Scouting and Civilization: The Identity Building Process for the Boy Scouts of America, 1910-1913
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The Boy Scouts of America is one of the most popular, larges~ and longest running youth organizations in the United States. Created in 1910, the organization competed with other youth organizations that started around the same time. This article looks at the incorporating documents, the letters and correspondence, and the minutes of the first national meetings, in order to identify and track the initial conc~ptualizations of the BSA as it asserted itself in the American society. The documents span from 1910 to 1913, the first three years of the BSA. The documents show that the future of the organization was not clear at the time, and that there were significant issues, like competing Scouting groups, presented to the organization as it formed. The documents also show that the BSA was a composition of the individual people that founded it, and the consensus on a course of action was not present at first. The individual decisions of the leaders of the organization led to a more clear definition of the organization's niche in society, its identity as a youth organization and as the group to oversee the Scouting movement in the United States.