Troop 111's
Home Page
Troop Schedule
Recent Events
Why should you join?
The Uniform
Scout Leadership
Summer Camp
Future Events
BSA History
Scouting Links

Boy Scout Troop 111
(Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin)
ScoutLander Contact Our Troop Member Login

History of the Boy Scouts of America

Please take a moment to learn more about the history of the Boy Scouts of America. The BSA recently celebrated 100 years, and continues to offer an outstanding program to today's youth. Read on to see where and when it all started, and how it has developed over the years to what it is today.

Legend of the Unknown Scout

The Legend -- William Boyce was lost on a foggy street in London in 1909 when an unknown Scout came to his aid, guiding him to his destination. The boy then refused Boyce's tip, explaining that he was a Boy Scout and was merely doing his daily good turn. Soon thereafter, Boyce met with General Baden-Powell, who was Chief Scout at the time. Boyce returned to America, and, four months later, founded the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910.

Facts Behind the Legend -- The story of the Unknown Scout has been described as "true, at least in essence." Some details, however, have been added to the known facts. According to Edward Rowan, Boyce stopped in London en route to a safari in British East Africa. While an unknown Scout helped him and refused a tip, this Scout only helped him cross a street to a hotel, did not take him to the Scout headquarters, and Boyce never met Baden-Powell. Upon Boyce's request, the Scout did give him the address of the Scout headquarters where Boyce later went on his own and picked up information about the group. Boyce returned to London after his safari and visited the Scout headquarters again and gained the use of Scouting For Boys in the development of a U.S. Scouting program. While Boyce's original account does not mention there being fog that fateful day, in a 1928 account he did say there was fog. Climatologists report no fog on that day in London.

James E. West, the first professional Chief Scout Executive of the BSA, contended with competing factions amongst the founders of the BSA, primarily Daniel Carter Beard and Ernest Thompson Seton, who pushed their pioneer heritage and American Indian themes respectively and personally ran their organizations. West usually just modified the British program and opted to push the story of Boyce and the unknown Scout. The origin of the fog into the legend came later, but there was no fog. By 1923 the fog was firmly established as part of the legend because in 1911 a man from Providence, Rhode Island was lost in a fog and helped by a Scout who refused a tip. This man was so impressed that he remembered Scouting in his will and West recognized the value of fog to the legend.



WWI and Beyond

Boy Scouts served as crowd control at the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson in 1913, and have served at every inauguration since in some ceremonial role. The Philadelphia Area Council started a Scout honor society called the Order of the Arrow in 1915 that eventually became an important part of the Boy Scout program.

Paul Sleman, Colin H. Livingstone, Ernest S. Martin and James E. West successfully lobbied Congress for a federal charter for the BSA – partly as a way to deal with competition from the Lone Scouts of America, which President Woodrow Wilson signed on June 15, 1916. It reads:

That the purpose of this corporation shall be 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 the methods which are now in common use by Boy Scouts.

During the war, radio transmitters were regulated, and Scouts were called to look for unauthorized units. Scouts were used as message runners, coast watchers, and were to be alert for men who had not reported for duty. Over $352 million of war bonds were sold by Scouts along with $101 million War Saving Stamps. They collected fruit pits to be processed into charcoal for gas masks and inventoried black walnut trees for use as propellers and gun stocks. The War Garden program was intended for Scouts to raise food at home, but was only moderately successful. When Baden-Powell returned to the US in 1919, the BSA held a huge rally in Central Park, and later a rally for the return of General John J. Pershing. During the war, it was noted that troops tended to fold if the Scoutmaster was called for service. Changes in the troop structure included limiting the size to 32 Scouts, the introduction of the troop committee and the senior patrol leader position. The Associate Scout, Veteran Scout and Pioneer Scout programs were introduced for Scouts with loose or no troop affiliation. Select paid commissioners in first class councils started to become the first Scout executives and an early professional development program was implemented. Theodore Roosevelt died in January 1919, Dan Beard lead a pilgrimage of Scouts to the grave in October in what became an annual event.

The BSA sent a large contingent to the 1920 World Scout Jamboree. Baden-Powell presented the Silver Wolf to West and Livingstone. West was persuaded to write the constitution and by-laws for what became the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). As part of the world movement, the BSA adopted the left handshake and a new uniform: the high collar jacket was replaced by a shirt and neckerchief and shorts were added as an option. 


                                     "Some of the Men Behind the Scenes" 1920 Jamboree Staff                                                            Cartoon of Jamboree Leaders
                          First row of chairs, left to right: W. G. Montgomery, Esq., A. H. Noble, Esq.,                          L-R: James E. West, Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America,
                  H. S. Martin, Esq., Major Lord Hamption, D.S.O., The Chief Scout, Major A. G. Wade, M.C.,          Willie Clarkson, "The Chief," Gen. Sir R. Baden-Powell, Major A. G. Wade, M/C.,
                        P. Armytage, Esq., M.V.O., Col. E. A. P. Hobday, C.M.G., A. Poyser, Esq.                                         Organizing Secretary, Rob Attwell, Stage Manager 
                                                                                                                                                                       Cartoon by "Matt" from the "Daily Sketch."


With a high concentration of troops in the New York City area, administration started to become burdensome. In 1921, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was persuaded to head a foundation overseeing the New York borough councils. Dr. George J. Fisher, a YMCA administrator, was recruited as the Deputy Chief Scout Executive. The US was divided 12 regions and then into areas directly reportable to the National Council. Boy's Life was in financial trouble by 1923 and West took over as editor. James J. Storrow replaced Colin Livingstone as president in 1925 and William Hillcourt, later known as "Green Bar Bill" began his association with the BSA. The first program for Scouts with disabilities was introduced in 1923. After Storrow died in 1926, Milton A. McRae became the president briefly, followed by Walter W. Head. The Silver Buffalo Award was created in 1926: the first awards were to Baden-Powell, the Unknown Scout (presented as a statue at Gilwell Park), W. D. Boyce, Livingstone, Storrow (posthumously) Beard, Seton and Robinson. Charles Lindbergh was elected as the 18th Honorary Scout in 1927 and awarded
the Silver Buffalo in 1928.

The Silver Buffalo Award and picture of Dan Beard and Lord Baden-Powell and wearing Siver Buffalo Award, May 1937

The Rural Scouting program was expanded with the Railroad Scouting program in 1926. The BSA began expanding the Negro Scouting program: by 1927 thirty-two communities in the south had "colored troops", with twenty-six troops in Louisville, Kentucky. The junior assistant Scoutmaster position was created in 1926 and Eagle Palms were added in 1927. Boys' Life promoted a photo safari to Africa for three Scouts in 1928. The three Scouts, Robert Douglas, David Martin, and Douglas Oliver, wrote the book Three Boy Scouts in Africa upon their return as part of their requirement of being selected for this trip with Martin and Osa Johnson, American photographers known for their African safari movies and photographs.

Later in 1928, a trip to the Antarctic with Commander Byrd was promoted and Eagle Scout Paul Siple was selected for the expedition. Hillcourt wrote the first Patrol Leader Handbook, published in 1929. The Silver Wolf was presented to Beard and Mortimer L. Schiff. The first Silver Buffalo Awards were presented in 1926. Membership registration and fees for volunteers began in 1929. By the end of the decade the BSA had a membership of 842,540.


"Three Scouts in Africa" book-publishd in 1928, Paul Stiple dressed for Antartic exploration, "Handbook for Patrol Leaders" First Edition book

Scouting Comes to the USA

    Boyce returned to the United States and with Edward S. Stewart and Stanley D. Willis he incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910 and applied for a congressional charter. The bill was tied up with a charter for the Rockefeller Foundation and Boyce withdrew it after many delays. Around this time, William Randolph Hearst, a rival newspaperman, formed the American Boy Scouts (ABS), a group that lasted through 1918. Between business and travel, Boyce did not spend much time on the new organization. Edgar M. Robinson, a senior administrator of the YMCA in New York City, learned of the new Boy Scout program and traveled to Chicago where he agreed to help Boyce organize the Boy Scouts as a national organization. Boyce pledged $1000 a month for a year to support the program– but reports indicate only three or four payments were actually made. Robinson returned to New York to begin the search for members. After a series of meetings in early 1910, the Woodcraft Indians led by Ernest Thompson Seton, the Boy Scouts of the United States headed by Colonel Peter Bomus and the National Scouts of America headed by Colonel William Verbeck were absorbed into the BSA. The National Highway Patrol Association Scouts headed by Colonel E. S. Cornell and the Boy Pioneers (formerly known as the Sons of Daniel Boone) headed by Daniel Carter Beard were folded. The BSA National Office opened in the 28th Street YMCA in New York City on 1 June 1910. The first managing secretary (the precursor to the Chief Scout Executive) was John Alexander, a YMCA administrator from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By autumn BSA had 2,500 leader applications from 44 states and 150,0900 youth inquiries.

    The National Council was formed in the fall of 1910 with Colin H. Livingstone as the national president, Robinson becoming the managing secretary (on a temporary leave from the YMCA) and Seton as Chief Scout. Beard, Bomus and Verbeck became the national Scout commissioners. Seton wrote A Handbook of Woodcraft, Scouting, and Life-craft, the original edition of what is now the Boy Scout Handbook. It was hastily published and shipped to potential leaders for review. Robinson wanted to return to his full time position at the YMCA, so Livingstone put out inquiries for a replacement. They hired James E. West an enterprising young lawyer known as an advocate of children's rights. West was hired on a six month temporary basis that lasted 35 years. 

Original BSA emblem from 1911


James West and the Early Days

    The new BSA office on 5th Avenue opened in January 1911 with West at the helm and the movement began to grow at a rapid pace. One of West's first tasks was to revise the British-based program outline in Seton's handbook and adapt it for American boys. West was instrumental in expanding the third part of the Scout Oath:
                            To help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

He also pushed to add three parts to the Scout Law: brave, clean, and reverent. He then pressed article III of the constitution of the BSA, now known as the religious principle:
                           Boy Scouts of America believes that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.

    As the BSA grew, the concept of the local council grew as a method of administration. With the local council came the beginning of the Commissioner Service. Local commissioners formed the first councils and started the tradition of direct support to the Scoutmaster. A first-class council had a paid commissioner, and could keep 15 cents of each 25 cent registration, while second-class councils with volunteer commissioners could keep five cents. The first annual meeting was held in February 1911 at the White House. It was agreed that the President of the United States— then William Howard Taft —was to be the honorary president of the BSA. Every U.S. president since has been elected by the Executive Board as the honorary president of the BSA. Former President Theodore Roosevelt was selected as the Chief Scout Citizen and honorary vice-president. Gifford Pinchot was selected as Chief Woodsman. 


  The new edition of the handbook– The Official Handbook for Boys was published. West was elevated in prestige through a change in his title when in November 1911 he became the Chief Scout Executive. He and his staff created two requirements that became fundamental to the structure of the organization, which were the requirement that troop charters be issued to a community organization or established group of citizens (first known as the sponsoring institution and now known as a chartered organization), and secondly, that each Scoutmaster would be under the supervision of a registered troop committee consisting of a chairman and at least two members who were not the Scoutmaster or his assistants.




In February 1912, Baden-Powell returned to the United States and West accompanied him on tour. Baden-Powell remarked that the BSA needed better communications. After discussions with the Executive Board, Boyce offered to fund a magazine if it were published by his company in Chicago. Livingstone declined the offer, noting that the board wanted the magazine to be published from the New York office. Boyce withdrew from all administrative duties and returned to newspaper management. West learned of a Scouting magazine called Boys' Life and recommended it for purchase. The first cover by

Norman Rockwell, Scout at Ship's Wheel, appeared on the September 1913 issue. In 1912, Sea Scouting became an official program, based on the British Sea Scout program. Arthur Rose Eldred became the first Eagle Scout in 1912. 



Early Controversies

    The original handbook used a lot of material from Baden-Powell's handbook. The comments on loyalty to employers concerned the labor unions– the Industrial Workers of the World in Portland, Oregon protested loudly during the 1912 tour. These comments were removed from the 1911 edition and West made much of the labor positions of the rival American Boy Scouts.

    Protests over the inclusion of African Americans arose early in the program. When Boyce departed, he turned the Boy Scout corporation over to the members of the Executive Board with the stipulation that the Boy Scouts would not discriminate on the basis of race or creed. The BSA established the position that African Americans should be included, but that local communities should follow the same policies that they followed in the school systems. Thus, much of the American South as well as many major northern communities had segregated programs with "colored troops" until the late 1940s. Some troops in the South threatened to leave BSA and burn their uniforms if African American Scouts were permitted, but West was key in overcoming those obstacles.


    Since the BSA had early and enduring ties with the YMCA, a firmly Protestant organization, the Catholic church forbade their boys to join. The Catholics accepted the BSA in 1913, but troops would be Catholic only under Catholic adult leadership. Later that year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affiliated their Mutual Improvement Association with the BSA with similar restrictions. 



    In the years before World War I, pacifism and patriotism often came into conflict, and the BSA was sometimes in the middle. Some thought that the BSA was too militaristic, especially as characterized by their military style uniforms and discipline, while others felt that the BSA was unpatriotic in their stance against military training. In 1912, a member of another organization, the American Boy Scouts, shot another boy with a rifle. West quickly distanced the BSA from the ABS program and any military training or discipline. He refused to allow the BSA Supply group to sell the Remington rifle endorsed by the ABS and de-emphasized the Marksmanship merit badge. The National Rifle Association lobbied the Executive Board to issue the badge. In 1914, Colonel Leonard Wood resigned from the Board after a pacifistic article was published in Boys' Life that he considered to be "almost treasonable". Eventually, the rhetoric calmed down, and the BSA began to issue the Marksmanship merit badge. On the issue of militarism and Scouting, Baden-Powell said he had seen enough of war and that "...the boys should be kept away from the idea that they are being trained so that some day they might fight for their country. It is not war Scouting that is needed now, but peace Scouting." Baden-Powell also thought the BSA was too bureaucratic.

    The original use of the fleur-de-lis as an emblem was repugnant to some pacifist organizations who thought it a symbol of war. Beard added the eagle to the symbol and associated it with the compass rose. This was another conflict between Beard and Seton, as Seton had pressed for a wolf on the Scout emblem and as the emblem of what became the Eagle Scout award.

    As early as 1910, Beard and Seton had an argument over who was the founder of Scouting. Programs for boys had been advanced by Seton in 1902, Beard in 1905 and Baden-Powell in 1906. Since Baden-Powell had based parts of the program on Seton's work, Seton claimed to be the founder. By 1915, the conflicts between had escalated and in an attempt to defuse the situation, West began promoting the story of the Unknown Scout that emphasized Boyce as the founder of the BSA. Seton still had Canadian citizenship, and this chafed some in the BSA, including West who often referred to him as "our alien friend". The board did not re-elect Seton as Chief Scout in 1915 and he soon stopped publishing in Boys' Life. By early 1916, Seton was officially out of the BSA program, and most of his contributions were removed from the 1916 edition of the handbook. Seton later established the Woodcraft League based on his older works and claimed he had not actually merged them into the BSA. 



    Boyce had argued for a program to serve boys who could not participate in a troop because of time or location, but West was against any such a program. In 1915, Boyce incorporated the Lone Scouts of America (LSA) and invested all of his new boys as members and himself as the "Chief Totem". The BSA later formed the Pioneer Scouts in 1916 as an outreach to mostly rural areas with only moderate success. In 1924, the LSA merged into the BSA and was run as the Rural Scouting Division for the next decade.

    West fiercely defended the use of the term Scout and the right to market Scouting merchandise. When the American Boy Scouts re-emerged as the United States Boy Scouts (USBS), West sued and won. The USBS renamed to the American Cadets but soon folded. The Salvation Army Life-Saving Scouts folded in the 1930s. By 1930, West claimed to have stopped 435 groups from unauthorized use of Scouting; this both the use as part of an organizational name and in the use of commercial products. When the Girl Scouts of America started, West discouraged the program. West had earlier worked with Luther Gulick when the Camp Fire Girls were established and always considered them to be the sister program of the BSA. When the Girl Scouts refused to give up their name in 1918, West appealed to Baden-Powell with no results. Lou Henry Hoover became the president of the Girl Scouts in 1922 and First Lady in 1929; West stopped his campaign to rename the Girl Scouts.

BSA in the 1930's

Mortimer Schiff was elected as president in 1931, but died after serving one month and Walter Head returned until 1946. Schiff's mother purchased and donated 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land in New Jersey and donated it to the BSA, thus creating Mortimer L. Schiff Scout Reservation as a national training center.  


 President Roosevelt encouraged Scouts to do their part during the Great Depression. Scouts responded by providing services to assist relief agencies and Scout leaders provided training for the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Senior Scout program within the troop and the Rovering program for older Scouts was introduced in 1933, but was not promoted and was discontinued in 1947. 

    The BSA planned to celebrate their 25th anniversary with a jamboree in Washington, D.C., but it was canceled due to an outbreak of
polio. An experimental Wood Badge course was conducted in 1936 along with a Rover Wood Badge Course– both were based on the then current British syllabi. The 1937 National Scout Jamboree was opened by Dan Beard who lit a fire with flint and steel using wood from all 48 states. 


    In 1937, oil magnate
Waite Phillips donated to the BSA a large tract of land in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico that became the Philmont Scout Ranch. Scouts participated at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Just under 4,000 Scouts camped on site and served as ushers, guides and honor guards. A rally attracted 63,0000 Scouts. The decade ended with a membership of 1,391,831.                                                                      




1940's through the 1960's

In 1940, composer Irving Berlin wrote to West expressing a desire to further the aims of Scouting. He created a foundation to distribute the royalties from his song "God Bless America" to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. In 1949 the minimum age for a Boy Scout was lowered from 12 to 11 and adults were now proscribed from earning merit badges and youth ranks.

BSA membership rose dramatically between 1950 and 1960, from 2.8 million to 5.2 million. The 40th anniversary celebrated the theme of "Strengthen the Arm of Liberty." As part of the theme, the BSA distributed over 200 replicas of the Statue of Liberty. The 8-foot-4-inch (2.54 m) copper statues are known as the "Little Sisters of Liberty". In 1956, Scouts and Scouters who participated in an approved international activity or event were allowed to wear the World Crest as a permanent award. Local councils were allowed to present the crest in 1957. In 1959, the Boy Scout Handbook's dimensions increased to their present size and it was printed in full color for the first time. 

The 1960s saw the peak periods of membership for the BSA in almost every category, as the baby-boomer generation had its Scout-age boys joining packs and troops across the country. Exploring was becoming more oriented to career-exploration as a primary emphasis. The BSA was applauded by most for firmly prohibiting racial discrimination in its rules and regulations.

The Air Scouts program established in 1941 and renamed Air Explorers in 1949, was disestablished in 1965 and fully merged into the then existing Explorer program of the BSA as a specialty called 'Aviation Explorers', eventually discontinuing its uniforms by the early 1970s. It still exists today as part of the BSA's Learning for Life Explorer program. A parallel program with a nautical emphasis known as Sea Scouts continues to exist today as Sea Scouting, part of the Venturing program that the Boy Scouts of America offers for young men and women.

Boy Scout in the 1970's

In September 1972 the Boy Scouts launched the Improved Scouting Program. They published a radically revised handbook which made learning outdoor skills optional for the three lower ranks, and they eliminated outdoor merit badges, no longer considering them required; those removed included Camping, Cooking, Nature, Swimming, and Lifesaving. Under the new program, a Scout could reach First Class without hiking, camping or cooking over a fire. The Scoutcraft information and requirements were replaced by information on drug abuse, family finances, child care and community problems. The use of boy was de-emphasized: the eighth edition of the handbook was titled simply Scout Handbook and the new strategic logo used Scouting/USA. The concept of the personal growth agreement conferences was introduced as a requirement for each rank.


Other changes included new colored cloth badges for all ranks and positions and "skill awards", represented by a metal loop worn on the belt, that were awarded instantly at the time they were earned. They supplemented individual rank requirements which along with merit badges were also presented immediately, and recognized later at the court of honor. The merit badge program—previously only available to First Class and above—was opened to all ranks, and merit badges were required for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class. The number of required merit badges for Eagle Scout was increased to 24, and Camping merit badge was dropped from the required list. The entry age was changed to 11 or 10-½ if a boy had finished fifth grade. For the first time the handbook emphasized modern conservation practices, de-emphasizing pioneering and introducing modern knife and ax usage. It eliminated the destructive practice of ditching around tents.


The Senior Boy Scout program was replaced by the Leadership Corps. Initially the Leadership Corps was limited to leaders 14–15; older boys were expected to become junior assistant Scoutmasters or move to Exploring. The Leadership Corps could wear the forest green shirt with a Scout BSA strip until it was discontinued in 1979. The Leadership Corps patch was worn in place of the patrol patch, The first version of the patch was trapezoidal, replaced by a round patch in 1987. The red beret was initially introduced for the Leadership Corps, and extended for troop wear in 1973.

Troop Leader Development (TLD), adapted from the White Stag Leadership Development Program, was introduced in 1974 to train youth leaders. The Cornerstone program was introduced to train adult leaders. Leaders who completed the course were recognized by a special version of the leader's emblem that was embroidered with mylar thread, giving a shiny look.


From the early 1920s, the BSA had been divided into 12 numbered regions, each designated by a Roman numeral, which consisted of territories of several states. The 12 regions followed the organization of the federal reserve system at that time. In 1972, the 12 regions were consolidated into a new alignment of six geographic regions (Northeast, East Central, Southeast, North Central, South Central, and Western).

The changes in the advancement requirements were a disastrous failure for Scouting and membership plummeted. The BSA lured William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt out of retirement in 1979 and he spent an entire year writing the 9th Edition of the Boy Scout Handbook. It was a return to the traditional Scouting program after the disastrous membership losses suffered by the 1970s program. From a peak of 6.5 million Scouts in 1972, membership declined to a low of 4.3 million in 1980. The 9th Edition has a great deal in common with prior editions of the handbooks that Hillcourt had helped write. The new edition reproduced entire paragraphs and pictures from the earlier editions.


In 1976 the National Boy Scouts discontinued the Improved Scouting Program and introduced "All Out for Scouting", a back-to-basics program developed by Hillcourt. The program was launched with "Brownsea Double-Two", a week-long course for the senior patrol leader who would then introduce the troop-level "Operation Flying Start" to their units. It emphasized teaching and practicing Scout skills, the purposes of Scouting, and the role of the patrol method within the troop program.  Many councils ran both Brownsea and Troop Leader Development, but some councils held only one or the other. The number of Eagle required merit badges was reduced back to 21, and Camping was restored to the required list.

In 1979, the next iteration of junior leader training was introduced in the Troop Leader Training Conference. It replaced TLD and Brownsea Double-Two. It was published with the intent "to eventually replace Troop Leader Development (#6544) and also provide the Scoutcraft skills experiences of Brownsea Double Two." This paralleled a roll-back of an urban emphasis in Scouting which had removed mention of the word "campfire" from the 8th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook. While the stated aim was to consolidate the two programs, many councils continued to put on both programs or used elements from the previous programs, producing inconsistency in how junior leader training was delivered nation-wide.

The 1980's and the 1990's


In 1980, the new Boy Scout uniform designed by Oscar de la Renta was introduced. The Varsity Scouts program was introduced in 1984 as an alternate program for older boys.

In 1989, some of the last elements of the Improved Scout Program ended when the skill award program was discontinued and the individual requirements were returned to the ranks. The Leadership Corps program was eliminated and the Venture crew and Varsity team programs for older boys 14–17 within the troop were introduced. Initially, girls were allowed to participate in team and crew activities, but this was later quietly dropped. These programs used the Venture/Varsity Letter with activity pins for recognition. The Varsity team program within the troop was discontinued in 1996. When the Venturing program was introduced in 1998, Venture crews were redesignated as Venture patrols. In early 2005, confusion has been raised over whether the BSA quietly stopped allowing Venture Patrols to use the Venture/Varsity Letter and activity pins, restricting them to just Varsity Scouts. The published statement said "only Varsity Scouts can earn the program's Varsity letter...". The statement omits the point however that members of a Venture patrol can still earn a Venture letter and activity pins. The BSA's 2007 Official Placement of Insignia specifies the placement of the Venture letter on the merit badge sash. Initially, the youth leaders were the Venture crew chief and assistant crew chief and the Varsity team captain and team co-captain. The adult leaders were the assistant Scoutmaster Venture and the assistant Scoutmaster Varsity. All of these positions and the emblems were eliminated except for assistant Scoutmaster Venture.


In 1992, the six regions were reorganized again into four regions—Western, Central, Southern and Northeast. In 1990 requirements for the World Crest were changed to taking part in an international exhibit or display or an international event. The requirements were eliminated in 1991, and all Scouts now wear the World Crest as a display of world brotherhood in Scouting. The International Activity Patch replaced the World Crest as an emblem of participation in an international event. This is also the era in which the BSA restructured in an effort to reduce manpower by consolidating smaller councils into larger ones. Venturing made its debut in 1998.


Scouting Today -- Venturing and Explorer Posts

Shortly after Boy Scouting was founded in the United States, its creators encountered a problem with older boys. Some grew bored with the program, usually around 14–15, while others didn't want to leave their troops after reaching the age of 18. To alleviate this problem, a number of new programs were created for older boys over time, including the Sea Scouts (1912), Senior Scouts and Explorer Scouts (1935), Rover Scouts (c. 1938), and Air Scouts (1942). Around 1935, most of these were brought together under the overall Senior Scout Division. In 1949, these programs were reworked into Exploring, which included Sea Explorers and Air Explorers. In 1958, these were further re-worked and condensed into a unified Exploring program with Air Explorers and Sea Explorers as relatively independent sub-groups.

In the 1950s and beyond, many Explorer posts chose to become specialty posts, with the encouragement of the BSA. Many of these posts were chartered to businesses and government agencies (such as police, fire departments and hospitals). In the 1960s and further into the 1970s, this career education emphasis became an important aspect of the overall Exploring program. However, outdoor-oriented posts, as well as those specializing in sports and hobbies also were popular, and some were quite large.

Continuing surveys of teenage boys done by the BSA indicated that Explorer-age teenagers, including current Explorers, were interested in including young women in their group activities. The BSA made the first change in this direction in 1969 by opening special-interest posts to young women to be "associate members". After two years, the BSA decided to allow any Explorer post to accept young women and/or young men, based on the desires of the chartered organization, and many Explorer posts became co-educational.

In the 1970s, some councils were starting Explorer posts that met during high school elective classes, primarily for career exploration classes that featured volunteer speakers representing careers. Because these posts were structurally different, with meetings being adult directed and primarily seminars and the membership being very fluid, the SSA created the membership category of Career Awareness Exploring, and these high school based posts were moved into this category. Later, when the Learning for Life division was formed, these posts were renamed High School Career Awareness Groups, and moved from Exploring to Learning for Life.

During the 1970s, 1980s, and beyond, Exploring continued to offer the National Explorer Conferences and the Law Enforcement Explorer Conferences, as well as unique programs like the Explorer Mock Trial Competition. Explorers met in area conferences as well. Qualified Explorers were able to run for regional and national Explorer offices, with the National Explorer President and Vice President attending national meetings and participating in the annual Report to the Nation.

In August 1998, the BSA decided to reorganize the Exploring program, and moved all career-oriented Explorer posts to their Learning for Life subsidiary. Those youth and adults continued to be Explorers, but no longer would be members of the BSA. Posts that specialized in outdoor activities (including Sea Scouts, sports, hobbies, and religious activities) were retained in the BSA but moved in to the new Venturing Division. Venturers would be able to continue wearing the traditional green uniform shirt and earn BSA awards.


Venturing was launched without some of the test pilot program development that normally was used by the BSA, and some believe this was because of the legal pressures. However, some of the new Venturing program elements (such as the new Silver and Ranger awards) had already been in development for over a year, and were rolled out with the first Venturing program manuals. The name Venturing was chosen since that term was being used for this age group with other national Scout associations.

Since 1998, a number of enhancements to Venturing have been introduced, and the manuals have been updated. Additional awards (such as the Quest and Trust Awards) have been added. New leadership training programs for youth such as Venturing Leadership Skills Course and Kodiak/Kodiak-X (formerly called Nature of Leadership) have been rolled out, as well as Powder Horn for adults.

Venturing, like Exploring, continued the tradition of having national and regional youth presidents. The last elected National Explorer President Jon Fulkerson served in that capacity for a period of two weeks, until August 1, 1998 at which time he became the first national Venturing president. His first term of office was spent promoting the infant program and working on violence prevention programs that have been adopted by the Venturing division. Currently, nominations are solicited for regional presidents, who are selected at the Annual National Meeting of the BSA in May by a subcommittee from the National Venturing Committee. The president is now selected from the pool of the four region presidents of the previous term. Many councils have council level Venturing youth cabinets (which may be called Venturing Officer Associations or Teen Leader Councils) who plan and carry out Venturing events at the council and district levels.