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First Class Boy Scouts California Badge

span the BSA's 100-year history.


Overview of early history

  • 1916 Congress grants the Boy Scouts of America a federal charter.
  • 1920 The First World Jamboree is held in England; Boy Scouts from 32 of 52 countries are present. The Boy Scouts of America sends 301 members.
  • 1965 Eagle Scout Service Project requirement added to Eagle Scout Rank


1910 1911
  • The Scout Oath, Scout Law, badges, and fundamental policies are adopted.
  • The first awards for heroism are presented by the National Court of Honor.
  • By 1912, Scouts are enrolled in every state.
  • The first Eagle Scout Award is earned by Arthur Eldred in Troop 1 in Oceanside, New York. A few weeks after becoming the first Eagle Scout, Eldred helps save another Scout from drowning and is awarded the Honor Medal for his actions.
  • Norman Rockwell is hired as an illustrator for Boys' Life magazine. He is soon promoted to art director.
  • Scouting, the official magazine for Scouters, is first published.
1914 1915 1916
  • Congress grants the Boy Scouts of America a federal charter on June 15, giving special protection to the name and insignia and limiting membership to American citizens.
  • World War I: From 1917 to 1918, Scouts sell 2, 350, 977 Liberty Loan bonds and war savings stamps and distribute over 300 million pieces of government literature.


1920 1924
  • The Every Scout a Swimmer program is inaugurated.
  • The first achievement badges are earned by physically disabled Scouts.
  • The Lone Scouts of America merges with the Boy Scouts of America.
1926 1927
  • The National Council office moves to 2 Park Avenue, New York City.
  • Sea Scout Paul A. Siple accompanies Commander Richard E. Byrd to the Antarctic.


1930 1931 1934 1935
  • Membership in the Boy Scouts of America passes the 1 million mark.
1937 1938 1939
  • Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp opens for advanced Scout camping.


  • With the declaration of war, the government requests Boy Scout service for the distribution of defense bonds and stamp posters; collection of aluminum and wastepaper; defense housing surveys; victory gardens; distribution of air-raid posters; cooperation with the American Red Cross; and, by joint agreement with the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, services in three capacities-messengers, assisting emergency medical units, and firewatchers.
  • Waite Phillips makes another large gift-land, residence and ranch buildings, livestock, operating ranch equipment-contiguous to Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp, bringing total acreage to more than 127, 000 acres. The area is renamed Philmont Scout Ranch.
  • Scouts continue in war service. Twenty-eight projects are requested by the government, including the collection of 30 million pounds of rubber in a two-week drive; all-out salvage based on the government-issued pamphlet Scrap and How Scouts Collect It; distribution of pledge cards for war bonds and savings stamps; victory gardens; work on farms and in harvest camps; and government dispatch bearers.
1943 1945
  • The total Boy Scout war service includes 69 requests from the government during 1941 through 1945.
  • Twenty thousand Scouts earn the General Douglas MacArthur Medal for growing food.


  • Philmont Scout Ranch begins offering training courses at the Philmont Training Center.
  • The U.S. Post Office Department issues the first Boy Scout stamp.
1953 1954 1957


1960 1962 1964 1965 1967
  • The Boy Scouts of America hosts the 12th World Jamboree at Farragut State Park, Idaho.
  • Eagle Scout Roger B. Chaffee dies in the Apollo 1 fire.
1968 1969


  • Eagle Scout Jim Lovell safely returns the damaged Apollo 13 space ship to earth.
  • Project SOAR (Save Our American Resources) is initiated as an ongoing BSA service project. It is estimated that during the year, 60, 000 BSA units take part in SOAR-related conservation projects.
1971 1972
  • September 1972 saw the launch of the Improved Scouting Program. The number of required merit badges for Eagle Scout was increased to 24.
  • Eagle Scout Sam Nunn] is elected as a US Senator from Georgia.
1973 1974
  • Eagle Scout Gerald R. Ford becomes the 38th President of the United States.
  • Scouting Environment Day is held April 27.
  • The Cub Scout Safe Bicycle Driving program and Cub Scout Physical Fitness program are introduced.
  • New Scout merit badges are introduced for Orienteering and Wilderness Survival.
1976 1977 1978 1979
  • The national office is moved to Irving, Texas, after 25 years in New Jersey.
  • New editions of The Official Boy Scout Handbook and Wolf Cub Scout Book are published.


  • Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Explorers pass out fliers across the country urging participation in the 1980 National Census.
  • Cub Scouting celebrates its 50th anniversary and registers its 30 millionth Cub Scout since 1930.
1981 1982 1984 1985 1986
  • When Life Scout [2]'s Microsoft goes public, a reporter asked, "What is your biggest failure?", Gates is purported to have replied, "I am a Life Scout."
1987 1988
  • Eagle Scout and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis runs for President.
  • The first annual Scouting for Food drive collects more than 65 million containers of food.
1989 1990s


  • Eagle Scout and Academy Award winning direct Steven Spielberg helps the BSA develop Cinematography Merit Badge.
  • Pope John Paul II is presented with the BSA's Distinguished Citizen of the World Commendation.
  • Eagle Scout Ross Perot runs for President.
  • Scouts collect food and clothing, and offer a helping hand in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.
  • The Scouting movement in the former Soviet Union turns to the BSA for help in producing the first Russian Scout handbook; 20, 000 copies are distributed.
1995 1997 1998
  • August 1, 1998, Exploring becomes the the new Venturing Program. The name Exploring is now used for a Learning for Life program. Venturing quickly becomes the fastest growing Scouting program.
  • Scouts collect more than 41 million cans of food to help feed the hungry.


  • The Boy Scouts of America celebrates its 90th anniversary as the 100 millionth youth is registered.
2001 2002
  • Eagle Scout Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly around the world alone, nonstop, in a balloon.
  • The National Scouting Museum reopens in a new 50, 000-square-foot facility next door to the National Council office in Irving, Texas.
2003 2004 2005 2010
  • Hundredth year anniversery of the Boy Scouts of America.
2013 2015
  • The Order of the Arrow will celebrate its 100th year anniversary.

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