Baden-Powell

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Woodcraft Indians

It would help bring together young people from various so-called stations, break down the barriers that society has foolishly placed upon them, and establish in their minds when they are young a finer kind of humanity, a real understanding that the important thing is the association of a human spirit.

--- from Ernest Thompson Seton about his development of the League of Woodcraft Indians

Scouting Founded

Lord Robert Baden-Powell was born in London on February 22, 1857. As a child, he already had an interest in many of the skills that would become associated with Scouting. At times, he would skip class to go spend time in the woods tracking and trapping animals. In 1876, he joined the British army as a career officer. At various times, he was stationed in South Africa, where he improved the Scouting skills of his youth.

First Scouting Handbook

When Baden-Powell was stationed in South Africa during the Second Matebele War of 1896, he frequently led reconnaissance missions into enemy territory. Many of the scouting skills he learned in childhood were improved and mastered during this period. It was here he met an American by the name of Frederick Russell Burnham, the Chief of Scouts for the British Army during the Boer War. Burnham had a major influence upon Baden-Powell, imparting the scoutcraft and self-reliance skills from the Indians and from the American West and the importance of teaching these skills to young men. Years later, Baden-Powell wrote a book called Aids to Scouting, much a written explantion of the lessons he had learned from Burnham.

Ernest Thompson Seton

Ernest Thompson Seton was a Canadian naturalist, writer, and artist. He became very interested in studying wolves while working in Canada. Those experiences later became the basis for a number of animal fiction stories by Seton. Following his time in Canada, Seton moved to New York. When some local kids damaged some of his property, he invited them over for a weekend and taught them stories about nature and American Indians (as opposed to punishing them).

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