Founders Of BSA

Robert S. S. Baden-Powell

As a youth, Robert Baden-Powell greatly enjoyed the
outdoors, learning about nature and how to live in the
wilderness. After returning as a military hero from service in
Africa, Baden-Powell discovered that English boys were
reading the manual about stalking and survival in the
wilderness that he had written for British soldiers. Gathering
ideas from Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard,
and others, he rewrote the manual as a nonmilitary nature
skill book and called it Scouting for Boys. To test his ideas,
Baden-Powell brought together 22 boys to camp at
Brownsea Island, off the coast of England. This historic
campout was a success and resulted in the advent of
Scouting. Thus, the imagination and inspiration of
Baden-Powell, later proclaimed Chief Scout of the World,
brought Scouting to youth the world over.

Ernest Thompson Seton

Born in Scotland, Ernest Thompson Seton immigrated to
America as a youth in the 1880s. His fascination with the
wilderness led him to become a naturalist, an artist, and an
author, and through his works he influenced both youth and
adults. Seton established a youth organization called the
Woodcraft Indians, and his background of outdoor skills and
interest in youth made him a logical choice for the position of
first Chief Scout of the BSA in 1910. His many volumes of
Scoutcraft became an integral part of Scouting, and his
intelligence and enthusiasm helped turn an idea into reality.

Daniel Carter Beard

Woodsman, illustrator, and naturalist, Daniel Carter Beard
was a pioneering spirit of the Boy Scouts of America.
Already 60 years old when the Boy Scouts of America was
formed, he became a founder and merged it with his own
boys' organization, the Sons of Daniel Boone. As the first
national Scout commissioner, Beard helped design the
original Scout uniform and introduced the elements of the
First Class Scout badge. "Uncle Dan," as he was known to
boys and leaders, will be remembered as a colorful figure
dressed in buckskin who helped form Scouting in the United

William D. Boyce

In 1909, Chicago publisher William D. Boyce lost his way in
a dense London fog. A boy came to his aid and, after guiding
the man, refused a tip, explaining that as a Scout he would
not take a tip for doing a Good Turn. This gesture by an
unknown Scout inspired a meeting with Robert
Baden-Powell, the British founder of the Boy Scouts. As a
result, William Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of
America on February 8, 1910. He also created the Lone
Scouts, which merged with the Boy Scouts of America in

James E. West

James E. West was appointed the first Chief Scout Executive
of the Boy Scouts of America in 1911. Although orphaned
and physically handicapped, he had the perseverance to
graduate from law school and become a successful attorney.
This same determination provided the impetus to help build
Scouting into the largest and most effective youth
organization in the world. When he retired in 1943, West
was recognized throughout the country as the true architect
of the Boy Scouts of America.
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