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Memorabilia Monday: A poster boy for Scouting

BSA 44th Anniversary PosterWhen movie stars and athletes pose for a glossy, colorful poster, it’s routine. But when Bill Ward of Landenberg, Pa., was asked to star in a BSA national campaign, it was a life-changing moment.

That’s a 12-year-old Bill on the right in the poster seen here. Fifty-seven years later, the image is still a cherished memory for him.

Here’s how Bill remembers it in a letter he sent to me:

One of the highlights of my Scouting career was being selected to pose for the 1954 National BSA poster. From left to right the poster depicts Bill Shimpf (Explorer Scout), Jack Gallager (Scoutmaster), Ed Saunders (Cub Scout), and me. We were all proud members of Troop 179 of the BSA Cradle of Liberty Council in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the artist changed our troop patch to 79. I was 12 years old at the time, and this was my 15 minutes of fame. We were interviewed on local television, and there were rumors of an appearance on the “Loretta Young Show” in New York CIty. We never made that trip, but the poster did, and it was broadcast on national television.

I loved my years with Troop 179, and I eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout. I’m a little older now, but find every day that I still use the knowledge and skills I acquired then. I’m very pleased that my son Adam and grandson Zachary are active in BSA Troop 5 in Austin, Tex. I hope their experiences in Scouting are as positive and long-lasting as were mine.

That’s truly something to be proud of, Bill. Thanks for passing it along.

Now it’s your turn to send me your favorite piece of Scouting memorabilia. Here’s how:

  • Take a high-res .jpg image of your favorite Scouting item.
  • Just select one to send me (I know that picking one could be hard, but please try!).
  • The file must be less than 2 MB in size.
  • E-mail it to me with the subject line “Memorabilia” to scoutingmag@gmail.com.
  • Include your name, position, and council.
  • Tell me why this item is special to you.

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