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The founding of Scouting was somewhat of accident.  While Lord Baden Powell was a General for the British Army prior to the turn of the century, serving during wars in Africa and India, he wrote a book for military scouts called Aids to Scouting.  Much to his surprise when he returns to England, discovering adolescent boys were acquiring his book, that he had written for adults.

On his return from Africa in 1903, Baden-Powell found his military training manual, Aids to Scouting, had become a best-seller, and was being used by teachers and youth organizations. Baden-Powell decided to re-write Aids to Scouting to suit a youth readership. In August 1907, he held an encampment on Brownsea Island to test out his ideas with approximately 20 boys.

After his observations on Bownsea Island, Baden Powell wrote Scouting for Boys from his findings and experiences. The Scouting movement exploded all over England. 

In 1909 America publisher William Boyce had become lost in the dense London fog, but was guided back to his destination by a young boy, who he went to tip, the boy declined the tip and told Boyce that he was merely doing his duty as a Boy Scout. Fascinated by this comment, Boyce asked the Scout to take him to the organizer of this Scout program. Boyce met with Lord Baden Powell and was very impressed thus bring the Scouting movement to the United States. 

From the outside Scouting could be very easily misunderstood as a camping organization.  I hark back almost 35 years ago, when my Troop 322 from Commack, New York, was camping at Baiting Hollow Scout Camp. It was one of those cold rainy March weekends, with some wet snow mixed into the rain drops.  We had gone out to camp on Friday night, and we were staying until Sunday morning.  Now remember this was before cell phones.  We had three independent patrols that were responsible for cooking their own meals in their section of the camp site under their own dining fly’s.  In my Troop the adults cooked for themselves while each youth patrol cooked their own meals. 

It was the middle of the afternoon on Saturday, and one of the Scout’s parents show up to “rescue” us from the weather.  The irony of the story was that we were all warm dry and well feed, and our tents were all pitched in high spots of the campsite, so there were no puddles under our sleeping bags.  The parents who came to rescued us were all soaked and cold, since unlike the Scouts in my Troop, they did not dress for the weather, that our Scouts had trained for at our weekly Troop meetings.  This is just one small example of how outdoor adventure that is one of the key methods our organization uses to meet the aims of Scouting. 

The Aims of Scouting are character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness.

The methods we use are as follows:  Ideals – the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. Patrols – The patrol method gives Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. Outdoor Programs – Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another as I had previous referenced.   Advancement – Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. Association with Adults – Scout leaders can be positive role models for the members of their Troops.  Personal Growth – As Scouts plan their activities and progress toward their goals, they experience personal growth. The Good Turn concept is a major part of the personal growth method of Scouting. And an example of a Good Turn is upcoming Scouting for Food Drive, which for those yellow door hangers.  Leadership Development – The Scouting program encourages Scouts to learn and practice leadership skills.  And the Uniform – The uniform makes the Scout Troop visible as a force for good and creates a positive youth image in the community.

So that cold and wet campout I was on 35 years ago was the tool and part of the methods to help build the character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. 

Those wet and cold campouts still occur today locally at Camp Berry and Camp Lakota, but the product is a youth who is prepared for life and a prepared to become a future leader, not only in the outdoors but in society. 

Our Cub Scout program serves youth from Kindergarten to 5th grade, both boys and girls, while our Scouts BSA program serves boys and girls in gender specific Troops from 5th grade to the age of 18.  

The youth protection protocols in Scouting are robust, where we require all of our volunteers to complete a background check, complete youth protection training every two years, and our key tenant of two deep leadership where no youth should ever be in a one-on-one situation with an adult within Scouting.  We even go as far as not allowing youth to share a tent who are more than two years difference in age.  I would encourage all members of the community to take our youth protection training, it is not only good for our volunteers’ leaders, but it can very good for parents and community members on how to identify and prevent child abuse.  Scouting even has a cyber chip program that is focused on online safety that is age specific and good for all youth not just Scouts.

Scouting is a game with a purpose, for all youth!  I hope to see you along the Scouting trail!

To learn more about Scouting, Volunteers and the training Scouting offers for volunteers visit www.BlackSwampBSA.org

Marc D. Kogan has been serving the Boy Scouts of America as a commissioned professional since 1998 and currently the Scout Executive/Executive Director for the Black Swamp Area Council.  The Black Swamp Area Council serves 13 counties in Northwest and West Central Ohio with the programs of the Boy Scouts of America.  As a youth in Scouting, Marc earned the rank of Eagle Scout. In addition, he was bestowed the Vigil Honor from the Order of the Arrow and completed the Wood Badge training.  In addition, Marc has served as a Cubmaster and currently serves as committee member for the Scouts, BSA Troop, where his son is working on his Star Rank.  He resides in Findlay, OH with his wife and their son.  


Black Swamp Area Council
2100 Broad Avenue, Findlay Ohio
(419) 422-4356