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
Elaine de Kooning, known for her contemporary, gestural portraits, was chosen in 1962 to create a portrait of President Kennedy for the Truman Library because she worked quickly. She had seven informal sessions in Palm Beach, Florida, with Kennedy at the end of December and early January of 1963. De Kooning was so moved by Kennedy that over the next ten months she created hundreds of drawings and twenty-three paintings of him. After his assassination, she didn’t paint for a year.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 – 1963)
The 35th President of the United States, 1961 – 1963
AKA: JFK, Jack
College: London School of Economics, Princeton, Harvard
Married to: Jacqueline Bouvier
Children: Arabella, Caroline B., John F., Jr., Patrick B.
Previous Jobs: US Navy Lieutenant, US Representative, US Senator
In His Words: “War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”
“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word “crisis”. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.”
“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”"
“If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all — except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.”
“I believe in an America where the rights that I have described are enjoyed by all, regardless of their race or their creed or their national origin – where every citizen is free to think and speak as he pleases and write and worship as he pleases – and where every citizen is free to vote as he pleases, without instructions from anyone, his employer, the union leader or his clergyman.”
“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote—where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference—and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.”
“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. Our requirements for world leadership, our hopes for economic growth, and the demands of citizenship itself in an era such as this all require the maximum development of every young American’s capacity. The human mind is our fundamental resource.”
“The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
“Terror is not a new weapon. Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example. But inevitably they fail, either because men are not afraid to die for a life worth living, or because the terrorists themselves came to realize that free men cannot be frightened by threats, and that aggression would meet its own response. And it is in the light of that history that every nation today should know, be he friend or foe, that the United States has both the will and the weapons to join free men in standing up to their responsibilities.”
Not true: Kennedy debated his Republican opponent, Richard Nixon, in the first Presidential debates ever televised. Radio listeners felt that Nixon either won or tied the debates. However, Kennedy trounced Nixon on television. Kennedy allowed make-up to be applied to his face, and he looked cool and calm during the debate. Nixon, however, had a “5 o’clock shadow” and perspired throughout the event.
True: “Jack” Kennedy was the first President who had been a Boy Scout in his youth.
Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for bravery in WWII after his ship, PT109, was sunk by a Japanese destroyer and JFK saved his men.
His 1955 Profiles in Courage won the Pulitzer Prize in history.
Kennedy was the youngest man ever elected President. He was the first President born in the 20th century.
He was the first Roman Catholic President (and this was controversial during the campaign, with some fearing the Pope could order him to implement specific policies).
Kennedy was the first President to have a live televised press conference.
After a failed meeting with Khrushchev, Kennedy believed the country must prepare for nuclear war … and that there was a one in five chance that war would happen.
Kennedy ordered the Bay of Pigs invasion in an attempt to overthrow Castro. It was a total failure.
JFK was the 4th President to be assassinated (after Lincoln, Garfield & McKinley).
The Official Portrait: Aaron Shikler was selected in 1970 by Jacqueline Kennedy to paint a posthumous portrait of John F Kennedy; it became his official White House Portrait.
Being A Scout Is Expensive
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library And Museum
Biography: John F. Kennedy
“To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”
“A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”
“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.”
- John F Kennedy
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
- Calvin Coolidge
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”
- Franklin Roosevelt, photo by Elias Goldensky, 1933.
Mixing Morals with Education?
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.