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History - The Early Years

British born Ernest Thompson Seton had moved, as a child, to Canada and then America, with his family. He formed the Woodcraft Indians in Cos Cob, Connecticut, in 1902 and invited the local youth to join, after they had vandalized his property. His woodcraft stories became a series of articles written for the Ladies Home Journal and were eventually collected in the The Birch Bark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians in 1906.

 

On his return from Africa in 1903, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell found that his military training manual, Aids to Scouting (pub. 1899), had become a best-seller, and was being used by teachers and youth organisations. He became Secretary and Scouting and Camping Officer of the Boys' Brigade. A friend, William Alexander Smith, encouraged Baden-Powell to re-write Aids to Scouting to suit a youth readership. Baden-Powell left the Boys Brigade to focus on the activities of scouting and camping for boys.

Baden-Powell was still working on his book when he met Seton, on his second visit to England to promote Woodcraft Indians, in 1906. Seton gave Baden-Powell a copy of his book The Birch Bark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians, which was to become the original source of the elements in Lord Baden-Powell's scouting scheme, such as: proficiency (interest) badges, camp craft and campfires, self-governance with adult guidance, scouting games, patrol totems and calls, and advancement based on standards rather than competition.  

References: 1.WikiPedia (Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Sir Francis Vane, Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard, Scout Association, British Boy Scouts, Order of World Scouts, Woodcraft Indians, Sons of Daniel Boone, Scouting in Jamaica)  2. ernest thompson seton and woodcraft (http://www.infed.org/thinkers/seton.htm)  3. The Birch Bark Roll (http://www.inquiry.net/traditional/seton/birch/index.htm)  4. Boy Pioneers (http://www.inquiry.net/traditional/beard/pioneers/index.htm)

The picture above shows the Founder of the Woodcraft Indians in the U.S.A. in 1902. Seton visited England in 1904 and 1906 to promote the Woodcraft Indians.

Below, Lord Robert Baden-Powell who met Seton on his 1906 trip to England, and learnt about the Woodcraft Indians. He adopted the programme and started Scouting in 1907.