On a visit to London in 1909, Chicago publisher William D. Boyce became lost in a heavy fog. An English Boy Scout helped him to find his way. The Scout told Boyce about the Boy Scout movement, founded in England just a year earlier by army officer Robert Baden-Powell. Boyce returned home and founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. The new group adopted Baden-Powell’s motto, “Be prepared,” and his slogan, “Do a Good Turn Daily.”
Today the Boy Scouts of America have almost 4 ½ million members in five divisions: Cubs, Tigers, Webelos, Scouts, and Explorers. To become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in scouting, a young man must have earned at least 21 merit badges. The organization’s goal is to improve its members’ self-confidence and competence and to foster leaders and good citizens. The program includes instruction and skillbuilding in a wide variety of fields, ranging from first aid to ecology. Members earn merit badges for their accomplishments in special fields, and thereby advance through the scouting ranks.
Camping and outdoor skills have always been important aspects of scouting. Every four years Boy Scouts from more than 100 nations gather for a giant camp-out known as the International Jamboree.