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Theodore Roosevelt and the Boy Scouts of America

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  • Keith Simon
    Theodore Roosevelt was an ardent booster of the Boy Scouts and key to their success in the the United States almost from day one. Here s a little background on
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 31, 2008
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      Theodore Roosevelt was an ardent booster of the Boy Scouts and key to their success in the the United States almost from day one. Here's a little background on TR's involvement with the Boy Scouts. In 1910, a Chicago businessman, W. D. Boyce returned from England having been much impressed by the Scouting Movement that British Lieutenant-General Robert S.S. Baden-Powell had started in the UK and which had been based on Baden-Powell's earlier experiences in the Boer War where he had established boy scouting troops to help soldiers in the field with non-combatant duties including campground management and messenger service. As a web site on the cultural history of the Boy Scouts explains, "In September of 1910, Baden-Powell came to America and gave his blessings to the Boy Scouts of America at a dinner held in his honor at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City...By that time, the Boy Scouts of America had begun to draw boys' workers and other civic leaders into the movement, and many of them were in attendance at the dinner or had their commendations read in their absence. Some of the more notable men showing their support that day were: John D. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt and Major General Leonard Wood. With credit from Baden-Powell as the originators of the Boy Scout idea, both Seton and Beard added considerable prestige to the Boy Scouts of America, but not nearly so much as the Honorary President and Vice-President - William Howard Taft and Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, respectively. Their willingness to associate themselves with the Boy Scouts of America was a tremendous boost, and with their addition the movement was, as one writer put it, "well launched." On January 1st, 1911, the Boy Scouts of America established their headquarters in the Fifth Avenue Building in New York City. The National Council, the body established to direct the Boy Scouts of America, held its first meeting in the East Room of the White House on February 14th, and had the honor of an address by President Taft. With that, Boy scouting in America had begun." Source: http://www.boyscoutstuff.com/text.html

      As a former President, Theodore Roosevelt was elected an Honorary
      Vice-President of the Boy Scouts of America. Woodrow Wilson was elected Honorary President. TR was the first and only man designated as the "Chief Scout Citizen." For many years after Theodore Roosevelt's death in 1919, several thousand Scouts and leaders in the New York area made annual pilgrimages to his grave in Oyster Bay. This year Bernard's troop is repeated this historic act of paying tribute to the "Old Lion," and visited TR's gravesite at Youngs Cemetary.

      Here are two quotes that indicate something of TR's attitude towards youth towards the Boy Scouts.

      "If you are going to do anything for the average man, you have to begin before he is a man."

      "More and more I have grown to believe in the Boy Scout movement. I regard it as one of the movements most full of promise for the future here in America. The Boy Scout movement is distinctly an asset to our country for the development of efficiency, virility, and good citizenship. It is essential that its leaders be men of strong, wholesome character; of unmistakable devotion to our country, its customs and ideals, as well as in soul and by law citizens thereof, whose wholehearted loyalty is given to this nation, and to this nation alone."
    • Linda E. Milano
      I m not denying that TR was involved - he was a supporter. BUT the stone seat at the camp in Suffolk County was Ted, Jr. s - often misidentified as TR s.
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 31, 2008
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        I'm not denying that TR was involved - he was a supporter.  BUT the stone seat at the camp in Suffolk County was Ted, Jr.'s - often misidentified as TR's.
         
        Linda
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 7:08 PM
        Subject: [tr-m] Theodore Roosevelt and the Boy Scouts of America

        Theodore Roosevelt was an ardent booster of the Boy Scouts and key to their success in the the United States almost from day one. Here's a little background on TR's involvement with the Boy Scouts. In 1910, a Chicago businessman, W. D. Boyce returned from England having been much impressed by the Scouting Movement that British Lieutenant-General Robert S.S. Baden-Powell had started in the UK and which had been based on Baden-Powell' s earlier experiences in the Boer War where he had established boy scouting troops to help soldiers in the field with non-combatant duties including campground management and messenger service. As a web site on the cultural history of the Boy Scouts explains, "In September of 1910, Baden-Powell came to America and gave his blessings to the Boy Scouts of America at a dinner held in his honor at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City...By that time, the Boy Scouts of America had begun to draw boys' workers and other civic leaders into the movement, and many of them were in attendance at the dinner or had their commendations read in their absence. Some of the more notable men showing their support that day were: John D. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt and Major General Leonard Wood. With credit from Baden-Powell as the originators of the Boy Scout idea, both Seton and Beard added considerable prestige to the Boy Scouts of America, but not nearly so much as the Honorary President and Vice-President - William Howard Taft and Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, respectively. Their willingness to associate themselves with the Boy Scouts of America was a tremendous boost, and with their addition the movement was, as one writer put it, "well launched." On January 1st, 1911, the Boy Scouts of America established their headquarters in the Fifth Avenue Building in New York City. The National Council, the body established to direct the Boy Scouts of America, held its first meeting in the East Room of the White House on February 14th, and had the honor of an address by President Taft. With that, Boy scouting in America had begun." Source: http://www.boyscout stuff.com/ text.html

        As a former President, Theodore Roosevelt was elected an Honorary
        Vice-President of the Boy Scouts of America. Woodrow Wilson was elected Honorary President. TR was the first and only man designated as the "Chief Scout Citizen." For many years after Theodore Roosevelt's death in 1919, several thousand Scouts and leaders in the New York area made annual pilgrimages to his grave in Oyster Bay. This year Bernard's troop is repeated this historic act of paying tribute to the "Old Lion," and visited TR's gravesite at Youngs Cemetary.

        Here are two quotes that indicate something of TR's attitude towards youth towards the Boy Scouts.

        "If you are going to do anything for the average man, you have to begin before he is a man."

        "More and more I have grown to believe in the Boy Scout movement. I regard it as one of the movements most full of promise for the future here in America. The Boy Scout movement is distinctly an asset to our country for the development of efficiency, virility, and good citizenship. It is essential that its leaders be men of strong, wholesome character; of unmistakable devotion to our country, its customs and ideals, as well as in soul and by law citizens thereof, whose wholehearted loyalty is given to this nation, and to this nation alone."

      • Keith Simon
        Photo: Theodore Roosevelt meets with Boy Scouts at his home, Sagamore Hill The first dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria to kick off Scouting was covered in the New
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 31, 2008
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          Photo: Theodore Roosevelt meets with Boy Scouts at his home, Sagamore Hill

          The first dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria to kick off Scouting was covered in the New York Times on September 24, 1910 on page 8  See http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C04E6DD1F39E333A25757C2A96F9C946196D6CF

          In a letter to a Boy Scout executive published in the first U.S. Boy Scout handbook, Theodore Roosevelt wrote:

          "The movement is one for efficiency and patriotism.  It does not try to make soldiers of Boy Scouts but to make boys who will turn out as men to be fine citizens and who will, if their country needs them, make better soldiers for having been Scouts.

          No man is a good citizen unless he so acts as to show that he actually uses the Ten Commandments and translates the Golden Rule into his life conduct and I don't mean by this in exceptional cases under spectacular circumstances, but I mean applying the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule in the ordinary affairs of every-day life.  I hope the Boy Scouts will practice truth and square dealing and courage and honesty.  The man who counts and the boy who counts are the man and boy who steadily endeavor to build up, to improve, to better living conditions everywhere and all about them.

          The same qualities that mean success or failure to the nation as a whole mean success or failure in men and boys individually.  To be helpless, self-indulgent, or wasteful will turn the boy into a mighty poor kind of man just as the indulgence in such vices by the men of a nation means the ruin of a nation.  Any boy is worth nothing if he has not got courage, courage to stand up against the forces of evil and courage to stand up in the right path.  Let him be unselfish and gentle, as well as strong and brave.  It should be a matter of pride to him that he is not afraid of anyone and that he scorns not to be gentle and considerate to everyone, especially to those who are weaker than he is.  If he doesn't treat his mother and sisters well, then he is a poor creature no matter what else he does; just as a man who doesn't treat his wife well is a poor kind of citizen no matter what his other qualities may be.  Let the boy remember he must have knowledge, he must cultivate a sound body and a good mind and train himself so that he can act with quick decision in any crisis that may arise.  Mind, eye, muscle all must be trained so that the boy can master himself and thereby learn to master his fate."

          An early Scout Julian Salomon once said of the Boy Scout movemenr, "The two things that gave Scouting great impetus and made it very popular were the uniform and Teddy Roosevelt's jingoism."

          Source:  http://www.sossi.org/scouters/roosevelt.htm

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