Boy Scouts of America History

The Boys Scouts of America (BSA) was incorporated on February 1910 by W. D. Boyce in Columbia. Thirty four delegates met on June 21st at the temporary national offices in New York at a local YMCA and developed organizations plans. Founders of Scouting included William Boyce, Ernest Thompson Seton, James West and Daniel Carter Beard. President William Howard Taft became an honorary president and President Theodore Roosevelt became a Chief Scout Citizen and honorary VP.

During the incorporation of BSA there were a number of other groups that catered to youths, some that used the same name. A number of troops were already meeting using a variation of the system in Britain. William Boyce's key contribution to the movement was to make it into a business. In Washington, D.C., he incorporated the BSA and recruited a number of young professionals many of whom were from the YMCA, to layout and design the program. He also offered some key funding for the new organization. A national office was established and a handbook was developed. A campaign was later started to include under their umbrella all the other scout membership organizations that were in existence. Only one group held out which was publisher William Randolph Hearst's group known as US Boy Scout.

The founders found themselves in a power struggle over the BSA's future direction. West was the original organizer and had the executive board's support on which way the BSA should go, but Seton seemed to always have ideas that were contrary to what the board wanted as well as West.

The scouts have not been without their fair share of controversies, there have been allegations of abuse and of discrimination. There have been rumors that this has been going on since almost the start of the program. However, the scouts were proactive and amongst the first national organizations of youths to address the sexual abuse issue and in the early 1980s developed a youth program to help educate the scouts, their leaders and their parents.


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