Jump to content

When did the joining age change?

Recommended Posts

As Kudu and others have recommended, I've gotten my hands on both a 1950s-era Patrol Leader Handbook and Scoutmaster Handbook. Both have a ton of great stuff.


I was struck by one thing in particular - the references to Boy Scouts starting at age 12. Scouts these days can join at 10.5. I was wondering if anyone here knew when that age limit changed, and why. (I have my theories, but no facts.) That year and a half can make a substantial difference in boys' maturity and development.


Any ideas or insight?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd have to check my collection of Boy Scout Handbooks.


for a long time it was 11. 10.5 is a more recent change.


I believe the change to 11 may have occured in 1949. At that time, they lowered the age of Explorers from 15 to 14.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I found this from Sept, 2004


scroll down near bottom:




The BSA National Executive Board has amended the rules and regulations to clarify that no boy may join Boy Scouting until he reaches the age of 10.


Previously, the requirement stated that to be a Boy Scout a boy must have completed the fifth grade or be age 11 or have earned the Arrow of Light Award.


The new requirement says he must have completed the fifth grade and be at least 10 years old or be age 11 or have earned the Arrow of Light Award and be at least 10 years old.


The new clarification became effective May 15, 2004."

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 11 years later...

From the Troop 11 History, Houston, Texas (1990), sponsored by First Presbyterian Church.

The troop committee recruited church member Oscar Hibler to become scoutmaster in January 1949.  Mr. Hibler had been ASM of Troop 16 at Sutton School. Troop 11 had been without a scoutmaster for three months.  When Mr. Hibler took over, Troop 11 had fifteen active scouts and two active visitors.  As Mr. Hibler recalls, the boys refused to wear uniforms and only wanted to play.  His strong emphasis on scouting principles caused many to leave.  Recruitment became a priority.  Recruiting from within the church, Mr. Hibler increased enrollment to 32 members (4 patrols). Mr. Hibler is still grateful to the national scout office for lowering the enrollment age to 11.  This really helped his recruitment efforts!  At first, the boys thought cooking to be too much work and brought junk food on camp-outs.  Mr. Hibler soon decided that each scout could bring along only six soft drinks per camp-out.  To test this new rule, young Robert Blaine brought along six quart bottles, not exactly what Mr. Hibler had intended."

The age limit changed in 1949.


  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...