Cub Scout Skit #5: The History of Scouting

This is a great skit for Blue & Gold Banquets, as it reviews the history of scouting.

as related by General Baden-Powell himself!

Baden-Powell [wearing military uniform or 1900s garb]
Adult Male Teacher [wearing clothes from 1900s]
Juliette Gordon Low [wearing clothes from 1900s]
William Boyce [wearing overcoat & muffler]
Scout 1 [wearing uniform]
Scout 2 [wearing uniform]
Scout 3 [wearing uniform]
Scout 4 [wearing uniform]
Scout 5 [wearing uniform]
Little boy [~1st grade, wearing modern day clothes]

Aid to Scouting handbook (replica cover printed from internet)
Scouting for Boys handbook (replica cover printed from internet)
Smoke machine


BADEN-POWELL: Greetings and salutations, everyone! My name is Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, but you can call me General Baden-Powell for short. My, but there certainly are a lot of fine young men here tonight! In my career as a British Army Officer, I've had the privilege to serve alongside many fine men such as yourself!

Not to boast or brag, but I have had a successful career as a British Army officer, if I do say so myself. I've served in such exotic countries as India, Afghanistan, and South Africa. It was during my service is South Africa I became something of a national hero back in England. In my opinion, the British Army is one of the best military organizations in the world. But I won't say that we haven't had our problems. For instance, when I was serving in India, my troop was assigned to serve as scouts for the main army. Can any of you fine fellows tell me what scouts are supposed to do as part of an army?

That's right! As scouts we were expected to know how to follow a trail, tell directions, recognize danger, find food and water, and other important duties. Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered that many of my men did not know the first thing about basic first aid or outdoor survival skills! Unacceptable!! So I started dividing the men into small groups for instruction, using competition and games to help them learn the skills and knowledge necessary to be scouts. AND, I wrote a little handbook, which I called Aids to Scouting which I gave them to help them remember what they learned. A handy little handbook it was too, if I do say so myself.

And that's where the story should have ended. Little did I know that I was in for a big surprise when I returned to England after retiring from the Army! Here's what happened.


BADEN-POWELL: What's going on here? Who are these boys, and what's that uniform they're wearing? Good heavens -- is that MY handbook they are consulting?

TEACHER: Why, it's General Baden-Powell! What an honor it is to meet you, sir!

SCOUT 1: General Baden-Powell? Wow! We love this handbook you wrote for scouts! In fact, some of us boys have formed groups called Boys' Brigades to study your handbook and learn how to be good junior scouts!

TEACHER: You have no idea, sir, what an impression your handbook has made on the young men of this country. Why, your handbook is more popular among boys these days than jump ropes! I'm a teacher, and I have been using the handbook to help the boys learn basic first aid, lifesaving, and other survival skills. It's a wonderful book, sir, though I admit there is one small problem with it.

BADEN-POWELL: Really? What's that?

TEACHER: Well, sir -- the book is written for men -- for soldiers, in fact. I do wish there were a version that would be more appropriate for these young men to use.

BADEN-POWELL: Good heavens! I had no idea my little handbook would have such an impact. Of course I'll write a version especially for boys.

BADEN-POWELL: And do you know? That's exactly what I did! I called the handbook Scouting for Boys, and it was published in 1907. This is what it looked like. Suddenly, almost before I knew what was happening, Boy Brigades had formed all over England! In 1907 they organized a camp at Brownsea Island where they could practice acting like patrols. I hear you boys have a similar sort of camp, which you call Goshen Reservation. By 1909, only 2 years later over 10,000 boys attended a Boys Brigade Rally at the Crystal Palace. Well, I was amazed out how popular boy scouting had become, and how quickly! But do you know what amazed me even more? Until then, I had always assumed that only boys would be interested in my little scouting manual. But who should also show up at the Crystal Palace that day but 6,000 GIRLS, all of them calling themselves GIRL SCOUTS! Astonishing!

LOW: You shouldn't be so surprised, General Baden-Powell! Girls find your scouting handbook just as interesting as boys! As you know, my name is Juliette Gordon Low, an American living here in England for the time being. Since I've been here, I've become quite good friends with you and your wife, I like to think. Well, a few years ago I took the liberty of starting a group of Girl Guides in Scotland, and it was a huge success. Now there are thousands of Girl Guides here in England too!

BADEN-POWELL: Girl Guides? Astonishing! But, as Mrs. Low just pointed out, so far our little movement was still confined to England. So far no other countries had adopted scouting. But all that changed in 1910, when something quite amazing happened.


BOYCE: Confound this fog! They told me that London fogs could be thick, but this is ridiculous! I have no idea where I am, nor any idea of which way I should be going! We certainly don't have fogs like these back in Chicago, where I've just come from!

SCOUT 3: Good evening, sir! You seem to be a little lost. Can I help you find your destination?

BOYCE: Goodness me -- what are you? Why are you wearing that uniform?

SCOUT 3: I'm a Boy Scout, sir. It would be my privilege to assist you.

BOYCE: Boy Scout, eh? I never heard of such a thing back in America! But I certainly do need some assistance. Can you tell me how to get to where I'm going?

SCOUT 3: I'll do better than that, sir. I'll escort you there.


SCOUT 3: Here you are, sir! Have a nice evening!

BOYCE: Just a moment! Won't you accept this coin as a thank you for assisting me?

SCOUT 3: No thank you, sir. I am a Scout, and I won't take anything for helping.

BOYCE: Well -- isn't that a remarkable thing! Boy Scouts! We could use something like that back in the United States!


BADEN-POWELL: And, do you know, that's exactly what Mr. William Boyce, a Chicago businessman, did! Unfortunately no one knows the name of the scout that helped Mr. Boyce find his way that foggy London evening, but here in the United States I'm told that everyone remembers Mr. Boyce as the man who introduced Boy Scouting to America.

SCOUT 4: Excuse me, General Baden-Powell, but I wonder if you could help me with a little problem?

BADEN-POWELL: Certainly, young man! What problem is that?

SCOUT 4: Well, I love being a boy scout and all, but my little brother here won't leave me alone! I keep telling him that scouting is only for boys 11yrs old and older, but he insists that he wants to be a scout too. Couldn't you organize some sort of program for younger boys, so that they can enjoy scouting too?

BADEN-POWELL: I don't see why we can't create a scouting program appropriate for these younger folks. We can call it "Cubbing," and divide the program into ranks so that each boy can participate in a program that's just right for their age. How would you like to be a Tiger Cub, little guy?
Little brother. Yeah!


BADEN-POWELL: And even now, almost 100 years later, we are still making changes & improvements to the program! The uniform that cub scouts wear has changed, for instance; and we've now written handbooks for each rank of scouts, instead of having boys of all ages use the same handbook. But some things haven't changed, like the emphasis on first aid and outdoor survival skills.

I like to think that you fine boys and men sitting out there in the audience right now are well on your way towards learning the sorts of skills that will make you successful in whatever career you pursue! Indeed, I never tire of hearing about the number of successful United States generals, congressmen, astronauts and other leaders who were themselves boy scouts as lads!

<5 scouts troop onstage. Each takes a step forward before speaking>

SCOUT 1: Boy Scouting teaches leadership, duty, honor, and patriotism. Some famous military men that were boy scouts include: Donald Rumsfeld, General William Westmoreland, General Colin Powell, and Admiral Jay Johnson

SCOUT 2: Boy Scouting teaches physical fitness, exercise, teamwork and good sportsmanship. Some famous athletes who were boy scouts include: Hank Aaron, Bruce Jenner, Nolan Ryan & Bill Bradley (who a pro basketball star and a US Senator)

SCOUT 3: Boy scouting teaches leadership, duty, honor, and public service. Some famous politicians who were boy scouts include: Presidents Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy & Gerald Ford, as well as countless senators, congressmen, and cabinet members, such William Bennett

SCOUT 4: Boy scouting teaches scoutcraft, creativity and self-expression. Some famous actors & artists who were boy scouts include: Walter Cronkite, Walt Disney, Harrison Ford, Branford Marsalis, Steven Spielberg & Jimmy Stewart

SCOUTS 5: Boy scouting teaches natural science, exploration, survival skills and courage. Some famous scientists & explorers who were boy scouts include: Neil Armstrong, James Lovell, & Bill Gates. In fact, over half of U.S. astronauts were boys scouts when they were young!

SCOUTMASTER: I hope everyone in this room now has a clearer understanding of where scouting has come from, and how far it's come over the past 93 years. Let's give a big hand to our performers. More importantly, let's give a big cheer in honor of boy scouting & almost 100 years of tradition, duty, responsibility, and service. When I say go, let's all yell "Happy Birthday Scouting!"

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