Past and present: A glimpse at the BSA’s historic National Annual Meetings

As hundreds of professional and volunteer Scouters convene this week at the Boy Scouts of America’s National Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., it’s a great time to examine annual meetings highlighted in Scouting magazine during the years.

However, the first meeting featured in Scouting wasn’t the first National Annual Meeting. The first annual meeting of the BSA was held in 1911 at the White House, where U.S. President Howard Taft addressed a group of Scouting professionals. At that time, Scouting magazine was not yet published, and wouldn’t find its way into Scouters’ mailboxes until April 1913. ScoutingFirstIssue

In its premiere issue, Scouting described the events of the 1913 meeting, at which Chief Scout Executive James E. West charged the executive committee with a request to establish a National Court of Honor and a special honor medal for lesser degrees of heroism. He also established a committee to investigate “Marine Scouting,” which would later give way to the Sea Scouting program.

The magazine also conveyed discussion points from the meeting, including, “the necessity of firmly establishing the Scout movement in the minds of the community as a useful and helpful organization.”

No matter the year, some goals — like the one above — never seem to change.

Looking back at coverage of each annual meeting provides an interesting glimpse at the movement’s goals and achievements during that particular time period. Check out the articles covering National Annual Meetings featured in Scouting magazine’s digital archive:

Stay tuned for more 2014 coverage of the National Annual Meeting on Bryan on Scouting, in addition to a feature in our upcoming September-October edition, hitting mailboxes mid-August.

Above: Featured on Scouting magazine’s August-September 1960 cover, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower joins BSA President Ellsworth H. Augustus and Chief Scout Executive Arthur A. Shuck at the National Annual Meeting.

About Aaron Derr 468 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.