Information Provided by the Boy Scouts of America March 05, 2013

Did You Know? Facts

  • The Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million Boy Scouts since 1911.

  • 181 NASA astronauts have been involved with Scouting, including Neil Armstrong.

  • According to the World Organization of the Scouting Movement, all but six countries make Scouting available to their youthful citizenry.

  • During World War I, the Boy Scouts of America comprised the largest uniformed body in America. Working in partnership with the Treasury Department, Scouts secured approximately $352,122,973 in Liberty Bond subscriptions.

  • During World War II, the Boy Scouts collected 318,000 tons of paper to assist with the war effort. In addition, they gathered 10.5 million tons of scrap metal. The paper was used by the United States government to package arms and equipment traveling overseas, and metals were recycled in answer to the demand for metal-based military supplies.

  • The first national jamboree of the Boy Scouts of America took place in Washington, D.C., from June 30 to July 9, 1937. It drew more than 27,000 Scouts to the National Mall in the heart of the capital city. The national jamboree has since been held throughout the United States on a regular basis, representing the largest recurrent gathering of Scouts in the country.

  • The first national jamboree was supposed to be held in 1935, but an outbreak of polio prompted organizers to postpone the event to a later date.

  • Prior to becoming a founder of the Boy Scouts of America, Daniel Carter Beard earned early notoriety as a professional illustrator. Beard's artwork caught the attention of Mark Twain, who commissioned him to illustrate A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and other writings.

  • Early in the organization's history, the Boy Scout Handbook quickly became the best-selling volume for American boys, with 100,000 copies sold per year through 1914. As the popularity of Scouting grew over the decades, the book was revised and reprinted, and by 1935, the Handbook had sold five million copies. In a ceremony conducted at the White House, the five-millionth Handbook was presented to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

  • Each president of the United States has supported the work of the Boy Scouts of America, serving as honorary presidents of the organization since 1910.

  • No troop? No problem! Lone Scouting became an official part of the Boy Scouts of America in 1924 to include children of citizens living abroad, exchange students residing away from the United States, disabled youth, and youth in rural communities.

  • As a serving officer of the British Army, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell was a national hero. In 1907, he founded the Scouting program in England, which launched into a worldwide movement.

  • One of America's best-known artists, Norman Rockwell, became a regular contributor to Boys' Life magazine when he was just 18 years old. He credited the Boy Scouts of America with jumpstarting his career, and worked with the organization throughout his adult life.

  • Navigational skills have been taught to Boy Scouts since the program's inception. The National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas boasts a collection of historic compasses from across the globe which explores the historical tradition of way finding. The oldest of these dates to 1500 and originates from China.

  • In 1911, Boy Scouts were able to earn as many as 57 merit badges. Today, that number has grown to more than 100, with new badges regularly being added in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.

  • Arthur Eldred of Oceanside, New York, earned the first Eagle medal ever presented to a Boy Scout in the summer of 1911.

  • Jimmy Stewart participated in Scouting as a youth in his home state of Indiana. He remained an active supporter of the organization throughout his life. As an actor, he became a household name for his roles in It's a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, The Philadelphia Story, and other classic films.

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