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William Dickson Boyce as 20,000 newsboys back home, was In 1915, he founded a new
(1858-1929) so impressed by the Scout that he Scouting organization, the Lone
Much like Baden-Powell, Seton, and decided to investigate further. He Scouts of America, to serve boys that
Beard, William D. Boyce, a wealthy picked up a trunk full of publications BSA troops couldn’t reach. The LSA
Chicago newspaper publisher, came at Scout headquarters and studied competed with the BSA’s Pioneer
to boys’ work by accident. In August them during his safari. Six months Division (created in 1916) for nearly a
1909, he was in London, preparing later, on Feb. 8, 1910, he incorporated decade, until Boyce agreed in 1924 to
for an African safari, when he got lost the Boy Scouts of America. merge it with the BSA.
in a pea-soup fog—or perhaps simply Despite his interest in youth and Boyce received the third Silver
turned around (accounts differ). In in Scouting, Boyce had neither the Buffalo Award in 1926. (The first two
any event, a “little lad of 12” appeared time nor the inclination to run the had gone to Robert Baden-Powell and
and guided him safely across the BSA. He quickly turned its leader- the Unknown Scout.) At his funeral
street. When Boyce offered a tip, the ship over to Edgar M. Robinson, the BSA $1,000 per month for operating three years later, 32 Scouts served as
boy declined, explaining that he was senior boys’ work secretary of the expenses—provided that boys of all honorary pallbearers, while Chief
just doing his Good Turn as a Scout. YMCA’s International Committee in races and creeds be included—but Scout Executive James E. West pro-
Boyce, who employed as many New York. Boyce did agree to give the that was the extent of his involvement. vided the eulogy.
James Edward West offering instead to represent the he didn’t have deep pockets. What he
(1876-1948) boy in court (he got him off on did have, though, was a commitment
Orphaned at age six and afflicted a technicality). That incident led to children and a drive to turn the
with tuberculosis, James E. West West to lobby successfully for the fledgling BSA into a strong, cohesive
never had much of a childhood. creation of a juvenile court. He national organization.
West had to fight for permis- also worked for the Washington In his three decades as Chief Scout
sion to attend school outside of Playground Association and the Executive, West oversaw the creation
his orphanage—and only if he did YMCA and prompted President of Sea Scouting and Cub Scouting,
his extensive orphanage chores Theodore Roosevelt to convene the development of local councils,
before and after school. a White House Conference on and the involvement of Scouts on the
Nonetheless, he finished high Dependent Children in 1909. home front in two world wars. As
school in two years, graduating Given his background, West President Harry Truman wrote in a
with honors in 1895. By 1901, became a natural choice to serve telegram to West’s widow, “Boy Scouts
he’d worked his way through law as the first Chief Scout Executive. of all ages and all Americans who
school and was practicing law in He agreed to take the job for up believe in the future of the American
Washington, D.C. to six months and stayed on for boy bow in reverence to his memory.”
Given those circumstances, 32 years. West’s name lives on in the James
it was not surprising, then, that Unlike Baden-Powell, Beard, E. West Fellowship Award. This award
West gravitated toward children’s and Seton, West had neither a goes to individuals who donate $1,000
issues. When a young boy stole his winning personality nor a love or more to a local council’s endow-
car, he declined to press charges, for the outdoors. Unlike Boyce, ment fund.
1917-18 1918 1919 1920 1923
The U.S. Congress Scouting publishes In support of the war effort, Scouts plant Rotary International President Woodrow Wilson The BSA sends 301 Scouts to the The Hibbing Area Council in
votes unanimously the first 57 merit 12,000 victory gardens, sell more than $355 becomes the first service establishes National Boy inaugural World Scout Jamboree Minnesota begins organizing canoe
to give the BSA a badge pamphlets, million in Liberty Loan bonds and war savings club to sponsor Boy Scout Scout Week. in England, where they join trips into the Boundary Waters
federal charter. containing topics stamps, collect 100 railroad cars of nut hulls troops. Scouts from 33 other countries. along the U.S.-Canada border that
such as camping, and peach pits for gas-mask manufacture. evolve into the Northern Tier High
conservation, Adventure Program.
invention, and
automobiling.
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