Boy Scouts' Day

Boy Scouts' Day

February 8
The Boy Scout movement was started by a British cavalry officer, Robert S. S. Baden-Powell, who was well known not only for his heroic defense of Mafeking in southern Africa during the Boer War, but also for his publication of a military pamphlet, "Aids to Scouting," which emphasized the need for a strong character and outdoor survival skills among British soldiers. King George V ordered Baden-Powell to retire from the military so that he could help British boys learn about camping, hiking, signaling, plant identification, swimming, and other such activities. Baden-Powell's 1908 book, Scouting for Boys, was an immediate success, and he devoted the rest of his life to the task of promoting the scouting movement.
The Boy Scouts of America, the nation's largest youth organization, was founded on February 8, 1910. A Chicago publisher, William D. Boyce, who had experienced the courtesy and helpfulness of a young scout firsthand while staying in London, decided that young American boys needed the same kind of training. Two existing organizations—Dan C. Beard's Sons of Daniel Boone and Ernest Thompson Seton's "Woodcraft Indians"—had already introduced boys to the same idea, and the Sons of Daniel Boone eventually merged with the Boy Scouts of America. Cub Scout "Blue and Gold" dinners, flag ceremonies, parents' nights, shopping center demonstrations, and the presentation of advancement awards are popular ways of celebrating this day, which is part of Boy Scout Month, an annual anniversary celebration extending throughout February.
CONTACTS:
Boy Scouts of America
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015
972-580-2000; fax: 972-580-2502
www.scouting.org
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 126
AnnivHol-2000, p. 24