Scout Manhood and Citizenship in the Great Depression
The Great Depression undercut funding for Scout offices and troops, but the organization managed to increase its membership by emphasizing the Daily Good Turn to those in need and expanded camping opportunities such as the new Philmont high adventure camp and the National Jamboree. The Boy Scouts created a new Cub Scout program for younger boys and also partnered with the federal government’s Indian Bureau to establish more than one hundred troops of Native American Boy Scouts at reservation boarding schools. The elaborately-decorated and symbolic Philadelphia Scout council office building, built in the Great Depression with great pride as a monument to the organization’s ability to teach good character and civic responsibility to all American boys, came under public scrutiny in the 1990s as former gay Boy Scouts and leaders attempted to force the city to remove the organization from its local office since it was built on city park land. While the city eventually reached an agreement to pay the local council for previous upkeep costs in exchange for vacating the building, recent shifts in Scout national membership policies to permit openly gay boys and leaders fits with the organization’s culturally inclusive membership heritage from its first three decades.
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