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Green Bar Bill Excluded from National Scouting Museum

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  • Green Bar Bill Excluded from National Scouting Museum

    I recently visited the National Boy Scout Museum in Irving, Texas. Imagine my puzzlement when I realized that there was not a single mention of Green Bar Bill in the entire museum. The (Retired Professional) docent originally seemed to have never heard of Green Bar Bill Hillcourt until I pointed out that he had written all the leadership manuals for the Scouts up until around 1972, had co-authored the original Scout Field Books (the brown covered ones) with Chief Scout James E. West, etc. Then he reluctantly admitted that Green Bar Bill had lost favor in the eyes of the National Professionals and was therefore excluded from being placed in The National Boy Scout Museum. What a loss!

  • #2
    WoodBadge did it!
    Blame WB21C!

    If true.

    What will Scouting look like in 2031?
    No dirt.
    No mud.
    No smoke.
    No fires.
    No crushing the bugs with your tent.
    No loud voices?
    No risky games.
    No running.
    No blades.
    No climbing.
    No falling.
    No swimming.
    No bathing?

    No boys...


    • Kudu
      Kudu commented
      Editing a comment
      Eagle Nebula M16 commented:

      "Even Scouting's current premier youth training, NYLT, no longer uses terms like "Senior Patrol Leader" - or even "Troop" and "Patrol". What genius thought of that? "

      Program Neutering: Use of the term "Patrol Method" to refer to "leadership development" theory, for which the Patrol Leader and independent Patrol activities have been surgically removed.

      The last time I staffed Scoutmaster specific training, the term "Patrol Leader" and any description of a working Patrol had been cut from the "Patrol Method" presentation, and replaced with EDGE.

      To answer your question, the genius was John Larson, the father of modern Wood Badge. For an account of Wood Badge's destruction of the Patrol Method (from leadership development's point of view), see "1966" at:

      "Some professional and volunteers at the National BSA Council were very resistant to the idea of changing the focus of Wood Badge from training leaders in Scoutcraft to leadership skills. Among them was Bill Hillcourt, who had been the first United States Wood Badge Course Director in 1948. Although he had officially retired on August 1, 1965, his opinion was still sought after and respected.

      "Larson later reported, 'He fought us all the way... He had a vested interest in what had been and resisted every change. I just told him to settle down, everything was going to be all right.' Hillcourt presented an alternative to Larson's plan to incorporate leadership into Wood Badge. Chief Scout Brunton asked Larson to look at Hillcourt's plan, and Larson reported back that it was the same stuff, just reordered and rewritten. Larson's plan for Wood Badge was approved and he moved ahead to begin testing the proposed changes. The program was designed and written by Bánáthy, Perin, and Larson."

      Yours at 300 feet,


    • dcsimmons
      dcsimmons commented
      Editing a comment
      Hmmm, I figured they dropped the Patrol references in NYLT when they added Venturing youth to the program last year. At least that's when it changed in our Council course.

    • Kudu
      Kudu commented
      Editing a comment

      dcsimmons commented:
      "Hmmm, I figured they dropped the Patrol references in NYLT when they added Venturing youth to the program last year"

      Use your words, dcsimmons!
      "Hmmm, they program neutered Green Bar Bill's Patrol Leader Training when they added Venturing youth to the program."
      "Hmmm, they program neutered Green Bar Bill's Wood Badge when they added Cub Scout Leaders to the program."

  • #3
    Holy smoke. Really?

    That's truly sad. A museum should honor history, eh? Not try to rewrite it. Timeless values include being Trustworthy and Loyal.



    • #4
      Still one mention of him on the national museum web site.

      One of the benefits of donating at the $500 level includes a copy of the book Baden-Powell The Two Lives of a Hero by: William Hillcourt


      • #5
        The quote,"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" is really true. Folks are trying to forget Green Bar Bill and what he taught us, and things look like we are headed into the 1970s again.


        • #6
          I'm guessing that you are referring to the Great Debacle of 1972 when the Program was turned over to a Madison Avenue Consulting Firm to make Scouting amenable to inner city kids. That turned out to be an unmitigated disaster! Green Bar Bill fought bitterly over that nonsense and was "retired". They had to bring him back from Retirement around 1979 to redo the handbook and stop the bleeding as Scouts left by the tens of thousands. Even though he was able to put some "outing" back into "Scouting", the big brass never forgot his "telling it like it is" and it shows in that he is never mentioned in any of the exhibits in the National Museum.


          • #7
            All of us on this Forum should inundate the National Office and the Scouting Museum with complaints until it is corrected.


            • #8
              Kinda makes me happy that I spent my youth BSA career pre-1970's. Like a lot of things, the Golden Age of Scouting has passed.

              The really sad part of it all? I do more camping, kayaking and getting out hiking now that I'm no longer with a troop. I hadn't realized how much it was holding me back. This year I have plans to camp in both the Rockies as well as the Appalachians.

              From what I've seen over the past 40 years, this thread does not come at any surprise.

              What's really sad is now that I'm a UC and going out and listening to units, the biggest complaint is the adults holding back the scouts. At least in my part of the world.

              Your mileage may vary,

              Stosh(This message has been edited by jblake47)


              • #9
                What a real shame. We flocked to him like a rockstar at the '81 jambo.


                • #10
                  "They had to bring him back from Retirement around 1979 to redo the handbook and stop the bleeding as Scouts left by the tens of thousands."

                  I was one of the casualties of that time. We moved in 1978, and my new Troop never went on a single outing or trip involving camping. They were all about book-work and earning MBs, and I dropped out of scouting within 3 months of our move. Fortunately, I joined up with a Pathfinder's group that taught me all my outdoor skills. It's a shame that Irving is downplaying his role in scouting so much.


                  • #11
                    I was lucky to have my handbook signed by GBB at the jamboree. I remember standing in line and there was GBB signing handbooks. He had a kid sitting next to him. His job was to draw two green bars through his autograph with a magic marker.

                    Unfortunately in my council, it is the inner city programs that are being abused by the professionals in order to make their membership quotas.


                    • #12
                      Scouter Terry (the owner of this site) had a personal relationship with Bill. Let's see what he has to say about it before passing judgment. I wouldn't get my panties in a bunch over the comments of a volunteer docent.


                      • #13
                        He is excluded from the Scouting Heritage Merit Badge as well.


                        • #14
                          Green Bar Bill spoke at our council's annual banquet a number of years ago and I did get his autograph on the program with the two green bars. He had to be in his upper 80's at the time and our banquet is in January in the upper midwest, and there he was in his shorts! He mesmerized us for 1 1/2 hours with songs, stories, and his experiences, and we wanted him to continue. What an inspiring figure!


                          • #15
                            I just checked the requirements for the Scouting Heritage MB. I guess Waite Phillips is in there because he donated the Philmont properties to the BSA. How they could omit the person who co-authored the Scout Field Book from 1944 to 1959, wrote all the Scout Leadership Books (Handbook for Patrol Leaders and Scoutmaster's Handbooks) during the Golden Age of Scouting (up until the Great Debacle of 1972) and who developed the entire Patrol Method during Scouting's Golden Age is beyond me. How fortunate some of us are to have such great memories of Green Bar Bill.