The Scouting movement was started by a British war hero Robert S.S. Baden Powell. While in South Africa on military duty, he had written a booklet called Aids to Scouting. When he returned to England in 1899, he had the booklet published. He was immediately called back to South Africa due to the Boer war. While he was at war, many boys back in England were using this booklet to form themselves into patrols. When he returned to England, he added activities to this booklet and published the first Scout manual, “Scouting for Boys” which appeared in 1908. By 1909 the number of Boy Scouts exceeded 100,000. Powell retired from the military and became the first Chief Scout.
Coming to America
In 1909, wealthy newspaper publisher William D. Boyce was lost in a London fog when a boy came to his aid. After guiding him to his destination, the boy refused a tip, explaining that, as a Scout, he would not take a tip for doing a good turn. -
This gesture inspired a meeting between Boyce and Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the head of the Boy Scout movement in England. Four months later, on February 8, 1910, Boyce founded the Boy Scout movement in the United States. Congress officially chartered the organization in 1916.
In Charlotte, newspaper articles show that there was an attempt in 1910 to form a Boy Scout troop but it never got it off the ground. The first Boy Scout troop was formed in March 1913 at Holy Comforter Episcopal on South Boulevard. It had been meeting on its own since January. The Holy Comforter Troop was known as Troop A and later became Troop 1. In 1914 a second attempt was made to form a council along with a troop at the YMCA. The YMCA troop became 2.
At this time, these troops reported directly to BSA headquarters in New York City.
A Boy Scout Council was started in Charlotte in 1915 called the Central North Carolina Council. The council’s territory took in most of the central part of the state, encompassing several counties. It remained so until 1939. The first Scout Executive was Dr. Joseph Caldwell and was called the Chief Scout. There were a couple of others and then in 1918, Mr. Jim Steere became the Chief Scout. He was called Chief Steere. He remained Chief Scout until 1941. In 1940, the council split and the Mecklenburg County Council was established in 1940.-
Early Camping – Summer Camp
Camp Steere was started in 1926 and was the primary camp until Mecklenburg Scout Reservation was built in 1975. Camp Steere property was sold in 1988 and the property for Clear Creek Scout Camp (Now Belk Scout Camp) was purchased and this camp started construction.
Cub Scouting was introduced into the Boy Scout program in 1930.
Prior to 1950 the Council’s honor camping group was called The Order of the Pawnee. In 1951, the Council established an Order of the Arrow Lodge and its name is the Catawba Lodge.
The Council began to form districts sometime in the 1930s and an Assist District Commissioner headed them up.
During the 1940s there were 13 districts at one point.
In the 1940s there were 2 professionals and the African-American Division DE.
In the 1950s the council went to 5 districts and it covered the whole county.
In 1967 the African-American division merged into the council.
The Explorers became a separate area in 1972. Prior to that they were in the districts.