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:

SetonErnest Thomas Seton

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”.


Beard2Daniel Carter Beard

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.

KiplingRud­yard Kipling

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? 

5 comments

  1. jimbo GA says:

    I encour­age you to go to wood badge Baden Pow­ell did set up BSA he set up the patrol for­mat the ground rules that have bent and twist­ed. In Ga. why to LDS units not camp with the rest of the world.

    1. Michelle Carpenter
      Michelle Carpenter ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

      Jim­bo, thank you for your com­ment! I agree. My arti­cle points out that Baden Pow­ell was indeed the founder but that oth­ers were involved as well in its cre­ation.

  2. Damien Barrett says:

    John R., I would encour­age you to edu­cate your­self about the found­ing of the Boy Scouts, and the ideas that pre­ced­ed Baden-Powell’s even­tu­al BSA. The author right­ly points to Seton as hav­ing found­ed a sim­i­lar group before B-P and how influ­en­tial he was on so much of what we about Scout­ing today — the Native Amer­i­can influ­ences, the focus on con­ser­va­tion and nat­u­ral­ism, the out­doori­ness. A lot came from Seton.

    I don’t know what your com­ment about LDS means — it’s a stretch to say that the LDS was part of the found­ing of the BSA. Yes, they were an ear­ly char­ter, but it was an already estab­lished org for sev­er­al years. The BSA is a lot larg­er than the Mor­mon church; I don’t care what your elders say. The best troops offer to any boy the time­less val­ues of plu­ral­ism, human­i­tar­i­an­ism, and nat­u­ral­ism regard­less of his reli­gious beliefs or the lack there­of.

    Fake news and pro­pa­gan­da is indeed a prob­lem. Espe­cial­ly that which is spread by orga­nized reli­gions with a long track record of embrac­ing revi­sion­ist his­to­ry. Truth is not rel­a­tive. Nor are facts. They will win the argu­ment every time.

  3. john R says:

    Sor­ry to burst your bub­ble but yes he was the founder of Boy Scouts Inter­na­tion­al. Yes the­se men may have form oth­er groups but boy scouts was formed by Baden Pow­ell. Please I enjoy this site but I had to reply to this. The LDS church just had its 100 yrs anniver­sary few yrs back and it was all about Baden Pow­ell. Yes there are groups out there that tried to be like scouts and fail. Please this is almost like fake news that we hear about every day.

    1. Michelle Carpenter
      Michelle Carpenter ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

      You are absolute­ly right! Please refer to my state­ments made in the arti­cle–
      “Baden Pow­ell found­ed the Boy Scouts, didn’t he? Yes, he did. How­ev­er, like all great lead­ers, he learned from those around him.”

      This arti­cle mere­ly points of the pow­er of oth­ers in the Boy Scout found­ing.

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