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The Boy Scouts
American Profile ^ | 6/17/2007 | Elizabeth Johnson

Posted on 06/22/2007 7:31:22 AM PDT by fgoodwin

The Boy Scouts

by Elizabeth Johnson

As an American flag waves high in the morning sky at the Meridian Historical Village in Okemos, Mich. (pop. 22,805), more than 80 khaki-uniformed Boy Scouts raise their right hands in a three-fingered salute.

“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,” the Scouts recite in unison.

The recitation of the Boy Scout Oath marks the beginning of a weekend of camping and outdoor activities for the youngsters, who will delight in skipping stones, throwing tomahawks, building campfires and following map directions with a compass—just as Scouts have done for 100 years.

To fulfill their promise to “help other people,” the boys and their adult leaders take a break from the fun to trim trees and bushes, and spread 35 yards of mulch along the walking trails of the town’s Central Park.

As evening falls, the boys share a meal cooked over a campfire, then gather by Lake Catherine for a visit by a re-enactor portraying Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts.

Birth of the Boy Scouts

Baden-Powell, a 19th-century British military intelligence officer, penned an 1899 manual on wilderness survival and stalking game for British soldiers that became a hit with English boys. After learning of the book’s popularity with youth, he set out to write a new edition that focused on nonmilitary nature skills.

To research the ideas he wanted to include in Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell took 22 boys of mixed social backgrounds on a camping trip to Brownsea Island, off the English coast. During that August 1907 campout, Boy Scouting was born, and the new organization caught on quickly with British boys.

Two years later, American newspaper publisher William D. Boyce became lost in one of London’s notorious fogs. A boy helped him find his way, but refused a tip for his service. When he explained that, as a Scout, he couldn’t take money for doing a “good turn”—one of Baden-Powell’s Scouting fundamentals—Boyce was intrigued. Boyce later met with Baden-Powell, and decided to bring Scouting to the United States. On Feb. 8, 1910, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was incorporated.

Do a good turn daily

Scouts have taken the “good turn” slogan and turned it into a tradition of community service. Throughout the nation, more than 2.9 million Scouts provide loyal, friendly service in hundreds of ways. BSA’s “Good Turn for America” program, begun in February 2004, has recorded 4.5 million service hours by Scouts working on their own and with other national organizations such as America’s Second Harvest and the Salvation Army.

In Fox Island, Wash. (pop. 2,803), Boy Scouts helped the Fox Island Community and Recreation Association (FICRA) transform a five-acre wetland purchased in 2004 into a community park and nature center. About 75 percent of the park’s features—including cedar picnic tables, wooden footbridges and boardwalks, park benches and a native species garden—were designed and built by local Boy Scouts as service projects, part of the requirements to attain Scouting’s highest rank of Eagle Scout.

“They made the park into what it is today,” says John Ohlson, 50, FICRA president and a leader of Cub Scout Pack 202, which serves boys in first through fifth grades. His son Alex is a Cub Scout whose pack worked on the nature center as well.

“We built birdhouses and we even got to climb ladders and hang them in the trees,” says Alex, 9, who’s been a Scout for four years. “It was fun cutting the wood with a saw and then hammering the pieces together into a birdhouse. I’m not sure if a bird is living in mine yet, though.”

In Illinois, Scouts spent a year collecting more than 3.5 million aluminum beverage cans worth more than $50,000 to sponsor a Habitat for Humanity house in Peoria.

“I asked everyone I knew for their cans, even local businesses,” says Alex Hoadley, 11, who belongs to Cub Scout Pack 85 in Morton, Ill. (pop. 15,198). He collected 14,000 cans in his family’s garage, then periodically sold them to a recycling center.

“I felt really good when I turned them in, because I knew that I was helping to build a house for someone who needed it,” he adds.

In Delta Township, Mich. (pop. 30,904), members of Troop 111 place American flags on the graves of veterans buried at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Lansing, Mich., prior to Memorial Day each year.

“It was kind of solemn and patriotic,” says Paul Milligan, 12, who worked with 10 other Scouts and their parents to mark nearly 1,000 graves last year. “I hadn’t realized how many people in the cemetery had served in wars. It gave me a good feeling inside to honor them. I have a lot of respect for veterans.”

Maintaining the tradition

Jan Medlam, an electronics/avionics technician and an Eagle Scout who has been active in the Boy Scouts for 40 years, believes the elements that made Scouting popular—outdoor activities, challenging yourself, achieving goals and becoming a leader—will help the tradition thrive for the next 100 years.

“I enjoy the positive attitudes, the environment, the goals of Scouting,” says Medlam, now a leader of Boy Scout Troop 497 in Andale, Kan. (pop. 766). “When I was a Scout, there were a couple of adults I looked up to; I want to be that kind of adult for today’s boys.”

Bradley Shuck, 18, of Williamston, Mich. (pop. 3,784), became an Eagle Scout last December. Only about 5 percent of all Scouts attain the rank, which requires serving as a troop leader for six months, earning at least 21 merit badges and completing a community service project.

As the sixth member of his family to become an Eagle Scout, earning the title was “like getting into the family—it’s a family tradition.

“A lot of people think that Boy Scouts is about helping little old ladies across the street,” says Shuck, a recent graduate of Williamston High School. “But I’ve been camping, canoeing in the boundary waters of Minnesota, stayed overnight on the USS Silversides submarine, supervised 25 people on a building project, and learned CPR and first aid.”

He adds: “I’ve learned so much and had lots of fun. When I get married and have kids some day, I want them to be involved in Scouting, too.”

Scouting Principles

Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
Scout Motto: Be prepared.
Scout Slogan: Do a good turn daily.

Famous Eagle Scouts

Neil Armstrong, astronaut
Bill Bradley, professional basketball star and U.S. senator
Gerald R. Ford, president of the United States
Robert Gates, U.S. secretary of defense
J.W. Marriott Jr., president of Marriott Corporation
Michael Moore, filmmaker
William Sessions, former FBI director
Steven Spielberg, movie director
Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart

Elizabeth Johnson is a writer in Lansing, Mich.
first appeared: 6/17/2007

TOPICS: History; Outdoors; Society
KEYWORDS: boyscouts; bsa; bsaboyscouts; scouting; scouts

1 posted on 06/22/2007 7:31:24 AM PDT by fgoodwin
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To: SandRat

Please ping your Scouting list.


2 posted on 06/22/2007 7:31:51 AM PDT by fgoodwin (Fundamentalist, right-wing nut and proud father of a Star Scout!)
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To: fgoodwin; eyespysomething

I was a Boy Scout all through middle and high school. My oldest friends are the ones from my scout troop, and I love to tell my kids (who are in cub scouts) stories.

Our troop was the best troop in the state, without question, and probably the best troop in the nation.

When I look at all of the good things about myself as an adult, the characteristics of which I am most proud, I attribute most of them directly to one of two things:

1. Boy Scouts

2. My parents

(not necessarily in that order)

3 posted on 06/22/2007 7:35:47 AM PDT by SittinYonder (Ic t gehate, t ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille furor gan)
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To: fgoodwin
Michael Moore, filmmaker <-------<<< ????????

4 posted on 06/22/2007 7:36:29 AM PDT by Uriel-2012 (you shall know that I, YHvH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Ya'aqob. Isaiah 60:16)
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To: SittinYonder

I still have my Boy Scout Manual from the 70’s and my Dad’s from the 40’s. His in the First Aid section deals with treating shotgun wounds.

5 posted on 06/22/2007 8:07:18 AM PDT by Deguello
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To: Deguello
I still have my Boy Scout Manual from the 70’s and my Dad’s from the 40’s.

My oldest son will be entering Boy Scouts this year. I got out my Scout book and compared it to his. First 20 pages of his book deal with sexual molestation and stuff like that. I handed him my book and told him to just use it.

6 posted on 06/22/2007 8:10:54 AM PDT by SittinYonder (Ic t gehate, t ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille furor gan)
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To: fgoodwin
... Alex, 9, who’s been a Scout for four years.

A scout since age 5? Boy, have I been out of touch.

7 posted on 06/22/2007 8:18:59 AM PDT by LantzALot (Yes, its my opinion. No, its not humble.)
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To: SittinYonder

I gave my Dad a Weather Rock for his birthday two years ago. A 300# boulder suspended on 20’ poles. Set it up in his front yard the night before...old Boy Scout stuff.

8 posted on 06/22/2007 8:40:42 AM PDT by Deguello
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To: Deguello

LOL ... that’s great!

I took my dad and my oldest son hiking on one of the trails we used to hike for father/son hikes (fairly easy 8 miles with a nice waterfall at the end).

Unfortunately, that was probably my dad’s last real hike (age is catching up to him) and my son’s first.

Awful storm blew up in the middle of the night. The tent had been stored in the attic (yes, I’m a bonehead), so of course it leaked like a sieve. At about 4:30 a.m., in the pouring rain we abandoned the tent and made a roaring fire.

Old Boy Scout stuff ;-)

9 posted on 06/22/2007 8:55:28 AM PDT by SittinYonder (Ic t gehate, t ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille furor gan)
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