BSA Description and History


Description of Scouting

Adventure! That's what Scouting is! (Official Boy Scout Handbook, Chapter 1, Page 1)

In short, Scouting is a youth organization that uses a fun program to promote character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness for every member.

The Boy Scouts of America makes Scouting available to our nation's youth by chartering community organizations to operate Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, Varsity Scout Teams, and Explorer Posts. The chartered organization must provide an adequate and safe meeting place and capable adult leadership, and must adhere to the principles and policies of the BSA. The BSA local council provides unit leader training, program ideas, camping facilities, literature, and professional guidance for volunteer leaders.

Scouting's adult volunteers provide leadership at the unit, district, council, and national levels. Many are parents of Scouts; many entered Scouting as youth members.

For details on how the Boy Scouts of America is organized refer to our BSA Organization page. Also of interest may be Excerpts from the Federal Charter.


How Scouting Came to America

The Story of a Good Turn, Boy Scout Handbook, Tenth Edition, Chapter 26, Boy Scouts of America

How good must a Good Turn be to be good? The answer is best given by telling you the story of how Scouting came to America. It shows that it isn't the size of a Good Turn that counts. What is important is the spirit with which a Scout does a Good Turn.

"Do a Good Turn Daily" is the Scout Slogan.

One Day in 1909 in London, England, an American visitor, William D. Boyce, lost his way in a dense fog. He Stopped under a street lamp and tried to figure out where he was. A boy approached him and asked if he could be of help.

"You certainly can," said Boyce. He told the boy that he wanted to find a certain business office in the center of the city.

"I'll take you there," said the boy.

When they got to the destination, Mr. Boyce reached into his pocket for a tip. But the boy stopped him.

"No thank you, sir. I am a Scout. I won't take anything for helping."

"A Scout? And what might that be?" asked Boyce.

The boy told the American about himself and his brother Scouts. Boyce became very interested. After finishing his errand, he had the boy take him to the British Scouting office.

At the office, Boyce met Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the famous British general who had founded the Scouting movement in Great Britain. Boyce was so impressed with what he learned that he decided to bring Scouting home with him.

On February 8, 1910, Boyce and a group of outstanding leaders founded the Boy Scouts of America. From that day forth, Scouts have celebrated February 8 as the birthday of Scouting in the United States.

What happened to the boy who helped Mr. Boyce find his way in the fog? No one knows. He had neither asked for money nor given his name, but he will never be forgotten. His Good Turn helped bring the Scouting movement to our country.

In the British Scout Training Center at Gilwell Park, England, Scouts from the United States erected a statue of an American buffalo in honor of this unknown Scout. One Good Turn to one man became a Good Turn to millions of American boys. Such is the power of a Good Turn.

Baden-Powell's Founding of Scouts

Here is some information on Famous BSA Scouts, and information about American Astronauts who were Scouts.


Page updated on: May 02, 2013



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