THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
Source: Outdoor Sports and Games
Headquarters--Purpose--Scout law--How to form a patrol of
scouts--Organization of a troop--Practical activities for scouts--A
scout camp--Model programme of a Sir R.S.S. Baden-Powell scout camp
The Boy Scout movement that has recently been introduced both in
England and America with such wonderful success is so closely related
to nearly all branches of outdoor recreation and to the things that
boys are interested in that this book would be incomplete without
mention of the object and purposes of this organization. It is a
splendid movement for the making of better citizens, and it cannot be
too highly recommended.
The Boy Scouts of America is a permanent organization, and it has its
headquarters at 200 Fifth Avenue, New York City. From the central
office, patrols and troops are being formed all over the United
States. Any information with reference to the movement may be
obtained by applying to this office.
Through the courtesy of the managing secretary, Mr. John L. Alexander,
certain facts are presented concerning the organization, which are
obtained from their published literature, for which due credit is
The Boy Scouts is an organization the purpose of which is
character-building for boys between the ages of twelve and eighteen.
It is an effort to get boys to appreciate the things about them and to
train them in self-reliance, manhood, and good citizenship. It is
"peace-scouting" these boys engage in, living as much as possible out
of doors; camping, hiking and learning the secrets of the woods and
fields. The movement is not essentially military, but the military
virtues of discipline, obedience, neatness and order are scout
virtues. Endurance, self-reliance, self-control and an effort to help
some one else are scout objectives. Every activity that lends itself
to these aims is good scoutcraft.
The Boy Scouts were started in England by Gen. Sir Robert
Baden-Powell. He was impressed with the fact that 46 per cent. of the
boys of England were growing up without any knowledge of useful
occupations, and wanted to do something that would help the boy to
become a useful citizen. He emphatically stated that his intention was
not the making of soldiers. In his work. General Baden-Powell has
touched the boy's life in all its interests and broadened a boy's
outlook by the widest sort of activities. In two and a half years over
half a million Boy Scouts have been enrolled, and twenty thousand of
these have been in parade at one time in London.
The scout idea has sprung up spontaneously all over America. In
Canadian cities the Boy Scouts number thousands. In the United States,
towns and cities are being swept by the idea. Gangs of boys are to be
seen on every hand, doing their best at scoutcraft, "doing a good turn
every day to some one," and getting fun out of it. Prominent business
men and educators are behind the movement.
The aim of the Boy Scouts is to supplement the various existing
educational agencies, and to promote the ability in boys to do things
for themselves and others. The method is summed up in the term
"scoutcraft" and is a combination of observation, deduction and
handiness--or the ability to do. Scoutcraft consists of "First Aid,"
Life Saving, Tracking, Signalling, Cycling, Nature Study, Seamanship
and other instruction. This is accomplished in games and team play and
in pleasure, not work, for the boy. The only equipment it needs is the
out-of-doors, a group of boys and a leader.
Before he becomes a scout, a boy must take the scouts' oath thus:
"On my honour, I promise that I will do my best, 1. To do my duty to
God and my country. 2. To help other people at all times. 3. To obey
the scout law."
When taking this oath the scout will stand holding his right hand
raised level with his shoulder, palm to the front, thumb resting on
the nail of the little finger, and the other three fingers upright
pointing upward. This the scouts' salute and secret sign.
When the hand is raised shoulder high it is called "the half salute."
When raised to the forehead it is called "the full salute."
The three fingers held up (like the three points on the scouts' badge)
remind him of his three promises in the scouts' oath.
There are three classes of scouts. A boy on joining the Boy Scouts
must pass a test in the following points before taking the oath:
Know the scouts' laws and signs and the salute.
Know the composition of the national flag and the right way to fly it.
Tie four of the following knots: Reef, sheet bend, clove hitch,
bowline, middleman's, fisherman's, sheep-shank.
He then takes the scouts' oath and is enrolled as a tenderfoot and is
entitled to wear the buttonhole badge.
Next: A SECONDCLASS SCOUT