boy Scouts of America program was the Mormon Church, also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 1913 (although since 2019 they have decided not to sponsor the Boy Scouts). The Boy Scouts of America was federally chartered on June 15th, 1916. Being a federally chartered organization gave the Boy Scouts of America many advantages, such as dealing with the competition of similar organizations, freedom from antitrust and monopoly regulation, complete control over the organization's symbols and insignia, as well as preventing Congress from having any special control over the organization. From preventing Congress from having control over BSA, the organization is free to function independently from the government as it chooses to do so.
Currently in the Boy Scouts of America Organization
Today, there are over 2.4 million members as well as over 1 million volunteers. It operates by chartering local organizations, such as churches and extracurricular clubs and activities. Currently, “The BSA’s goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.”
Since the inception of the Venturing Scouts and Sea Scouts, girls have always been allowed to join these programs. In 2014, BSA removed the restriction of denying membership on the basis of sexual orientation, but Scout leaders who were “open and avowed homosexuals” were still prohibited. In 2015, the blanket ban of openly gay leaders and employees was lifted, but local charters are still permitted to set their own standards for selecting adult volunteers. In 2017, girls were allowed to become Cub Scouts and transgender boys were allowed to enroll in boys-only programs. In 2018, girls were allowed to be a part of the Scouts BSA Program as well as women being allowed to hold leadership and volunteer positions.
“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.”
- Cub Scouts- Grades K-5
- Boy Scouts- Ages 11-18
- Venturing Scouts- Ages 14-20
- Sea Scouts- Ages 14-20
- Order of the Arrow- This program is for experienced campers and is based on American Indian traditions.
- Lone Scouting- This program allows those who would otherwise not be able to become Scouts [due to residence overseas or unsafe communities] to participate in BSA.
- STEM Scouts- This pilot program focuses on STEM learning and career development. It is being implemented in elementary, middle, and high schools.
- Learning for Life- This program is school- and work-site-based that is a subsidiary of BSA. It utilizes programs designed for schools and community-based organizations that prepare and enhance self-confidence, motivation, and self-esteem.
Famous Boy Scouts
- Buzz Aldrin
- Neil Armstrong
- Michael Jordan
- Hank Aaron
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Jimmy Buffet
- Harrison Ford
- Steven Spielberg
- George Strait
- John Wayne
- George W Bush
- Bill Clinton
- John F Kennedy
- Bill Gates