BSA Historical Highlights - 1950's
- The 40th anniversary year was observed nationally and locally. The Second National Jamboree at Valley Forge, June 30-July 6, brought 47,163 Scouts and leaders from every state and territory in the United States and from many other lands. Survival training was emphasized; conservation education was a national program feature. A total of 1,100 Order of the Arrow members participated in a national conference held at the University of Indiana, Bloomington. Philmont Scout Ranch began an expanded program, and the first training courses were held there. The 40th annual meeting was held in Philadelphia immediately prior to the jamboree. The first Boy Scout stamp was issued by the U.S. Post Office Department. Membership, December 31, was 2,795,222. Total members to date, 17,843,852.
- The 3-year crusade to "Strengthen the Arm of Liberty" concluded with a 33 percent gain in membership. A program of cooperation in civil defense was carried out. Conservation activities were expanded in cooperation with federal, state, and local agencies. Two million pounds of clothing were collected for domestic and foreign relief. Several hundred Explorers took part in the Seventh World Jamboree at Bad Ischl, Austria, where 13,000 Scouts represented 59 countries. Expansion at Philmont Scout Ranch made new leadership training opportunities possible. The Ninth National Training Conference for Scout Executives was held at Michigan State University. At the 41st annual meeting in Chicago, John M. Schiff was elected president, succeeding Amory Houghton. Membership, December 31, was 2,942,779. Total members to date, 18,995,887.
- Scouting's 3-year program "Forward on Liberty's Team" was launched during Boy Scout Week. Scouts distributed more than a million posters and 30 million Liberty Bell doorknob hangers in a Get-Out-the-Vote campaign. Scouts also cooperated nationally in securing blood donor pledges, collected clothing for worthy causes, distributed seeds for Asia, and aided in conservation projects and civil defense. A quarter-million leaders took part in training experiences. Nine thousand Explorers and leaders camped at Philmont Scout Ranch. The 42nd annual meeting was held in New York. The 20-millionth member was registered. Membership, December 31, was 3,183,266. Total members to date, 20,236,331.
- The Third National Jamboree was held at the Irvine Ranch in southern California, July 17-23, with 45,401 Scouts and leaders from all parts of the United States and 21 other nations taking part. Scouts assisted in the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The effectiveness of the family "Be Prepared" plan was shown. Scouter training combined with family vacation plans was expanded at Philmont Scout Ranch. Local councils were organized in Germany and Japan to serve sons of Americans in those countries. The 43rd annual meeting was held in Los Angeles. Membership, December 31, was 3,395,884. Total members to date, 21,537,885.
- The National Conservation Good Turn was conducted. The 44th annual meeting was held in Washington, D.C. The National Council's office was moved to a new building near New Brunswick, N.J., in October. Boys' Life circulation passed the 1 million mark. The Webelos den was created to provide a means of maintaining the interest of Cub Scouts 10 years of age in Scouting and to provide a bridge for crossing over to Boy Scouting. Membership, December 31, was 3,774,015. Total members to date, 23,037,343.
- The 45th annual meeting was held in St. Louis. Through the facilities and courtesy of the U.S. Air Force, 16 Explorers and three leaders made exchange visits with 16 European Senior Scouts and two leaders. The Eighth World Jamboree was conducted in Ontario, Canada, with 15,000 Scouts present from 63 nations, including 1,500 Explorers from the Boy Scouts of America. In September, 4,000 attended the 10th National Training Conference for Scout Executives at the University of Michigan. A College Scouter Reserve was authorized so young men attending college could maintain active registered membership. For the first time, there was a total of 100,000 units and more than a million adults registered as Scouters. Membership, December 31, was 4,175,134. Total members to date, 24,675,358.
- During Boy Scout Week, the Onward for God and My Country program was launched with impressive national, state, and local observances. A delegation of Explorers visited the White House and presented the Report to the Nation. The 46th annual meeting was held in Cincinnati. Kenneth K. Bechtel of San Francisco was unanimously elected president to succeed John M. Schiff, who retired after 5 years. In a nationwide nonpartisan Get-Out-the-Vote campaign, Scouts distributed more than a million posters and 36 million Liberty Bell doorknob hangers. In international exchange visits, nearly 300 Explorers and Senior Scouts were transported by the U.S. Air Force and Navy. Boys' Life magazine was among the top 17 American magazines. Membership, December 31, was 4,526,302. Total members to date, 26,383,479.
- The Fourth National Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pa., July 12-19, attracted 50,000 Scouts and Explorers. Some 1,700 Explorers and leaders attended the World Jubilee near Birmingham, England, where 35,000 Scouts of 82 nations celebrated the centenary of Lord Baden-Powell's birth and the 50th anniversary of the Boy Scout movement. The 47th annual meeting convened in Philadelphia, July 11-12. Explorers visited the White House to present the Report to the Nation and the 15-millionth copy of the Handbook for Boys. The U.S. Air Force provided an airlift exchange for 50 Explorers and 50 European and Far Eastern Boy Scouts. The Thomas J. Watson Memorial Visual Education Building at Schiff Scout Reservation was dedicated on October 17. Membership, December 31, was 4,751,495. Total members to date, 28,100,000.
- The National Safety Good Turn and the continuing Onward for God and My Country program were outstanding successes. Explorer Richard Lee Chappel of Eggertsville, N.Y., accompanied the National Academy of Sciences team on the International Geophysical Year Arctic Expedition. The 48th annual meeting was held May 16-17 in Chicago. The National Order of the Arrow Conference in August at the University of Kansas attracted more than 2,400 members. The new Exploring program was implemented. Work began on the Johnston Historical Museum. Membership, December 31, was 4,950,885. Total members to date, 29,945,000.
- During Boy Scout Week, 12 Explorers visited President Eisenhower for the Report to the Nation. At the 49th annual meeting in San Francisco, Ellsworth H. Augustus was elected president. A new edition of the Boy Scout Handbook was published. More than 3,000 attended the 11th National Training Conference for Scout Executives at the University of Michigan. Delegations attended both the 10th World Jamboree in the Philippines and the 17th International Scout Conference at New Delhi, India. A citizenship study was completed. Membership, December 31, was 5,043,195. Total members to date, 31,563,809.
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