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Outdoor Icons: The Boy Scouts and Founder Lord Baden-Powell

July 20, 2011
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When you think of the Boy Scouts, the first idea that comes to mind is probably boys in the outdoors. Did you also know that the Scouts had significant influence over many American leaders, such as presidents John F. Kennedy, Gerald R. Ford, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama? They all were former Scouts. In addition, when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon and said, “The Eagle has landed,” did you know he was speaking, literally, as an Eagle Scout? What do you know about the man responsible for influencing not only these famous Americans, but also millions of young people the world over?

That man — Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (1857-1941), 1st Baron Baden-Powell, also known as Lord Baden-Powell — was as multifaceted as the Scouting movement he founded. Referred to reverently as “B-P” and known as the “Chief Scout of the World,” he was recognized widely for promoting outdoor skills as described in his famous series of articles “Aids of Scouting” (written from 1904 to 1908), but was also many other things as an individual. B-P was a talented artist, decorated soldier, national hero of his time, free-thinker, actor; and though British by birth, chose to spend his golden years in Africa (Kenya specifically) and is buried there, because the continent meant so much in his life.

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