We revere Baden Powell, and we aren’t afraid to admit it. We use his quotes, commend his efforts, and teach his history. But, before (and with) Baden Powell, there were others, others with brilliant ideas for boys’ progress.
These men inspired Baden Powell and the Scouting movement.
Here’re some individuals who influenced modern day Boy Scouting before it was even formed:
Four years before Powell started the Boy Scouts, Ernest Thomas Seton created the Woodcraft Indians. Only boys could join the group, and they learned important outdoor skills.
Powell read Seton’s book “The Birch Bark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians”, and they discussed ideas for youth together.
Seton heavily influenced Powell’s book “Scouting for Boys”.
Beard formed the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905.
In the organization, boys took on leadership positions, and wore uniforms. They learned outdoor skills, good citizenship, and conservation.
Later, when the BSA formed, Daniel merged his organization into it. He took on the position as National Commissioner , bringing his ideas of organizing youth with him.
Powell asked Kipling if he could use “The Jungle Book” when he created Cub Scouts. Written in 1894, the book definitely preceded Scouting.
Using characters and the universe of the book, Powell created a program for younger boys.
In the various cub handbooks, the following is stated:
“Baden-Powell liked the stories in The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, and he thought many of the characters were fun and playful, just like Cub Scouts. He also knew it was important for the boys to have a wise leader like Akela, the wolf… To this day, we have names like Akela and Baloo, and words like den and pack, in Cub Scouting. That’s our way of remembering how Cub Scouting began with The Jungle Book.”
But, Baden Powell founded the Boy Scouts, didn’t he? Yes, he did. However, like all great leaders, he learned from those around him.
The men above and others inspired the organization of Scouting before it ever existed. Today, there are millions involved in the Scouting program because of their efforts. So, it goes to show–who knows just how far your influence can really reach?