History-of-Boy-Scouts

Boy Scouts History: The Story & Timeline from Evergreen

Since our beginning, Evergreen has worked with numerous Boy Scout Troops on their fundraising efforts. In fact, over 50 years ago, Joe Ahern sold wreaths door-to-door in order to raise money for his own scouting trip, eventually leading him to found Evergreen after this model. With this meaningful history with the Scouts being central to our services, we wanted to take a step back and review the Boy Scouts history from its own founding father to where they are today.

Founding Father of the Boy Scouts

Similar to Joe Ahern, British Army officer, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell saw a need and decided to take action. He noticed many of his fellow army men did not know basic survival techniques. In order to help them out, he decided to write Aids to Scouting, a handbook that included information on using what resources you had in your environment and adapting them to suit your needs. It also reviewed the qualities of leadership necessary to survive in the outdoors (Boy Scouts of America).

Once Baden-Powell returned from the Boer War and was recognized as a war hero for his protection of a small town for 217 days. His handbook quickly caught on to the younger crowd, as boys were fascinated by the survival techniques and attracted to the games and lessons in the book. Once he heard this, Baden-Powell wrote a version for this new audience and emphasized the importance of doing good and having strong morals (History.org).

Rather than leave the information in the book, Baden-Powell decided to try out his lessons on a real group of boys. They went to an island, working through the techniques, games and life lessons. This is now seen as the first official Boy Scout meeting.

According to History.org, Baden-Powell next set up a Boy Scout office and designed an official scouting uniform, leading them to reach 60,000 boy scouts later that year. At the first national boy scout meeting at Crystal Palace in London, 10,000 scouts were in attendance.

How the Scouts came to America

So how did this trend make its way overseas? Boy Scouts of America explains that actually, America’s own version of this was taking place completely separate from Baden-Powell’s legacy. Ernest Thompson Seton was a naturalist and writer, living on a farm in Connecticut, and he had been organizing a group called the “Woodcraft Indians.” Meanwhile, Daniel Carter Beard who was an artist and writer, had founded “the Sons of Daniel Boone.”

The way the two worlds of scouts, from England and America, officially collided was when traveling Chicago publisher William D. Boyce actually met an English Boy Scout on a foggy day in London. The Scout offered to help him find his destination and refused Boyce’s tip when offered, explaining he was a Boy Scout and was simply helping. Boyce was intrigued and came to learn more about what this Boy Scout’s affiliation was all about.

Deseret News states that 1910 was when Boyce incorporated Boy Scouts of America, after being inspired by Baden-Powell.

Other notable dates for the Boy Scouts of America

1916

Boy Scouts of America receives a Congressional charter

1920

The two worlds meet in person as Boy Scouts of America sends scouts to England for the first World Scout Jamboree

1950

In order to train leaders, the Philmont Training Center is established in New Mexico

1969

Due to his affiliation with the Scouts, Neil Armstrong radios a “hello” from Outer Space on his way to become the first man to walk on the moon

2002

The National Scouting Museum is opened in Texas

Dates sourced from Deseret News

2017

There are approximately 2.4 million youths participating in Boy Scouts of America (Source)

Evergreen’s relationship with the Scouts

Similar to the stories of Baden-Powell and Boyce, Joe Ahern saw that what he had experienced could benefit others. After his dad taught him to build wreaths for his own Boy Scout fundraising efforts, he taught others the same, soon helping many Boy Scouts raise money through selling Christmas wreaths.

Joe Ahern then taught his children, Tim and Pat Ahern, how to both construct these wreaths and run the business. Tim and Pat still run Evergreen today.

Through the years the Evergreen team has maintained this focus on Boy Scouts. Employees of the team were Scouts themselves, so they have more intimate insight on how to best run fundraisers for this specific purpose. These tried and true fundraising tactics have impacted Boy Scout Fundraisers across the nation!

We would love to see this relationship thrive for many more generations to come.

Read more about Evergreen’s long history with the Boy Scouts »

Download our guide on best practices in Boy Scout Wreath Fundraising »