Archive for the ‘Scouting’ Category
I subscribe to the SHORPY historical photo archive RSS feed. They have a variety of 20th century photographs … Adam West on the Batman set, beach goers at Atlantic City in the 1920s … you never know what photo they’re going to share each day. The feed is free, and they sell high quality prints of the photographs in the archive.
Subscribe to the free feed here.
They delivered a photo of Red Fox James who was identified as a Blackfoot Indian … and it looked like he was wearing a Boy Scout pin. In a photo dated 1915! This was a story I had to learn. Here’s one picture … click on it to see it full size.
I can’t identify the medal on the ribbon; don’t know if that’s a BSA award or not. He is wearing what looks like a Tenderfoot pin, and has a “BSA” pin on his hat. I believe BSA was worn on the collar by leaders in this time period … uniform experts, please correct me if that’s wrong.
Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On Dec. 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed. (Library of Congress)
James rode “his famous Indian pony” throughout the country in 1914, and then again in 1915, to inspire support for a designated “American Indian Day.” He met with citizens all across the country, and frequently met with Scout troops during his journeys. He spoke to a gathering of 35,000 people in New York … he was trying to build a groundswell of opinion before mass media would have made his work much easier.
24 Governors signed James’ petition proposing a new holiday called “American Indian Day” be added to our calendar. James presented the petition to President Wilson in 1915. Unfortunately, there’s no record that Wilson ever acted upon the plea.
James had a colorful history, as one might expect from someone that became a celebrity in an era when Indians could not be US citizens. He did not live on a reservation; rather he was raised in white society. He went by many names, and at various times claimed to be graduated from the University of Oklahoma, went by the name Reverend St James, and raised over $15,000 for the American Red Cross in the early part of the 20th century – a very significant sum!
In January of 1915, James helped found the Indian Scouts of America, which was a part of the Boy Scouts. He was designated as “Acting Scout Master” according to the record of the event, which you can view here. He was a part of the founding of another organization, the Tipi Order of America, for non-Indians to learn about the Indian culture. That organization (you can find references that use both the Tipi and Teepee spelling) eventually transitioned into an adult fraternal organization.
1915, Red Fox James at the White House. Note the “Be Prepared” pennant. State, War & Navy Building at far left. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.
Native American Heritage Month
The Star & Sentinel, 12/08/1914
Biographical Background For Red Fox Skiuhushu
Examiner.com – Origins
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians
The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements
The first Boy Scout Jamboree was held on the Capitol Mall. Here, a picture from SHORPY – Boy Scouts sightseeing on Capitol Transit buses, Washington, D.C. May 1937.
Some Pictures From A Brownie
Gerald R Ford, Eagle Scout, 1929
Every President since its 1910 founding has served as the honorary chairman of the Boy Scouts of America.
Teddy Roosevelt, newly ex-President in 1910 was given the unique title of “Chief Scout Citizen.”
5 Presidents, or half of the Presidents that could have been Scouts, were actually Scouts:
John F Kennedy, Star Scout, 1930
John F Kennedy, the first President born in the 20th Century, was the first who was a Boy Scout as a youth. He rose to the rank of Star.
Gerald Ford was the first and only Eagle Scout to become President.
Bill Clinton and George W Bush were both Cub Scouts.
Barack Obama was a member of the Indonesian Scout Association; he was the equivalent of a Cub Scout.
The link below chronicles the support of Scouting rendered by all Presidents, from Teddy Roosevelt forward.
Scouting.org: Presidents Fact Sheet
Here we are on a day hike at Yosemite in 2007. Yes, we carry the Ten Essentials!
Spring is upon us … and it’s time to go tromping into the back country.
I’ll never forget the time a group of boys & Dads from our church decided to do the Half Dome trek in Yosemite National Park as a day hike. (note to self: don’t do THAT again). It’s a 20+ mile hike, and the technical term for this hike is that it’s a butt kicker. Many, many people do this hike in season; it’s one of those “gotta do it” hikes in California.
While on the trail, our group caught up to a young boy, about 13 years old … and his parents had sent him alone on this trail with a bottle of water and a peanut butter sandwich. I often think about that young man. I don’t know how close he got to Half Dome, but I know his parents failed in their responsibility that day.
Hiking is something that the Boy Scouts do very well, and so it’s timely to consider the Ten Essentials that Boy Scouts take on every hike. You should do the same thing … they just might save your life.
- A Pocket Knife: You don’t need a weapon, but a small folding knife can help you do many things … including opening that tough bag of beef jerky you will want to bring. I prefer a Swiss army knife. Some like lock blades or multi-tools. Your mileage may vary.
- A First Aid Kit: You just don’t know when you’ll need this. Moleskin is great for ill-fitting hiking boots that rub you the wrong way … duct tape can do in a pinch as well.
- Extra Clothing: It’s a pain, I know, but you need to layer up. It gets cold at altitude, even in the summer.
- Rain Gear: You need a poncho. You need a poncho. You need a poncho. See # 3. A sudden cloud burst, you’re cold and wet and you will not be having fun – especially if you have whining kids that you haven’t done a good job preparing for the trail.
- A Flashlight: I used to swear by Mini Maglights, but now I prefer LED headlamps. And yes, take extra batteries.
- Food: Nothing tastes better than a good meal in the back country. And if you burn enough calories, you can eat trail mix without gaining weight (something you can NEVER do sitting on the couch).
- Water: Some like Nalgene bottles, others prefer Camelbacks … which can provide the little backpack you need to carry everything. If you’re out for any length of time, you need 2 quarts of water. If it’s hot, plan appropriately.
- Matches: Don’t start a fire unless you have a permit.
- Sun Protection: The sun is fierce if you’re hiking at altitude.
- Map & Compass: You need to know where you are and how to get to where you’re going. A GPS is great, of course, as long as you know how to use it, and have extra batteries. And it doesn’t fall in a creek.
Half Dome is one of the most beautiful sites in California.
You may also want to carry
- Insect repellent
- A camera & lenses, up to the amount of weight you want to carry!
- Water purification system – you need to stay hydrated, and if you’re not carrying enough water to drink until your safe return, then you’re in trouble without pure water
- A walking stick or trekking poles (which can double as a monopod for the camera) – which will ease the pressure on your knees. But please, please, do not use unprotected metal tips on rocky trails, as they will mark the rocks
- Nylon cord (great for rigging a shade structure with your poncho)
- A watch
- Any medications you are to take, if they’re not in your first aid kit
- Extra socks – if you are blister prone, it’s wise to be careful
- Swimsuit – If you like to swim in the wilderness, you need to wear a swimsuit
- TP & a trowel
- A whistle
Everyone should carry their own gear! Adults, you do not carry the gear for the kids. They get to be responsible for their gear – it saves you the weight, and teaches them something about hiking.
Remember … take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints!
Being a Scout is expensive. I’ve seen the parent walk into the store with camping gear and plunk down the plastic to buy their young man whatever he needs.
But that’s not doing it the right way.
Here’s another approach, which I read courtesy of Ed Darrell over at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub: a letter from a future President asking for more allowance.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was our first President who was a Scout as a youth. He rose to the rank of Star Scout, and later served on the Executive Board of the Boston Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Here’s a (very poor) picture of him as a Scout.
John F Kennedy as a Scout in 1930.
President Kennedy receiving Boy Scout greeting – December, 1962 (photo courtesy John Loengard, Life Magazine)
President Kennedy described Scouting:
“For more than 50 years, Scouting has played an important part in the lives of the Boy Scouts of this nation. It has helped to mold character, to form friendships, to provide a worthwhile outlet for the natural energies of growing boys, and to train these boys to become good citizens of the future.”
President John F. Kennedy Visits with the Boy Scouts’ “Scouting Family of the Year”, February 8, 1962.
President John F. Kennedy meets with the Fair family, a representative family selected as “Scouting Family of the Year” by the Boy Scouts of America, in conjunction with Boy Scout Week. L-R: Grant, Bill, and Bob Fair (order undetermined); Martha Fair; President Kennedy; Jane Swift Fair; Harry G. Fair. Fish Room, White House, Washington, D.C. Photographer: Robert L Knudsen.