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Roots of the Cub Scout Program

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I was going to put this in the Cub Scout section but I thought it might do better here.


I didnt want to hijack the parent thread, but Pappy seemed to question where the elements of Cub Scouting came from. Does anyone care to explain why Akela and Baloo are features of the Cub Scout program?

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A good friend of Baden-Powell's was an author by the name of Rudyard Kipling. He was a huge supppporter of the B-P's young scouting movement and gave him permission to use the the characters of the Jungle Book Story for his Cub Program. There are other elements of Scouting from Kipling such as the often used Kim's Game, taken from a Kipling Short Story titled "Kim", Which B-P used as way to sharpen scouts observational skills.


The story of Akela in the early cub days took the jungle book story and placed in in a early american setting making Akela an American Indian rather than an East Indian.

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The national website has a pretty good overview of the history of Cub Scouts in the US:




In addition, the Cub Scout division issued a history of Cub Scouts in 1987, and updated it in 2005 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Cub Scouts (item #34473).


The book is available at Scoutstuff.org for $20.

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The UK ScoutBase Library does a good job of looking back.



Johnny Walker's Scouting Milestones is also very good:



You do need to scroll down a bit and find the link!!

There is a really nice photo of Colin Walker's son in his uniform, which is very much the same uniform I wore when I first joined as a Wolf Cub.

Back then even I was a cute little fellow!!

(No comments from the peanut gallery please!!)


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As noted, the original Cub Scout program as developed by B-P was based on Kipling's Jungle Book story. Akela was the wolf who lead the wolf pack that Mowgli was in. Baloo was the bear who helped Mowgli out. The original Cub Scout program had other elements from the program. Either read the Jungle Book or (if you want) watch the Disney movie.


When the BSA brought over the Cub Scout program, they had Ernest Thompson Seton help 'americanize' it. Seton helped turned the Jungle Book theme program into the American Indian theme program it became. Considering that Seton's own youth program was the American Indian-themed Woodcraft Indians (which was an inspiration for the OA), this was a natural.


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Come to think of it, The Jungle Book is a rather manly book, isnt it?



You might say to:


Look for the bare necessities

The simple bare necessities

Forget about your worries and your strife

I mean the bare necessities

That's why a bear can rest at ease

With just the bare necessities of life



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"didnt B-P propose to Juliette Gordon-Low and she turned him down?"


Never read that in any B-P bio. Juliette Low was a good friend of B-P that some may have thought they'd get married (Juliette was an active Girl Guide leader in the UK at the time), but it never happened.

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It seems to me they met after BP married, and a couple of years after Low's husband had died. She was a young wealthy american widow looking for something meaningful to do with her life.


If you look at the early days of Girl Scouting, it started out WAY more like the origional boy scout program. At least as far as it could be given the social restrictions of the times. Perhaps that's part of the problem of the GS lack of program continuity -- responsibilities, roles and activities open to women today are so different than what the founder could even dream. It's harder to look back and gain direct inspiriation from Juliette Gorden-Low as to how to work with the program.


But I digress from the origional thread!


I wonder though about the Jedi comment. BP and Seaton obviously borrowed from the romantic material that was contemporary to their time and appealed to boys. Is there any unintended consequence that would come from borrowing from OUR contemporary romances (ie Star Wars)? Is the spirit of the game more important or the framework of the game? Remember we are about a game with a purpose. BP could have chosen to emphasize medival romantic scripts (and he did involve a lot of that in the first program publications too), but he chose something that appealed to the popular culture of that time.

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Young Knights of the Empire

by Sir Robert Baden-Powell





Interesting thread.


"..I had the pleasure, too, of meeting the Chief Scout of Belgium, Dr. de Page, the director of a splendid hospital for Belgian soldiers given by the people of Great Britain. His three sons are Scouts, two of them serving in the Army, and the youngest doing his bit in the workshop attached to the hospital--where they make their own instruments, such as scalpels, scissors, etc.


Finally, I had an interview with King Albert of Belgium. He told me that "he considered the Movement one of the best steps of modern times for the education of the boy. His own son is an enthusiastic Scout, and the Belgian boys who had taken it up were quite changed for the better, and had done valuable service in the war. The war had been a high test for it, but had proved that our training gave the very best foundation for making good soldiers--by developing the right spirit and intelligence as well as physical strength and activity."



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I think I remember reading in The Two Lifes Of A Hero,by William Hillcourt that BP and Kipling didn't know each other, but met on a boat crossing the Atlantic. It was on this trip that Kipling gave the OK for Cub Scouts to use the Jungle Book.

Baden Powell was 100% against younger boys being members of Boy Scout Troops, in fact from what I have read, it seems to me that he viewed Cub age boys as a bit of a pain in the neck.




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