It’s pretty easy to find articles and videos about the beginning of the World Scouting Movement and its “uncle” Lieutenant General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell — Baden Powell or “BP” (Be Prepared) for short. It’s a little more challenging to get to brass tax about the origins of scouting in the United States.
Stop me if you’ve heard this— and if you haven’t, you must have joined Scouting very recently. It’s the story of the Unknown Scout who guided Chicago publisher William D. Boyce through a pea-soup fog in 1909 in London—and that led him to the office of Robert S.S. Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. There Boyce picked up a trunkload of literature about the young movement for British boys, leading him to incorporate the Boy Scouts of America on Feb. 8, 1910, soon after returning to the United States.
But despite the made-for-Hollywood story, the rest of the tale isn’t as well known, as Scouting.org added, “W. D. Boyce is a shadowy figure among Scouting’s pioneers.”
“This is due largely to the fact that he did not take a hands-on approach to Scouting as did the founder, Baden-Powell, in England and, in the United States, Chief Scout Ernest Thompson Seton, National Scout Commissioner Daniel Carter Beard, and Chief Scout Executive James E. West.
“Boyce did his thing and left the details to others.”
But what are those details? Or, how did we get here from there?
Well, two different Scouters produced videos to help show us the way.
Check these out: