Scouting Heritage Merit Badge – During the early years of the 20th century, growing numbers of people in England and America faced serious hardships. The divide between rich and poor was widening, and most families were poor or close to it.
As people migrated to dirty, overcrowded cities, they were more likely to become sick and less likely to be able to enjoy nature or get physical exercise.
When Britain went to war in 1899, more than half the men who volunteered for the army weren’t fit enough to fight.
Children on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean suffered right along with their parents. Beyond the YMCA and some church-based programs, few organized activities or sports leagues were available for them to enjoy.
Even worse, at least 1.7 million American children under the age of 16 worked full time-sometimes working as many as 12 hours a day in factories and on terms.
Many adults grew deeply concerned about the problems of English and American children. Among them were Robert Baden-Powell, Ernest Thompson Seton, and Daniel Carter Beard.
Although these men grew up in different countries, they had much in common. They loved the outdoors, they were fascinated by other cultures, and they came completely by accident to the work of creating programs for boys and teens.
First separately and then together, they laid the foundations for the Scouting movement.
Scouting Heritage Requirements, Pamphlet, and Worksheet
In this scouting heritage requirement, you are required to discuss with your counselor about:
- The life and times of Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell.
- How Scouting’s programs have developed over time and been adapted to fit different age groups and interests (Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Exploring, Venturing).
- Learn about the history of your unit or Scouting in your area.
- Make a collection of some of your personal patches and other Scouting memorabilia.
- Reproduce the equipment for an old-time Scouting game such as those plaved at Brownsea Island.
You can download the requirements below.
And here is a pamphlet to complete your answer.
The following is the history of Baden-Powell, Seton, Beard, and the Birth of Scouting.
Robert S. S. Baden-Powell (1857-1941)
Known to his family as Stephe (pronounced “Stevie”), Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell was born in London, England, in 1857.
He and his six siblings were raised by their mother after their father, a priest in the Church of England, died. Baden-Powell attended a boarding school called Charterhouse.
During his time there, he spent more time drawing, acting, playing soccer, and exploring the woods around the school than he did studying. Because his grades weren’t good enough for him to attend college, he joined the British Army in 1876.
In 1906, Baden-Powell put what he’d learned into a paper called “The Boy Scouts -A Suggestion.” The next summer, he held an experimental camp on England’s Brownsea Island to test his ideas.
The year after that, he published Scouting for Boys, the first Boy Scout handbook-and Scouting was born.
Scouting quickly spread through England. the British colonies, and beyond. As early as 1908, people in America were buying copies of Scouting for Boys and starting their own troops. A woman in Burnside, Kentucky, started a group she called the “Eagle Troop” that year.
In 1909, a missionary from the Church of England founded a troop in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, to serve American Indians. Throughout the country, boys started their own troops and recruited their own adult leaders-or did without.
This all happened before there was an official American Scouting organization. There were no Boy Scouts of America, no local councils, no camps, or other facilities. Those things would come later.
Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946)
One of the experts Baden-Powell talked about within 1906 was Ernest Thompson Seton, a British-born Canadian citizen who’d recently founded the Society of Woodcraft Indians in Connecticut.
Seton grew up on his family’s Ontario farm and later worked for his older brothers on a farm they ran in Manitoba. He didn’t care much for farming. But he loved learning about nature down to the tiniest detail. Once, for example, he worked by candlelight to count every feather on a grackle’s wing.
Even though farming did not hold Seton’s interest, art did. A talented artist, Seton studied art in London and New York City, and he quickly established himself as a wildlife artist in the 1880s.
In 1885, he produced 1,000 mammal drawings for the new Century Dictionary, and soon he began successfully writing about animals-not just drawing them.
It was the success of his 1898 book Wild Animals I Have Known, a collection of stories he wrote about animal heroes and villains, that allowed him to build a small estate in Cos Cob, Connecticut.
On his Connecticut estate in 1902 that Seton’s journey to Boy Scouting began. It started when he invited a group of neighborhood boys who tore down part of his fence to camp on his property over spring break.
Seton, who was fascinated by American Indian culture, declared the boys a tribe, had them elect their own leaders and taught them all sorts of Scouting skills.
Soon that camp evolved into the Woodcraft Indians, which he launched in July 1902. Four years later, Seton published a handbook for the group called The Birch-Bark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians.
He sent a copy to Baden-Powell, who used it as inspiration for his own handbook and boys’ program. But that wouldn’t be Seton’s last connection with Scouting-it would be only the start.
Daniel Carter Beard (1850-1941)
Ten years older than Seton, Daniel Carter Beard grew up in Covington, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. He loved the outdoors, and he spent long hours exploring the woods and drawing nature sketches.
He also loved hearing stories of American frontier life and could remember watching Conestoga wagons rolling west through Cincinnati. After working for a while as an engineer and surveyor, Beard moved to New York City to attend art school.
He provided illustrations for many books and magazines, including the first edition of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court in 1889. It was there in New York that a chance encounter on a city street pushed Beard toward an interest in young people.
One cold winter day, he happened on a group of newsboys boys who sold newspapers instead of going to school-sleeping on the pavement beneath a statue of Benjamin Franklin. That sight convinced him to begin what he called his “lifelong crusade for American boyhood.”
In 1905, in the pages of Recreation magazine, Beard created a boys’ program called the Sons of Daniel Boone. It taught many of the same camping and nature skills as Seton’s Woodcraft Indians, but Beard used frontier language instead of Indian terms.
Members organized themselves in “forts” and “stockades” and took on the names of such heroes as Daniel Boone (president), Kit Carson (treasurer), and Davy Crockett (secretary).
When Beard moved to Pictorial Review magazine after spending some time at Worman’s Home Companion, he renamed the group the Boy Pioneers of America.
Then in 1909, he published a handbook, Boy Pioneers and Sons of Daniel Boone. Just like Seton, Beard would soon play a role in the Scouting movement.
Boyce, the Birth of the BSA, and West
In the early 1900s, all sorts of programs were cropping up to serve American boys-including the Boy Scouts, the Woodcraft Indians, and the Sons of Daniel Boone.
Soon, a man named William D. Boyce would stumble into the picture and forge these and other groups into the Boy Scouts of America, the country’s largest and most enduring youth organization.
1. William D. Boyce (1858-1929)
William Dickson Boyce could not have been more different from Baden-Powel, Seton, and Beard. Although he enjoyed big-game hunting, he was not much of an outdoorsman. Instead, he was a hardheaded businessman.
After leaving the Pennsylvania farm where he had grown up, Boyce established himself in business, eventually becoming a successful newspaper publisher in Chicago.
By the early 1900s, his Saturday Blade was the largest weekly paper in America. He lived in a four-story mansion and earned an estimated $350,000 a year (about $7.6 million in today’s dollars).
Boyce believed in treating his newsboys right and that their job of selling newspapers taught them about responsibility and manners and helped prepare them for the future.
In 1909, Boyce was in London, preparing for an African safari, when he lost his way in a thick fog. A boy of about 12 walked up and led him to his destination.
Boyce offered him a tip, but the boy declined, explaining that he was just doing his daily good turn as a Boy Scout. Boyce was so impressed by the Scout that he decided to investigate further.
He picked up a trunkful of publications at Scout headquarters and studied them during his safari. Six months later, on Feb. 8, 1910, he incorporated the Boy Scouts of America.
Despite his interest in Scouting, Boyce had no interest in running the BSA. He quickly turned its leadership over to Edgar M. Robinson, the senior boys’ work secretary of the YMCA’s International Committee in New York.
Boyce agreed to give the BSA $1,000 per month for operating expenses provided that boys of all races and religions be included-but that was the extent of his involvement.
2. The Early Days of the BSA
As Robinson and other prominent leaders worked to get the BSA organized, they reached out to Seton and Beard, along with two other men who’d started their own Scouting programs. All four agreed to merge their organizations into the BSA.
Seton signed on as Chief Scout, while the other three agreed to serve as national commissioners. “Uncle Dan” Beard helped establish the outdoor skills that are still at the heart of Boy Scouting, and Seton wrote a temporary handbook that combined his Birch-Bark Roll with Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys.
The organizers’ most important task, however, was to find a permanent leader for the BSA. The man they found had a deep interest in the welfare of young people-and virtually no contact with camping, nature, or other outdoor pursuits. His name was James E. West.
3. James E. West (1876-1948)
Orphaned at age 6 and crippled by tuberculosis, James Edward West didn’t have much of a childhood. He had to fight for permission to attend school outside his orphanage-and only then if he kept up his many chores. He worked hard, graduating from high school with honors and then working his way through law school. Not surprisingly, West focused on children’s issues.
He pushed for the creation of a juvenile court, worked for organizations like the YMCA and the Washington Playground Association, and convinced President Theodore Roosevelt to convene a children’s conference at the White House.
He even volunteered to defend a boy in court who had stolen his car!
Given his background, West was a natural choice to serve as the first Chief Scout Executive. He agreed to take the job for up to six months and stayed on for 32 years.
With West in place, the BSA was ready to grow from a scattered collection of independent troops into the country’s largest and strongest youth organization.
Scouting for Every Age
When Scouting began, there was just one program-Boy Scouting-which served boys ages 12 through 17. That soon changed, however, as the BSA began developing programs first for teens and then for younger boys.
Pick up the 1911 Handbook for Boys, and you will find a program that is pretty similar to today’s Boy Scout program.
From its earliest days, Boy Scouting has featured the same basic advancement program, troop structure, leader ship positions, and focus on outdoor skills.
That is not to say that things have stayed exactly the same, however. In fact, many details have changed Over the years.
Originally, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class were considered the only ranks. There was no Scout badge, and Life Scout, Star Scout, and Eagle Scout in that order!) were special awards that First Class Scouts could receive for earning extra merit badges.
The list of merit badges has changed many times to reflect changes in Scout skills, hobbies, and career interests. Early Scouts could earn merit badges in signaling, stalking (tracking).
And taxidermy-in addition to such newfangled topics as automobile and aviation. Scouts in the 1930s could earn a dozen or so merit badges related to agriculture, including Beef Production, Corn Farming, and Farm Layout and Building Arrangements.
In the 1960s, as times changed, Atomic Energy (now Nuclear Science). Computers, Electronics, and Space Exploration were introduced.
2. Joining Requirements
At first, boys had to be 12 years old to join a Boy Scout troop. The minimum age was lowered to 11 in 1949, and in 1972 completion of the fifth grade was added as an option.
Today, you must have completed the fifth grade and be at least 10 years old, or be 1l years old, or have earned the Arrow of Light Award in Cub Scouting and be at least 10 years old to become a Boy Scout.
For most of the BSA’s history, boys had to complete the Tenderfoot rank requirements to become full-fledged Scouts. In 1972, however, a new set of joining requirements appeared.
Prospective Scouts now had to understand the Scout Oath, Law, motto, slogan, salute, sign, handclasp, badge, and the Outdoor Code and complete a personal growth agreement conference (what we now call a Scoutmaster conference).
Starting in 1978, Scouts who completed the joining requirements received the Boy Scout badge (which is not a rank, by the way).
Sea Scouts, Exploring, Venturing, and Cub Scout
The development of Boy Scouting is pretty straightforward, but the development of the BSA’s programs for older Scouts has more twists and turns than a detective novel.
1. Sea Scouts
The first older-boy program, Sea Scouting, came to the United States in 1912, when Arthur A. Carey of Massachusetts started a Sea Scout group using his schooner, the Pioneer.
The program limped along until Commander Thomas J. Keane of Chicago took over in 1922. Keane revamped the program, introducing an advancement program that included four ranks: Apprentice, Ordinary, Able, and Quartermaster. This system is still in use, today.
Sea Scouting became known as Sea Exploring in 1949, but the program didn’t change much. A couple of important things happened in 1971. First, girls were allowed to become Sea Explorers.
Second, the program expanded to include powerboats and other aquatic activities like scuba diving, water-skiing, and oceanography.
In 1935, the BSA created a program called Explorer Scouts as one option in Senior Scouting. It offered to older Boy Scouts a land-based alternative to Sea Scouting.
Explorer Scouts initially wore the same uniform as Boy Scouts, although it featured an “Explorer Scout, BSA” strip over the right pocket. In the 1940s, a forest-green uniform was introduced, and Explorer Scout units began to be called posts instead of troops.
Explorer Scouts got their own advancement program in 1944. The four ranks Apprentice, Woodsman, Frontiersman, and Ranger corresponded to the four ranks in Sea Scouting.
In 1949, Explorer Scouts became simply Explorers, and the program’s focus was expanded to include social activities, service opportunities, and career exploration.
In 1959, the four-rank advancement program was dropped, and Exploring began to include six experience areas: citizenship, service, social, vocational outdoor, and personal fitness.
More and more, posts began to specialize in specific careers or hobbies.
3. Air Scouts
In 1942, the BSA introduced Air Scouts, an aviation-focused alternative to Sea Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Squadrons of Air Scouts weren’t allowed to actually fly, but they learned all about aircraft, weather, radio communications, and more.
At first, Air Scouts had a four-level advancement program: Apprentice, Observer, Craftsman, and Ace. In 1947, ratings were added to recognize specialized knowledge.
Air Scouts became Air Explorers in 1949. In 1966, the program became Aviation Exploring and started focusing more on career exploration than advancement.
As mentioned earlier, Venturing was officially created in 1998, although it traces its roots back to Scouting’s earliest days.
In Venturing crews or Sea Scout ships, young adults have opportunities to advance their skills and knowledge in the areas of high adventure, sports, arts, hobbies, religious life, and Sea Scouts.
Venturers may work on three major awards: the Bronze Award, the Gold Award, and the Silver Award, which is the program’s highest award.
5. Cub Scouts
The last age group the BSA addressed as boys too young to be in Boy Scouting. Introduced in 1930, Cub Scouting would eventually become the biggest segment of Scouting.
Wolf Cubs began in England in 1916, when Baden-Powell published The Wolf Cub’s Handbook. Baden-Powell’s program drew heavily on the characters and symbols in The Jungle Book, which his friend Rudyard Kipling had written in 1894.
Like Boy Scouting, Wolf Cubs quickly jumped the Atlantic, but unofficially. in 1925, the BSA began planning an official American version, which was launched in 1930. American Cub Scouting retained much of the flavor of Kipling’s Jungle Book.
But thanks to Ernest Thompson Seton, who helped to develop Cub Scouting in the United States, it also emphasized American Indian lore.
At first, Cub Scouts advanced from Bobcat (for all new members) to Wolf rank (age 9), Bear (age 10), and Lion (age 11), and then joined a Boy Scout troop at age 12.
The joining age was dropped by a year in 1949 and again in 1986, and in 1988 the Webelos Scout program was expanded to two years. (That program, which featured a distinctive uniform and a set of 15-later 20 activity badges, had replaced the Lion program in 1967.)
The Arrow of Light Award became Cub Scouting’s highest award in 1978. That year, five ranks were established: Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light Award.
In 1982, the Tiger Cub program for 7-year-old boys was introduced. At first, Tiger Cubs functioned separately from the Cub Scout pack. But in 2001 Tiger Cub groups became Tiger Cub dens that were a part of the pack just like other Cub Scout dens.