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? 


  1. Avatar
    Marcus Smith says:

    At the first World Jamboree as Baden Powell was introduced as the “Father of Scouting”, he replied with, I’m a mere uncle, there are many fathers. Then immediately named Baird and Setton.

  2. Avatar

    I earned my Eagle Scout rank back in 1969 and believed than as I still do now Baden Powell without a doubt organized the Boy Scout movement. Remember Baden Powell was a scout himself and learned his skills in the military Baden Powell wrote a book titled “Aids To Scouting” an immediate success with youth groups back in England the books success inspired Baden Powell to go further with his ideas he conducted the first organized troop experiment camping on Brownsea Island with boys from all over England afterwards Baden Powell went on to write “Scouting for Boys” this was a collection of ideas BP solely gathered together over many years of reading and learning including ideas of other youth groups Baden Powell invented his own version of scouting for boys from his very own life experiences.

  3. Avatar
    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.

  4. Avatar
    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.

  5. Avatar
    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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eight + two =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.