Scouting magazine celebrates 100 years


Start the celebration: Join us as we salute 100 years of Scouting magazine. What follows is our special anniversary salute to the centennial of Scouting magazine. Better yet, take a look at the flip book magazine feature to get a glimpse of even more photos and illustrations from the past.

I suspect you’ll take issue with our choices—mostly, what we couldn’t fit in. A lot, for sure. But we hope this piques your curiosity because soon you’ll be able to access every existing issue of Scouting at our brand-new online Archive at Right now, you can take a trip back to view the first issue in 1913 through the ’20s.

In the coming months, you’ll be able to access every existing issue of Scouting. Visit Bryan on Scouting at for specifics on when each decade will be available. Now, enjoy! —John R. Clark, Managing Editor

RECOGNIZING THE NEED TO give Scouters news on America’s fledgling movement, the BSA launched Scouting magazine in April 1913. Immediately, it became the first word on all things Scouting, with coverage of gear, advancement, service, and even what the well-dressed Scout leader should wear. Read more from the teens and ’20s at

  • The first issue of Scouting—an eight-page, twice-monthly newsletter—hits mailboxes with the aim of answering thousands of inquiring letters.
  • 2,975: The number of letters received in 1913 by the 56 employees of the national headquarters office.
  • In October 1919, a printers’ strike leaves Scouting magazine in limbo—until friends of the movement print several “emergency” bundles of the issue for leaders to share.
  • The BSA—250,000 members strong—carries out thousands of service projects during the first World War, including the “Every Scout Feed a Soldier” campaign. In the effort, Scouts plant and raise more than 12,000 war gardens.
  • In its Sunday edition, The New York Times begins running a regular column of Scouting news, paying $1 for each item accepted and published.
  • An experiment by the Columbus Council tests the viability of sewing merit badges on a sash worn over the right shoulder instead of sewing badges directly onto the uniform sleeve.
  • Anxious Scout leaders, fearing for the future of the nation’s trees, question whether Scouts should be permitted to carry axes in the wilderness.
  • Scouts star in a two-reel film titled Boy Scouts in Devastated France, depicting Scouts in service after World War I—available “near you at a very reasonable rental.”

THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND A world war failed to dampen the Scout Spirit, as boys and adult volunteer leaders pitched in to help anyone in need. From the shanties of “Hoovervilles” across the nation to the scrap-rubber drives for the defense effort, Scouts performed plenty of Good Turns daily. Read more from the ’30s and ’40s coming soon at

  • “I was completely bowled over,” says news commentator Lowell Thomas about the gathering of more than 27,000 Scouts and Scouters at the first National Scout Jamboree in Washington, D.C. 
  • Fees for the first summer at Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp (named for donor Waite Phillips and the BSA’s Good Turn slogan) are set at $1 per week, per camper.
  •  Cubbing (later Cub Scouts) is authorized, but only if “the evidence indicates that such a program can be put on without prejudice to Scouting interests in that community.” 
  • The 3rd edition of the Handbook for Boys states that the Scouting uniform stands for democracy: “Each Scout … meets brother Scouts on the same level. In Scouting, all creeds, races and classes are one.”
  • Flags at Scout camps and buildings across the world fly at half-staff Jan. 8, 1941, after the death of Scouting’s founder, Lord Baden-Powell.
  • The nation adopts Scouting’s motto, “Be Prepared,” at the request of President Roosevelt after the U.S. entered into World War II at the end of 1941. 
  • 1,184,924,000 pounds: The amount of waste paper gathered (1942-44) by Scouts for the war production. Scouts also collect aluminum, food, clothing, and they sell war bonds and stamps.
  • “Man Power Builds Boy Power” reads a headline in the 1945 annual report—which shows that, despite wartime manpower shortages, 393,979 volunteer leaders keep Scouting strong.

DURING TENSE DECADES OF OVERSEAS conflicts, Cold War tensions, the Space Race, and unprecedented turmoil on campuses, Scouting helped many Scouters keep boys grounded in the values of the Scout Law and Scout Oath. Read more from the ’50s and ’60s coming soon at

  • Need money for the 1950 Valley Forge jamboree? “Why not try a dad-prepared pancake supper or a Scout-cooked bean feed? People like to eat, [and] they want to see a home-town boy get this great Jamboree experience.”
  • A Scoutmaster finds crime comic books lying on his Scouts’ bunks. He’s offended by the comics’ “callous, cynical attitude toward the law” and “their sinister preoccupation with the abnormal.”
  • In “If Communists Wrote the Scout Law,” we learn what would happen to the 12 points if communism reigned. For instance: “A Scout is Loyal—but the only loyalty he knows is blind subservience to the state and its teaching.”
  • A BSA professional visits Alaska just after it becomes the 49th state, and he’s shocked by the high cost of living there. “A typical restaurant breakfast—juice, one egg, bacon, toast, and coffee—costs $2.29!”
  • For the BSA’s 50th anniversary, Scouting assesses the current landscape: “A view of our fifty states on any weekend would show hundreds of thousands of Scout campfires blazing—each fire a symbol of our growing strength.”
  • In an article by “Nostradamus,” we learn what a Scout camp will look like in the year 2000. “No gear, no pack, no duffel bag to carry. Radar-rockets deliver anything needed in near-zero time.”
  • Scouting puts the odds at “five to two that a former Scout will be the first American in space.” Good call, as Alan Shepard was a First Class Scout.
  • BSA introduces Fit for Tomorrow, lamenting boys who have become soft through their “push-button, power-driven way of living.” Sound familiar?

BIG CHANGES IN SOCIETY WERE MIRRORED by big changes in Scouting, as the BSA introduced a new handbook de-emphasizing some outdoors skills, debuted flashy new uniforms, and took on modern environmental challenges. Read more from the ’70s and ’80s coming soon at

  • A Scout writes to the editors describing his Scoutmaster: “I often find myself when meeting unexpected circumstances saying, ‘[Scoutmaster] Keith Monroe taught me that!’” 
  • Exploring magazine debuts, promising coverage of “just about every phase of teenage interests,” including cars, college, careers, music, dating, sports, and clothes (“both way out and straight”). 
  • The Florida National High Adventure Sea Base begins taking shape with the purchase for $800,000 of the Old Toll Gate Motel and Marina and 6.3 acres of land. 
  • Called an “all-stops-out Scout happening,” the BSA stages simultaneous jamborees in Idaho and Pennsylvania that draw a total of 72,000 Scouts and Scouters. 
  • For $17.50, you can own a video of actor Ricardo Montalban (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) touting Scouting to Hispanic families in a short film titled Familia de Scouting.
  • Scouting’s “doughboy duds” receive a startling makeover when designer Oscar de la Renta updates the uniform with olive-green trousers and bright-red epaulets and loads of utility pockets.
  • Be successful in the outdoors with the BSA’s new book, Introduction to Family Camping, which covers the subject from “A-Z” and makes any camping trip fun and safe. Just $5.95! 
  • Steven Spielberg introduces the Cinematography merit badge at the 1989 jamboree, recalling how he earned the Photography badge in the ’60s on his way to Eagle Scout.

OUR RACE TO THE 21ST CENTURY brought big issues into focus, such as the importance of physical fitness to youth, the vital role the outdoors plays in a child’s development, the new realities of the developing boy, and the imperative for trained leaders—all covered in-depth by Scouting magazine. Read more from the ’90s and 2000s coming soon at

  • Scouts distribute more than 15 million “Drugs: A Deadly Game” booklets to help warn youth of the dangers of drugs.
  • In 1990, the BSA releases two videos designed to raise awareness of the organization’s Youth Protection Guidelines—one aimed for Scouts ages 11-14 and another for those ages 6-9.
  • Conservation, energy-saving methods, awareness of heart disease, and the importance of exercise all become popular topics for Scouting leaders in the ’90s—in addition to Scouting-related material. 
  • At the 1997 National Scout Jamboree, Scouts set a world record for “longest fire bucket chain.” (It was two and a half miles long!) 
  • The “Scouting Vale la Peña!”—or “Scouting! It’s Worth the Effort!—and the Scouting and Soccer programs aim to bring Scouting to more Hispanic youth.

  • Scouting magazine establishes an Internet presence with the launch of its website:
  • The BSA Physical Fitness Award encourages Scouts and their families to get more active—another effort to help fight more sedentary lifestyles.
  • Scouting magazine redesigns its pages in 2009 with eye-catching photography and layouts, in addition to targeted editorial especially for Scouting leaders and parents.

EACH ISSUE HELPS MODERN-ERA volunteers learn to “Lead. Inspire. Explore.” through in-depth coverage of a full range of experiences, from the practical, takeaway lessons in character and skills to the outdoor adventures that have excited Scouters and Scouts since the very beginning. Read all issues from 2010 to present at

  • Eagle Scout and host of Dirty Jobs Mike Rowe tells a crowd of 70,000 at the national Scout jamboree that “a Scout is Clean—but not afraid to get dirty.”
  • With its new Journey to Excellence evaluation system, the BSA quantifies the effectiveness of councils and units. “It’s about the experience we’re giving to the young person,” says then-BSA President Rex Tillerson.
  • Boys’ Life, the BSA’s official youth magazine, turns 100. That’s 100 years of Scouts rushing to the mailbox to grab it before their siblings or parents get to it first.
  • At the Summit Shakedown, a trial run for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, Scouts test-drive the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. Early returns: It’s bigger, better, and bolder than anything Scouts have seen before.


  1. A wonderful support for young boys.
    My father was embedded in Scouting and started groups in Africa where he was a missionary.

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