Troop 50 History | The History of Boy Scouts | Early Days in America


The History of the Boy Scouts of America

The Story of a Good Turn

Taken from the Boy Scout Handbook

One day in 1909 in London, England, an American visitor, William D. Boyce, lost his way in a dense fog. He stopped under a street lamp and tried to figure out where he was. A boy approached him and asked if he could be of help.
"You certainly can," said Boyce. He told the boy that he wanted to find a certain business office in the center of the city.
"I'll take you there," said the boy.
When they got to the destination, Mr. Boyce reached into his pocket for a tip. But the boy stopped him.
"No thank you, sir. I am a Scout. I won't take anything for helping."
"A Scout? And what might that be?" asked Boyce.
The boy told the American about himself and his brother Scouts. Boyce became very interested. After finishing his errand, he had the boy take him to the British Scouting office.
At the office, Boyce met Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the famous British general who had founded the Scouting movement in Great Britain. Boyce was so impressed with what he learned that he decided to bring Scouting home with him.
On February 8, 1910, Boyce and a group of outstanding leaders founded the Boy Scouts of America. From that day forth, Scouts have celebrated February 8 as the birthday of Scouting in the United States.
What happened to the boy who helped Mr. Boyce find his way in the fog? No one knows. He had neither asked for money nor given his name, but he will never be forgotten. His Good Turn helped bring the Scouting movement to our country.
In the British Scout Training Center at Gilwell Park, England, Scouts from the United States erected a statue of an American buffalo in honor of this unknown Scout. One Good Turn to one man became a Good Turn to millions of American boys. Such is the power of a Good Turn.

Boy Scout Saluting

Boy Scout Illustration

Boy Scout Carrying Baby

Boy Scout Sign

Several of the graphics on this page are by Norman Rockwell. At age 19, Norman Rockwell became the first art editor of Boy's Life Magazine. Much of his work was for the Boy Scouts of America's calendar series. He also illustrated many Scout handbooks.