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ERIC Number: ED201553
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Pages: 26
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Being Prepared: The Application of Character Building and the Beginning of the Boy Scouts of America.
Phelps, Richard
The beginnings of the Boy Scouts are traced, with particular emphasis on ideological foundation, social reform objectives of the founders (Sir Robert Baden-Powell, Daniel Carter Beard, and Ernest Thompson) and its relationship to other reform movements of the Progressive Era. The philosophical base of scouting is characterized as: 1) a preoccupation with history (attraction to the frontier mystique and the pioneer image combined with a fear that western civilization was receding into decay); 2) a belief that modern man was physically, mentally, and morally weak in comparison to his ancestors; and 3) the belief that the necessary catharsis for modern man must take place outside of the industrial cities. Major objectives of the founders were to emphasize conservation (people and values as well as land), encourage education for citizenship, and stress the need for character education to make adolescents immune to the decadent forces of their environment. Currents which influenced the Boy Scouts from its beginning in 1910 through several decades paralleled the currents in American society--namely, antipathy for the state of the nation versus glorification of all things American, social conformity versus individuality, and cooperation versus self-reliance. In addition, the Boy Scout movement was hampered by conflict among those leaders who favored rigorous outdoor activities based on frontier life and other leaders who favored sublimation of outdoor activities to various versions of character building and patriotism. The conclusion is that the Boy Scouts of America was influenced by various social forces affecting American society and also by the change in stated objectives of a series of charismatic, strong-willed, and idealistic leaders. (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A