Unknown Scout

Unknown Scout

Infobox Person
name = Unknown Scout

caption = Silver Buffalo presented as a monument to the Unknown Scout
known_for = A single "good turn" that inspired WD Boyce to bring scouting to America.
occupation =
The Unknown Scout was an anonymous member of the The Boy Scout Association in the United Kingdom whose good turn inspired William D. Boyce to form the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).


Boyce was lost on a foggy street in London in 1909 when an unknown Scout came to his aid, guiding him to his destination.cite web | last = Peterson | first = Robert | year =2001 | url =http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0110/d-wwas.html | title =The Man Who Got Lost in the Fog | format = | work =Scouting Magazine| publisher =Boy Scouts of America | accessdate = 2007-08-28] The boy then refused Boyce's tip, explaining that he was a Boy Scout and was merely doing his daily good turn. Soon thereafter, Boyce met with General Baden-Powell, who was Chief Scout at the time. Boyce returned to America, and, four months later, founded the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910.


According to Edward Rowan, Boyce stopped in London en route to a safari in British East Africa.cite book | last =Rowan | first =Edward L | year =2005 | title =To Do My Best: James E. West and the History of the Boy Scouts of America | publisher =Las Vegas International Scouting Museum | location = | id =ISBN 0-9746479-1-8 ] While an unknown Scout helped him and refused a tip, this Scout only helped him cross a street to a hotel, did not take him to the Scout headquarters, and Boyce never met Baden-Powell. Upon Boyce's request, the Scout did give him the address of the Scout headquarters where Boyce later went on his own and picked up information about the group. Boyce returned to London after his safari and visited the Scout headquarters again and gained the use of "Scouting For Boys" in the development of a U.S. Scouting program.cite journal|last=Rowan| first=Dr. Edward| year=2006| title=James E. West and the History of the Boy Scouts of America| journal=International Scouting Collectors Association Journal (ISCA Journal) | volume=6| issue=1| pages=11–15]

James E. West, the first professional Chief Scout Executive of the BSA, had to contend with competing factions among the founders of the BSA, most notably Daniel Carter Beard and Ernest Thompson Seton, who pushed their pioneer heritage and American Indian themes respectively and personally ran their organizations as they despised bureaucracy. West usually just modified the British program and opted to push the story of Boyce and the unknown Scout. The origin of the fog into the legend came later, but there was no fog. By 1923 the fog was firmly established as part of the legend, apparently because in 1911 a man from Providence, Rhode Island was lost in a fog and helped by a Scout who refused a tip. This man was so impressed that he remembered Scouting in his will and West recognized the value of fog to the legend.

ilver Buffalo Award

In 1926, the second presentation of the Silver Buffalo Award was to the Unknown Scout. That award resides in the museum at Gilwell Park.

In addition to the award, a statue of a buffalo was presented with a plaque, inscribed:

"To the Unknown Scout Whose Faithfulness in the Performance of the Daily Good turn Brought the Scout Movement to the United States of America."

On July 4, 1926, the statue was presented to Edward, the Prince of Wales and Baden-Powell by Amory Houghton, the United States Ambassador and a member of the National Council of the BSA. [cite web |url =http://www.scouting.milestones.btinternet.co.uk/coronation.htm |title =The Presentation of the Bison |accessdate =2007-08-28 |last =Walker |first =Johnny |work ="Johnny" Walker's Scouting Milestones Pages] The statue was initially emplaced on a tree stump and later moved to the current brick pedestal located on what is now known as the Buffalo Lawn behind the White House at Gilwell Park.

ee also

*Scout Spirit


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