The Unknown Scout

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The Unknown Scout was an anonymous member of the The Boy Scout Association in the United Kingdom whose good turn inspired William D. Boyce to form the Boy Scouts of America.

The legend

Boyce was lost on a foggy street in London in 1909 when an unknown Scout came to his aid, guiding him to his destination. The boy then refused Boyce's tip, explaining that he was a Boy Scout and was merely doing his daily good turn. Soon thereafter, Boyce met with Robert Baden-Powell, who was Chief Scout at the time. Boyce returned to America, and, four months later, founded the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910.

Other versions

According to Edward Rowan, Boyce stopped in London en route to a safari in British East Africa. While an unknown Scout helped him and refused a tip, this Scout only helped him cross a street to a hotel, did not take him to the Scout headquarters, and Boyce never met Baden-Powell. Upon Boyce's request, the Scout did give him the address of the Scout headquarters where Boyce later went on his own and picked up information about the group. Boyce returned to London after his safari and visited the Scout headquarters again and gained the use of Scouting For Boys in the development of a U.S. Scouting program.

Silver Buffalo Award

In 1926, the second presentation of the Silver Buffalo Award was to the Unknown Scout. That award resides in the museum at Gilwell Park.

In addition to the award, a statue of a buffalo was presented with a plaque, inscribed:

"To the Unknown Scout Whose Faithfulness in the Performance of the Daily Good turn Brought the Scout Movement to the United States of America."
On July 4, 1926, the statue was presented to Edward VIII the Prince of Wales and Baden-Powell by Amory Houghton, the United States Ambassador and a member of the National Council of the BSA.(The Presentation of the Bison]) The statue was initially emplaced on a tree stump and later moved to the current brick pedestal located on what is now known as the Buffalo Lawn behind the White House at Gilwell Park.
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