Boy Scouts of America Celebrates its 100th anniversary
By Congressman Michael Turner
Thousands of Boy Scouts from all 50 States and across the globe recently traveled through our Nation’s Capital to attend the seventeenth National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. This year’s National Jamboree, an event held generally every four years since 1937, coincides with the centennial celebration of the Boy Scouts of America. Since 1910, over 111 million young people have served our communities and citizens through their participation in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venture Scouts. I was proud to join my colleagues in support of a congressional resolution (H.RES. 356) celebrating the 100th anniversary of the largest youth scouting organization in the United States.
The Boy Scouts instill in our youngest citizens values such as honesty, courage and resourcefulness, and emphasize the importance of doing “a good turn daily” for others. Each local Boy Scout Council obligates every Scout to perform 12 hours of community service annually. Last year, nearly three million Boy Scouts, and over one million adult leaders volunteered 36,653,936 hours of community service individually and through partnerships with organizations including the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity.
The mission of the Boy Scouts is “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” The Scout Law is a set of twelve guiding principles that instruct a Scout to be “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” Boys who choose to become Boy Scouts pledge to live their lives according to the ideas of the Scout Oath: “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 Scouting movement was founded in England in 1907 by a British army officer, Robert Baden Powell. During a visit to London in 1909, Chicago newspaper publisher William D. Boyce became lost on a dense, foggy street. A young Scout assisted Boyce and guided him to his destination. The young man refused to accept a tip, explaining that he was simply doing his duty as a Boy Scout. This encounter inspired Boyce to establish a scouting program in the United States. On February 8, 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated to teach young Americans “patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values.” Within two years, Boy Scout troops could be found in every State. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation granting the Boy Scouts a Federal charter. Today, Boy Scout organizations are active in 185 countries around the world.
The leadership and skills learned as a Boy Scout have produced many influential leaders who have served our Nation in the fields of government, business, sports, the arts, and science. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, businessman H. Ross Perot, baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, and astronaut Neil Armstrong, are former Boy Scouts. The 111th Congress includes 212 Members of the House and Senate who have participated as Boy Scouts or as adult leaders. John F. Kennedy was the first Boy Scout to become President. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were Cub Scouts and our 38th President, Gerald Ford, achieved Scouting’s highest honor, the rank of Eagle Scout.
I know firsthand about the positive influence of the Boy Scouts. One of my nephews recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. As mayor of Dayton and as a Member of Congress, I have been privileged to honor a number of young men who have worked diligently to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. My office can arrange for an acknowledgment of this achievement from the President of the United States. Parents of Eagle Scouts may contact my offices in Washington, D.C. (202-225-6465) Dayton (937-225-2843) for more information.
For 100 years the Boy Scouts of America has taught our Nation’s youth, and it continues to represent the values that keep our country strong.