The National Scouting Museum is preserving personal stories documenting the rich history of the Boy Scouts of America and we want to hear yours!
Remember your Scoutmaster? Any brushes with heroism or danger? What happened on your first campout? Share your memories with us!
Tell us your stories when and where you like. We'll send you recording equipment...you record your stories and send it back postage paid; or visit the museum and we will interview you onsite.
To share your story, contact Gail Mayfield by phone at (972)580-2426 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a selection of stories that we have collected over the years!
My Scout leader was Robert Hall, a young lawyer in Memphis, Tennessee and my main Scouting experience consists of two camping sessions in 1926 and 1927 at Kamp Kia Kima, when I was 12 and 13 years of age. I was fortunate to be one of the few who was able to stay for all ten weeks and I enjoyed every minute of it. The story I like to tell is that one day it was decided that I would light the Saturday evening gathering fire. It was quite an honor and to make sure I did a good job I got a can of kerosene from the supply house and made sure I could light the fire. When the time came to light the fire, I bent over and lit the fire as I was supposed to and as I stood up it went "whoosh!!" and I proceded to say, "Oh chief, the fire is lit!" After that experience I was called "Campfire Bovay." This is my main memory of the camp experience. I remember they kept us very busy and I think Kamp Kia Kima is still in operation today in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Another of my happy memories is that I was chosen to be in the honor guard when Charles Lindbergh addressed a crowd at Overton Park in Memphis, Tennessee-one of the stops on the 1927 Lindbergh Tour in which he visited 48 states and 92 cities following his transatlantic flight.
Harry E. Bovay, Jr. , Houston, Texas
In June of 1954, the Miami Valley Council was having its annual Camporee at Greenville Treaty Park to commemorate the peace treaty between Mad Anthony Wayne and a coalition of Indian Tribes. My Troop and Explorer Post always went. We were going about our business of pitching tents, starting cooking fires, and general horseplay when we got word that National Geographic magazine was doing an article on Ohio including the Treaty of Greenville, and anyone who wanted in the picture should go over to the Treaty Park fire ring. Several of us went, and sure enough they were setting up to take pictures of the council fire which had been lit. There were several members of the Order of the Arrow standing around the fire and one of the directors pointed at me and said, "Hey kid, grab that torch and stand up on the edge of the council ring." I did so and they took a few pictures and that was that. The Camporee ended, we went back to school and didn't think much about it. The next April, my history teacher came into class with a copy of National Geographic, and there near the center of a full page picture of the reenactment of the Treaty of Greenville was me standing on the council ring looking at one of the Indians. That was my three minutes of fame, but you can still find me in the April 1955 National Geographic magazine.
Bill Mullins, Dayton Ohio
The 1929 Jamboree
I am on the train headed northward from London to Liverpool, on the special locomotive called "The Golden Arrowe." The train bore the logo and symbol of the Boy Scout jamboree, held in Arrowe Park, Birkenhead, a suburb of Liverpool. The jamboree itself had taken place last week, but I was going there now to help clean up the site. Rain had been incessant daily during the jamboree and now the place was ankle deep in mud.
As I sat in the compartment, I was seated opposite a middle-aged farmer who was eyeing me curiously from time to time, and finally he burst out saying he was against the Boy Scout movement as it was a military organization and his only son had been killed in Flanders fields during WWI. I sought to explain that we were not a military group, but the loss of his only son had so embittered his soul that any type of uniform aroused feelings of abhorrence in him. I was wearing my Rover Scout uniform with the red epaulet shoulder tabs, khaki shirt, corduroy shorts and knee length stockings.
After his outburst the farmer relaxed and sat in stony silence for the rest of the journey. Finally the train pulled into the station where I joined a group of other Rovers headed for Arrowe Park.
Just inside the entrance to the camp stood a bell tent, inside which was a camp cot with pillow, mattress and blankets. Last week this had been the residence of our popular Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, and we newcomers were very impressed with this link with the royal family. One of our jobs was to coil up seemingly miles of one inch thick and mud encrusted rope, and stash the coils in marked places for them to be hauled away by lorry. The camp sites of the various nations had been fenced in with the ropes tied to upright stakes of wood.
The glamour and spic-and-span appearance of the camp site now was absent due to the incessant rain showers. While we were cleaning the sites, piling up the coils of rope for transportation, the photographers of a local evening newspaper show up and take a photo of our cleaning crew. I purchased a copy and so obtained a permanent record of the service I rendered. At the end of the week I return home, feeling very satisfied, not only because of the volunteer work accomplished, but also because each of us received a certificate of appreciation designed and autographed by Sir Robert Baden-Powell, Chief Scout.
Submitted by Doris Olson on behalf of her father Ken Green