Boy Scouts of America Historical Highlights

From MeritBadgeDotOrg

Revision as of 17:03, February 16, 2009 by Milominderbinder2 (Talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search
Here are some of the highlights in the history of the Boy Scouts of America, spanning nearly 100 years.
History of the BSA
:Adapted from Boy Scouts of America Historical Highlights


  • The first edition of the Handbook for Boys is published. Some 300,000 copies are printed.
  • The National Council office is established at 200 Fifth Avenue in New York City on January 2, 1911, with seven employees.
  • The Scout Oath, Scout Law, badges, and fundamental policies are adopted.
  • The first awards for heroism are presented by the National Court of Honor.
  • By 1912, Scouts are enrolled in every state.
  • The first Eagle Scout Award is earned by Arthur Eldred in Troop 1 in Oceanside, New York. A few weeks after becoming the first Eagle Scout, Eldred helps save another Scout from drowning and is awarded the Honor Medal for his actions.
  • Sea Scouting for older Scouts starts.
  • Boys' Life is purchased to become an official BSA magazine.
  • Norman Rockwell is hired as an illustrator for Boys' Life magazine. He is soon promoted to art director.
  • Scouting, the official magazine for Scouters, is first published.
  • The Department of Education establishes a national office to train all Scouters.
  • The Order of the Arrow (OA) is founded by Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson at the Treasure Island Camp of the Philadelphia Council.
  • Congress grants the Boy Scouts of America a federal charter on June 15, giving special protection to the name and insignia and limiting membership to American citizens.
  • Scouting's full resources are placed at the service of the government as part of the war effort. From 1917 to 1918, Scouts sell 2,350,977 Liberty Loan bonds, totaling $147,876,902; and war savings stamps, to a value of $53,043,698. More than 300 million pieces of government literature are distributed, and services rendered include food and fuel conservation and Boy Scout war gardens.
  • The first gold Honor medals are awarded by the National Court of Honor for saving life at risk of the rescuers own.


  • The First World Jamboree is held in England; Boy Scouts from 32 of 52 countries are present. The Boy Scouts of America sends 301 members.
  • The Every Scout a Swimmer program is inaugurated.
  • The first achievement badges are earned by physically disabled Scouts.
  • The Lone Scouts of America merges with the Boy Scouts of America.
  • The first Silver Buffalo awards for distinguished service to boyhood are presented.
  • Eagle Palms are added to the list of awards.
  • The National Council office moves to 2 Park Avenue, New York City.
  • Sea Scout Paul A. Siple accompanies Commander Richard E. Byrd to the Antarctic.


  • The Cub Scout program is formally launched. There are 5,102 Cub Scouts at the end of 1930.
  • The first Silver Beaver awards are presented for distinguished service to boyhood within a council.
  • Membership in the Boy Scouts of America passes the 1 million mark.
  • The 5-millionth copy of the Handbook for Boys is published.
  • The First National Jamboree is held in Washington from June 30 to July 9, at the invitation of President Roosevelt, with an attendance of 27,232.
  • Waite Phillips donates Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp (later to become Philmont Scout Ranch--see 1941) consisting of 35,857 acres of land on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, near Cimarron, New Mexico.
  • Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp opens for advanced Scout camping.


  • With the declaration of war, the government requests Boy Scout service for the distribution of defense bonds and stamp posters; collection of aluminum and wastepaper; defense housing surveys; victory gardens; distribution of air-raid posters; cooperation with the American Red Cross; and, by joint agreement with the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, services in three capacities--messengers, assisting emergency medical units, and firewatchers.
  • Waite Phillips makes another large gift--land, residence and ranch buildings, livestock, operating ranch equipment--contiguous to Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp, bringing total acreage to more than 127,000 acres. The area is renamed Philmont Scout Ranch.
  • Webelos rank created for 11-year-old boys with the Lion badge.
  • Scouts continue in war service. Twenty-eight projects are requested by the government, including the collection of 30 million pounds of rubber in a two-week drive; all-out salvage based on the government-issued pamphlet Scrap and How Scouts Collect It; distribution of pledge cards for war bonds and savings stamps; victory gardens; work on farms and in harvest camps; and government dispatch bearers.
  • The first Silver Antelope awards are presented for distinguished service to youth within a region.
  • Long trousers and the Scout cap become part of the official uniform.
  • The total Boy Scout war service includes 69 requests from the government during 1941 through 1945.
  • Twenty thousand Scouts earn the General Douglas MacArthur Medal for growing food.


  • The Second National Jamboree, held at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, June 30-July 6, brings 47,163 Scouts and leaders from around the nation and the world.
  • Philmont Scout Ranch begins offering training courses.
  • The U.S. Post Office Department issues the first Boy Scout stamp.
  • The Third National Jamboree is held at the Irvine Ranch in Southern California, July 17-23, with 45,401 Scouts and leaders from around the nation and the world participating.
  • First pinewood derby is held in Manhattan Beach, California.


  • Some 56,378 Scouts and leaders attend the Fifth National Jamboree, held at Colorado Springs, Colorado, July 22-28.
  • The U.S. Post Office Department issues a Boy Scout commemorative stamp in February for Scouting's Golden Jubilee.
  • Eagle Scout Sam Walton founds the Wal-Mart Corporation.
  • The Sixth National Jamboree is held at Valley Forge July 17-23, with 52,000 Scouts and leaders participating.
  • The 500,000th Eagle Scout badge is presented and the BSA's 40 millionth youth is registered.
  • The Boy Scouts of America hosts the 12th World Jamboree at Farragut State Park, Idaho.
  • Eagle Scout Roger B. Chaffee dies in the Apollo 1 fire.
  • Young women are accepted as participants in special-interest Exploring posts.
  • The Seventh National Jamboree is held at Farragut State Park, Idaho. More than 35,000 Scouts and leaders attend.
  • Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong becomes the first man on the moon.


  • Eagle Scout Jim Lovell safely returns the damaged Apollo 13 space ship to earth.
  • Project SOAR (Save Our American Resources) is initiated as an ongoing BSA service project. It is estimated that during the year, 60,000 BSA units take part in SOAR-related conservation projects.
  • Scouting Keep America Beautiful Day is held on June 5, and Scouts collect more than a million tons of litter.
  • September 1972 saw the launch of the Improved Scouting Program. The number of required merit badges for Eagle Scout was increased to 24.
  • Nearly 4 million Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts take part in Scouting Keep America Beautiful Day.
  • The National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) is launched.
  • The 1973 National Scout Jamboree is held at two sites--Moraine State Park in Pennsylvania and Farragut State Park in Idaho--with more than 64,000 participants.
  • Eagle Scout Gerald R. Ford becomes the 38th President of the United States.
  • Scouting Environment Day is held April 27.
  • The Cub Scout Safe Bicycle Driving program and Cub Scout Physical Fitness program are introduced.
  • New Scout merit badges are introduced for Orienteering and Wilderness Survival.
  • The national office is moved to Irving, Texas, after 25 years in New Jersey.
  • New editions of The Official Boy Scout Handbook and Wolf Cub Scout Book are published.


  • Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Explorers pass out fliers across the country urging participation in the 1980 National Census.
  • Cub Scouting celebrates its 50th anniversary and registers its 30 millionth Cub Scout since 1930.
  • Alexander M. Holsinger becomes the millionth Eagle Scout registered.
  • "Shaping Tomorrow," a project aimed at addressing critical issues of the 1980s, is initiated in January.
  • The Tiger Cubs BSA program is field tested and implemented.
  • The BSA Mourns the Loss the Space Shuttle Challenger including Eagle Scout Ellison S. Onizuka.
  • The BSA conducts a nationwide Donor Awareness Good Turn to inform American families of the urgent need for donated human organs and tissue. An estimated 600,000 youth members distribute 14 million brochures to families, informing them of the need for donated human organs and tissue and urging them to make a commitment to donate.
  • Webelos program expands to two years to include fourth-grade and fifth-grade boys.
  • The Boy Scouts of America begins to address five "unacceptables" in American society: drug abuse, hunger, child abuse, illiteracy, and unemployment.
  • The nation's largest anti-drug abuse education campaign is launched with the release of a booklet titled Drugs: A Deadly Game.
  • Eagle Scout and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis ruins for President.
  • The first annual Scouting for Food drive collects more than 65 million containers of food.


  • Eagle Scout and Academy Award winning direct Steven Spielberg helps the BSA develop Cinematography Merit Badge.
  • Pope John Paul II is presented with the BSA's Distinguished Citizen of the World Commendation.
  • The new 10th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook is published with total circulation since 1910 reaching 33,860,000.
  • Eagle Scout Ross Perot runs for President.
  • Scouts collect food and clothing, and offer a helping hand in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.
  • Nearly 26,000 youth attend the 1993 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia.
  • The Scouting movement in the former Soviet Union turns to the BSA for help in producing the first Russian Scout handbook; 20,000 copies are distributed.
  • The 14th National Scout Jamboree, held at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, is attended by 35,000 Boy Scouts and leaders.
  • The 11th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook is published. Its first printing yields 750,000 copies, bringing the total circulation of the Handbook since 1910 to nearly 36 million.
  • The coed Venturing program is launched. Venturing quickly becomes the fastest growing Scouting program, with a membership of more than 288,000 young men and women by the end of 2003.
  • Scouts collect more than 41 million cans of food to help feed the hungry.
  • The new Venturer Handbook is introduced. A record number of Boy Scouts and Venturers earn Eagle Scout awards, with 47,582 young men attaining the prestigious rank.


  • The Boy Scouts of America celebrates its 90th anniversary as the 100 millionth youth is registered.
  • Scouts complete more than 214 million total hours of service for "America's Promise--The Alliance for Youth."
  • The 15th National Scout Jamboree, held at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia with more than 40,000 participants and 275,000 visitors.
  • In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Scouts collect supplies for rescue workers and victims.
  • Eagle Scout Donald Rumsfeld become Secretary of Defense.
  • Eagle Scout Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly around the world alone, nonstop, in a balloon.
  • The National Scouting Museum reopens in a new 50,000-square-foot facility next door to the National Council office in Irving, Texas.
  • A total of 49,328 young men earn the rank of Eagle Scout--the largest one-year number ever in the history of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Leave No Trace Frontcountry Guidelines and Leave No Trace Award introduced.
  • The BSA launches Good Turn for America, a national initiative to address the problems of hunger, homelessness/inadequate housing, and poor health. The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity join as national partners.
  • Some 200 Scouts come to the aid victims in the wake of Hurricane Charley.
  • The Boy Scouts of America helps kick off September as National Preparedness Month. Eagle Scout Tucker Barbour of Troop 500, chartered to the Capitol Hill Scouts in Washington, D.C., introduces Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge at the kickoff event on the grounds of the United States Capitol.
Personal tools