Boy Scouts - Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When someone asks what do you associate with America, what do you come up with?  Apple pie?  Baseball?  Einstein's Head?  Maybe the Ford automobile, or the nickelodeons produced in North Tonawanda, New York.  Or maybe even the Boy Scouts of America.  Funny that one came up, because we are going to talk about them a little bit today.  Located in our Toy Box not too far from our larger-than-life statues of Manny, Moe and Jack (the original Pep Boys), the Boy Scout logo is on display, quietly hanging out near our 1968 Dodge Coronet 440.

The Scouting Movement (as it is generally referenced nowadays) began in the United Kingdom in 1907 by a military man named Robert Baden-Powell.  When in South Africa fighting in the Second Boer War, Baden-Powell led his troops to victory against the Dutch and Afrikaaners with the help of a group of boys in what was called the Mafeking Cadet Corps (their symbol was a fleur-de-lis). They showed him the potential in kids to do well with proper training, and he was inspired to give youths (at the time, he established the Scouts solely for young men)  aged 11 to 18 physical, spiritual and mental guidance in the hope to ensure they would better contribute to society when they got older.  In 1908, he wrote and published the book Scouting for Boys, which by some accounts is considered one of the best selling publications of all time.  Regardless, Scouting took off, first in England then around the world.  The next year, Robert's sister Agnes helped him start the Girl Guides, which was also when the first Scouting organizations appeared in the United States.  Popular pressure compelled Baden-Powell to create guidebooks to train adult leaders, Scoutmasters, to organize and maintain troops, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Today, there are over 32 million registered Scouts across the world, with the highest rates of participation, surprisingly, in Indonesia.  The United States is second.

As regards the Boy Scout Emblem, Baden-Powell said he chose the fleur-de-lis that he had seen on the uniforms of the Cadet Corps in South Africa because it was a familiar symbol commonly used to designate north on maps, and one of the primary duties of a Scout is to show others the way and to help others.  Of course, the bald eagle and the United States flag are all about America.  You won't find that on a Scouting emblem for another country.  That would just be silly. 
QUESTION:  Scouts earn merit badges once they have completed a list of requirements and proven they understand the subject they are studying.  Which is the most popular merit badge?
A)  Basket Weaving
B)  First Aid
C)  Citizenship in the Nation
D)  Swimming
ANSWER BELOW

HEDY - PRETTY AND SMART.  On this day in 1942, the glamorous actress Hedy Lamarr and avant-garde musician George Antheill received the patent for a "frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system" that would lay the groundwork for modern wireless communications and Wi-Fi.  Unfortunately, Miss Lamarr was not treated especially well by the scientific world at the time.  The National Inventors Council rejected her application to join them, and encouraged her to just be pretty for the troops fighting overseas in World War II instead.  There is so much wrong with that, we wouldn't know where to begin.  But she and Antheil did receive membership into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2004, four years after her death.

QUOTE:  Any girl can be glamorous.  All you have to do is stand still and be stupid. - Hedy Lamarr

ANSWER:  B)  First Aid