After Boyce lost his way in London, England in 1909, he stopped under a street lamp to try to figure out where he was in a dense fog. A young boy approached him and offered to guide him to where he needed to go.
When Boyce offered the boy a shilling for his help, the boy said, “No, sir, I am a scout. Scouts do not accept tips for Good Turns.”
After finishing his errand, Boyce asked the boy to take him to the British Scouting Office where he met Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement in Great Britain.
Boyce became very interested in scouting and was determined to start Boy Scouting in America. In 1910, Boyce filed incorporation papers for the Boy Scouts of America in Washington, DC where he recruited key youth professionals to design and operate Boy Scouts, and he provided funding for the organization.
Boyce’s purpose was “to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance and kindred virtues, using methods which are in common use by Boy Scouts.”
Three people influenced the BSA’s development more than any others: Ernest Thompson Seton, James West and Daniel “Uncle Dan” Beard.
Seton, a famous writer and artist, founded a boy’s program called Woodcraft Indians which in 1910 merged with the new organization of BSA. He became the BSA’s first Chief Scout from 1910 to 1915.
James West was a Washington, DC, attorney who dealt with juvenile cases. He was recruited into BSA in 1911 as the Executive Secretary that he soon changed to Chief Scout Executive. West helped make BSA a well-organized national structure. He retired as Chief Scout Executive in 1943.
Daniel Beard or “Uncle Dan” was loved by millions of American Boy Scouts during his lifetime. He was a well-known artist and outdoorsman. He founded an organization called The Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905.
Still to this day, no one knows what happened to the young boy that helped out Boyce when he was lost nor do they know his name. However, his Good Turn brought scouting to the United States.
Scouts from the United States showed their appreciation by erecting a statue of a buffalo in honor of the unknown scout which is placed in the British Scout Training Center in Gilwell Park, England.
On Sunday, Feb. 7, Boy Scouts celebrated Scout Sunday at churches all over the United States. This year’s Scout Sunday was very special because of the 100 year anniversary.