In 1909 an American businessman and millionaire, William D. Boyce, became lost in the streets of London. A young (11-12 year old) British Boy Scout helped him back to his hotel. Boyce attempted to give the scout a monetary tip for his help, but the young man refused his money, claiming that as a Boy Scout he was “doing his daily good turn.” This event spurred Boyce to find out more about the Boy Scout program in the United Kingdom and he later acquired a copy of Baden-Powell’s Scouting For Boys which set forth the details of his scout program .
Upon his return to the United States, Boyce went to work and had incorporation papers drawn up and filed in the District of Columbia on 08 February 1910 and the Boy Scouts of America were born!
Today the Boy Scouts of America have grown to 2.9 million scouts and 1.1 million adult volunteers. Around 5% of all scouts achieve the highest rank of Eagle Scout and since 1912 about 2 million scouts have received this award.
Here on the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point, over 460,000 scouts have camped onboard since we opened to scouts in 1980…over 30 years ago.
USS Yorktown has become one of the nation’s premier scouting destinations. Many of those first scouts who camped in the 1980’s, today return to the Yorktown as scout leaders and bring their sons and daughters. Their sons and daughters will one day be future scout leaders. Although most scouts visiting Patriots Point are from the Southeastern United States, the Yorktown also welcomes scouts from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and others from across the nation. Patriots Point has even received an email inquiry from a Boy Scout troop in Hong Kong, China, interested in camping on the aircraft carrier.
On a recent weekend this past December, nearly 500 scouts camped onboard the USS Yorktown. Troop 451 from Durham, NC, was onboard for a repeat visit and the Troop Committee Chairman, Mr. Brendan Turner, had a few comments about their experiences onboard. Brendan has been bringing his scouts to the Yorktown for over fifteen years and stated that his scouts love being surrounded by all the history of the visit. He added that he really values it as an opportunity for families: mom, dad, sisters and brothers, to come and connect with America’s past. Brendan noted that it is always one of their largest trips with normally over 100 scouts and family signing up and making the trip.
Patriots Point salutes the Boy Scouts of America and wishes them much success as they enter their second 100 years in preparing young men for service to our nation and communities!