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History - 1940 to 1949


Boy Scouts served again at the New York World's Fair at the Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco. A Boy Scout program for helping in national emergency and government defense programs was adopted. Outstanding events included: troop inventory and roll call, adoption of emergency service corps, and mobilization plans. Membership, December 31, was 1,449,412. Total members to date, 9,558,869.


With the declaration of war, the Government requested Boy Scout service for the distribution of defense bonds and stamp posters; collection of aluminum and wastepaper; defense housing surveys; victory gardens; distributions of air-raid posters; cooperation with the American Red Cross; and, by joint agreement with the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, services in three capacities-messengers, assisting emergency medical units, and fire watchers. Waite Phillips made another large gift-land, residence and ranch buildings, livestock, operating ranch equipment-contiguous to Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp, bringing total acreage to more than 127,000 acres. The area was renamed Philmont Scout Ranch. He also presented the Philtower Building in Tulsa, Okla., the income from which was to be used for operating and developing the camp. The 31 st annual meeting was held in Washington, D.C. Membership, December 31, was 1,522,302. Total members to date, 10,165,060.


Scouts continued in war service. Twenty-eight projects were requested by the government, including: the collection of 30 million pounds of rubber in a 2-week drive; all-out salvage based on the government-issued pamphlet Scrap and How Scouts Collect It; distribution of pledge cards for war bonds and savings stamps; victory gardens; work on farms and in harvest camps; and Government dispatch bearers. The 32d annual meeting was held in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The Air Scouts program for boys 15 years of age and older was developed. Membership, December 31, was 1,553,080. Total members to date, 10,769,041. 


Scouts rendered war service at the request of the government in four general classifications: collections-aid in salvage drives; distribution, as official dispatch bearers for government pamphlets and posters; production; and conservation. The first Silver Antelope Awards were presented for distinguished service to youth within a region. The Pan-American project was developed. Chief Scout Executive James E. West became Chief Scout and Dr. Elbert K. Fretwell was appointed Chief Scout Executive. Dr. George J. Fisher became National Scout Commissioner. Long trousers and the Scout cap were made a part of the official uniform. The 33rd annual meeting was held in New York. Membership, December 31, was 1,613,783. Total members to date, 11,477,483.


The Whole Scout Family was emphasized with stress on the three branches of the Scout program. World brotherhood was emphasized in the continuation of the world jamboree and World Friendship program. The Inter-American Youth Leaders' Training project was inaugurated and students from Latin-American countries, in cooperation with the coordinator of Inter-American affairs, attended the National Training School and toured the eastern United States and Canada. The World Friendship Fund to help restore Scouting in devastated countries was inaugurated. Membership, December 31, was 1,866,356. Total members to date, 12,289,614. 


The total Boy Scout war service included 69 requests from the government during 1941 through 1945. General Eisenhower's outstanding Wastepaper Campaign culminated in the General Eisenhower Award-a gold medal was presented to him in December by the Boy Scouts of America in appreciation. Other service included collections in many communities, distribution of circulars on conservation projects, and the Green Thumb program. Twenty thousand Scouts earned the General Douglas MacArthur Medal for growing food. The World Friendship Fund increased; $10,000 was allocated to the Philippines. The "Shirts Off Our Back" campaign was inaugurated to help Scouts abroad. The Army Air Force cooperated in the Air Scouts program. World brotherhood literature was published. Increased emphasis was placed on visual education as a means of training. Membership, December 31, was 1,977,463. Total members to date, 13,073,629. 


The first contribution in a program of continuing support came from the Grant Foundation-$257,5OO for a 5-year expansion of the volunteer training program. The camping program was improved and camp activities became more troop-centered. Sixteen hundred Senior Scouts camped at Philmont Scout Ranch. Scouts carried through three national postwar service projects requested by the government. The first Inter-American Scout conference was held in Bogota, Colombia. President Head retired after 20 years of service and Amory Houghton was elected president. Membership, December 31, was 2,063,397. Total members to date, 13,882,639.


Basic Boy Scout requirements were authorized-putting equal emphasis on Scout spirit, Scout participation, and Scoutcraft skills. Similar revisions made Cub Scouting more effective. The Eighth National Training Conference for Scout Executives took place in September at Indiana University. The International Scout Conference of Scout Leaders from 112 countries meeting at Chateau Rosny near Paris adopted a revised constitution and bylaws. The Sixth World Jamboree in Moisson, France, in August brought together 32,000 Scouts from 38 countries; the American delegation numbered 1,151. Membership, December 31, was 2,141,984. Total members to date, 14,710,853.


Dr. Arthur A. Schuck became the third Chief Scout Executive, September 1; Dr. Elbert K. Fretwell was elected Chief Scout. The 38th annual meeting was held in Seattle, Wash. The Order of the Arrow was integrated in the national camping program. Philmont, the world's largest Scout camp, enrolled 2,275 individual campers. The conservation program was extended. Basic training for all unit leaders was emphasized. Twelve Scouts presented the Report to the Nation to President Harry S. Truman and to United Nations officials. The First International Commissioners' Conference was held at Kandersteg, Switzerland. Membership, December 31, was 2,210,766. Total members to date, 15,538,867.


The crusade to "Strengthen the Arm of Liberty" was inaugurated in February. A dramatic ceremony was held at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Age levels were lowered-Cub Scouting, 8 through 10; Boy Scouting, 11 through 14; Exploring, 14 and up. The manual on citizenship was published. New procedures for physically handicapped boys were adopted. Troop advancement procedures were emphasized. Five hundred forty-three councils owned 831 campsites with 288,545 acres, at an estimated value of $10,525,731 on land and $17,436,306 on equipment. The National Council held its 39th annual meeting in Boston, Mass. Membership, December 31, was 2,579,515. Total members to date, 16,686,517.

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