The Story of One Good Turn

Scout Oath Leadership RockwellIn 1909, an American businessman became disoriented in a dense London fog. As he stood under a street light trying to find his way, a boy emerged out of the mist and asked if he could be of help.

“You certainly can,” replied the American. He shared the business he was trying to find and the boy promptly offered to lead him to the address himself. When they arrived at his destination, the businessman reached into his pocket for a tip – but the boy stopped him.

“No thank you, sir. I am a Scout. I won’t take anything for helping.”

“A Scout? And what might that be?” asked the man.

The boy told the American about himself and the movement that Lord Baden-Powell had begun a few years earlier. The businessman was so intrigued that he asked for directions to the British Scouting Office. There he learned more about the organization Baden-Powell founded to train boys in outdoor skills, mental acuity, and leadership.

That American businessman was Chicago publisher William D. Boyce and he was so impressed with Baden-Powell’s Boy Scouts, that he brought the idea home with him. On February 8, 1910 – exactly 100 years ago today – Boyce founded the Boy Scouts of America.

What ever happened to the boy who came to Boyce’s aid in the London fog? No one knows. He neither asked for money nor gave his name, but his good turn that day brought scouting to America.

Since its inception over 110 million Americans have been Boy Scouts and over 2 million have earned their Eagle Scout rank. Some notable Eagle Scouts include Neil Armstrong, Michael Bloomberg, Ross Perot, and Steven Spielberg.

To this day, some of my fondest childhood memories are from Boy Scout campouts and earning my Eagle was one of the highlights of my young life. It was as a young Scout that I had my first opportunities to follow, to serve, and to lead…

…all because a hundred years ago some unknown kid helped out a stranger.

The slogan of the Boy Scouts is “Do a Good Turn Daily.” What will your good turn be today?

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