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From Great Britain to Great Basin: A brief look at history of Scouting
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Scouting in America, 100 years old this month, really has two founders: Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell and William D. Boyce.

Baden-Powell, a British military hero during the Boer War in Africa and an avid outdoorsman, wrote Scouting for Boys in 1908 after finding English boys reading military manuals he previously had written.

Not long after Scouting began in England, Boyce, a Chicago publisher and explorer, lost his way in a dense London fog, according to a history on the Boy Scouts of America Web site.

A boy guided him but refused a tip, saying that as a Scout he would not take a money for doing a "good turn." That gesture inspired Boyce to meet with Baden-Powell and, on Feb. 8, 1910, Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in Washington, D.C.

Utah's first two troops, both designated Troop 1, were organized soon after.

The first Troop 1 was organized by an Episcopalian missionary to Utah, the Rev. Maxwell W. Rice, on Feb. 9, 1911, according to Lest We Forget, an anniversary book published by the Great Salt Lake Council of BSA. The Episcopal troop apparently died out after Rice left Utah in 1918.

The second Troop 1 was at the Waterloo Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which continues to this day in a neighborhood near Salt Lake City's Liberty Park. It was chartered directly from national BSA headquarters in 1913, according to the council's history.

Today, with demographics in that neighborhood changing, Troop 1 is so small that it meets each week with seven other troops from area LDS wards.

The LDS Church, according to the church Web site, was the first institutional sponsor for Scouting in the United States after leaders determined that the program could help form young men.

Today, the faith has more boys involved in Scouting than any other single institution. According to the BSA Web site, the LDS Church had 402,127 boys in Scouting at the end of 2008.

Units also are sponsored by other churches along with civic and educational groups.

By the numbers

402,127 » Mormon boys in the Boy Scouts of America at end of 2008 (The United Methodist Church had 367,238 boys and the Roman Catholic Church 291,443).

197,000 » Utah youths in Scouting.

91,000 » Utah volunteers in Scouting.

3 » State's Scout councils -- Ogden-based Trapper Trails Council (covering Kaysville north), Salt Lake City-based Great Salt Lake Council (extending from Kaysville south to the Utah County line), and Orem-based Utah National Parks Council (stretching from Lehi south to St. George).

Sources: scouting.org, Utah legislative resolution

Thursday's gala

» The Great Salt Lake Council will celebrate Boy Scouting's 100th anniversary Thursday night with a gala at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center.

» The 2,500 tickets were sold out weeks ago. Bob Mazzuca, chief Scout executive of the Boy Scouts of America, and Tom Fitzgibbon, Western region director, will attend. Earlier in the day, Utah's three Scout councils will present a "State of Scouting" report to Gov. Gary Herbert. Mazzuca and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff also will attend.

Kristen Moulton

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