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BSA Historical Highlights - 1980's

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BSA's 70th anniversary year concluded with gains in both membership and units. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Explorers passed out fliers across the country urging participation in the 1980 National Census. Cub Scouting celebrated its 50th anniversary and was highlighted by the registration of the 30 millionth Cub Scout since 1930. A new Official Patrol Leader Handbook was issued. The first National Explorer Winter Olympics was held in Squaw Valley, Calif. More than 500 Boy Scouts and leaders represented the BSA at jamborees and activities in Switzerland, Scotland, Denmark, and Canada. Membership, December 31, was 4,326,082. Total members to date, 64,840,661.
For the second consecutive year, the Boy Scouts of America showed gains in membership and total units. The 10th National Scout Jamboree was held at Fort A. P. Hill, Va. Dr. Thomas C. MacAvoy, Corning, N.Y., was re-elected president. The National Explorer Presidents' Congress was held in Indianapolis, and the National Order of the Arrow Conference convened at the University of Texas at Austin. A new Official Scoutmaster Handbook was released. Murray, Ky., was picked as the site for the new Boy Scout Museum. More than 3,000 Boy Scouts and leaders represented the BSA at jamborees and Scouting events in Switzerland, Scotland, Denmark, and Canada. Membership, December 31, was 4,355,723. Total members to date, 70,774,443.
Alexander M. Holsinger became the millionth Eagle Scout registered. For the third consecutive year, the BSA showed gains in membership and units. "Shaping Tomorrow," a project aimed at addressing critical issues of the 1980s, was initiated in January. Four of the program concepts—Tiger Cubs BSA, Bear Enrichment, Prepared for Today, and Explorer Marketing—were field tested and implemented. Edward C. Joullian III of Oklahoma City was elected president during the National Council meeting in Atlanta. Cub Scouting published the Cub Scout Leader Book, which combined five separate books—the Cubmaster's Pack Book, Den Leader's Handbook, Webelos Leader's Book, Den Leader's Coach Book, and Pack Committee Book—into one volume. The Backpacking merit badge was introduced. "Catch the Scouting Spirit" was announced as the national program theme for 1983-84. Membership, December 31, was 4,542,449. Total members to date, 68,140,738.
The Boy Scouts of America showed gains in both membership and units for the fourth consecutive year. The BSA received the Margaret Pope Hovey Award from the President's Committee on Employment for the Handicapped for outstanding contributions to the rehabilitation and employment of people with disabilities. The BSA had registered more than 200,000 youth with disabling conditions. Tiger Cubs BSA, for 7-year-old boys and their adult partners, began its second year. Pilot testing of Varsity Scouting was concluded with a recommendation for implementation to begin in 1984. Both the 15th World Jamboree and the 29th World Conference were held. Membership, December 31, was 4,688,953. Total members to date, 70,014,715.
Sanford N. McDonnell of St. Louis was elected president during the National Council meeting in Salt Lake City. The third edition of the Boy Scouts of America Fieldbook was produced. Introduction to Family Camping was published and the Family Camping Association was launched. The BSA completed its fifth consecutive year of membership gain. Varsity Scouting, for boys 14 through 17, was launched nationwide. More than 2,000 Varsity Scout teams were organized, serving about 30,000 Varsity Scouts. Membership, December 31, was 4,748,511. Total members to date, 72,014,206.
The Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 75th anniversary. "Pride in the Past . . . Footsteps to the Future" was the theme that told the story through exciting events conducted during the year. Ben H. Love became the eighth Chief Scout Executive. The high point of the year was the 11th National Scout Jamboree held July 24-30, at Fort A. P. Hill, Va. First Lady Nancy Reagan was a special visitor at the jamboree. A BSA history book titled The Boy Scouts: An American Adventure was produced in cooperation with author Robert W. Peterson and American Heritage Publishing Company. Youth membership increased for the sixth consecutive year, registering a 2.7 percent gain over 1984. Cub Scouting introduced a new emphasis on Cub Scout sports. The BSA Scouting for the Handicapped program was cited for its innovative approaches in serving disabled Scouters and was the recipient of the 1985 National Organization on Disability Award. Membership, December 31, was 4,845,040. Total members to date, 73,639,425.
Membership requirements for Tiger Cubs BSA and Cub Scouts became primarily based on grade in school rather than age. The plan was expanded to include first-grade boys as Tiger Cubs and second-grade boys as Wolf Cub Scouts. Webelos Scouting was expanded to 2 years for fourth- and fifth-graders. The BSA was touched by the tragic Challenger disaster, as two of the crew members were active in Scouting as youths. Lt. Col. Ellison S. Onizuka attained the Eagle Scout rank in 1964 in Holualoa, Hawaii. Dr. Ronald E. McNair reached Star rank as a youth in Lake City, S.C. Boys' Life magazine celebrated its 75th anniversary. Charles M. Pigott, president of PAC-CAR, Inc., in Bellevue, Wash., was elected president. The BSA conducted a nationwide Donor Awareness Good Turn to inform American families of the urgent need for donated human organs and tissue. The BSA ended 1986 with its seventh consecutive year of membership increase and the largest in 30 years. Membership, December 31, was 5,170,979. Total members to date, 83,686,624.
The Boy Scouts of America began to address five "unacceptables" in American society: drug abuse, hunger, child abuse, illiteracy, and unemployment. The nation's largest anti-drug abuse education campaign was launched with the release of a booklet titled Drugs: A Deadly Game. Another booklet, Child Abuse: Let's Talk About It, was distributed to help parents, teachers, and Scout leaders deal with the issue. Also, the booklet Child Sexual Abuse: How to Deal with It was released for training professional and volunteer Scouters. Fast Start videos were distributed to Cub Scout leaders, and a new edition of the Webelos Scout Book was published. About 3,000 BSA members attended the 16th World Jamboree in Australia. For the eighth consecutive year, the BSA's youth membership increased. Membership, December 31, was 5,347,098. Total members to date 78,353,590.
The first annual Scouting for Food drive harvested more than 60 million containers of food. The campaign "Drugs: A Deadly Game" received the 1988 Presidential Citation for Private Sector Initiatives. To help reduce child abuse, the BSA distributed two publications, How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse and Drug Abuse: A Parent's Guide. A 2-year Webelos Scouting program was introduced; for the first time fourth-graders were eligible to become Webelos Scouts. Resident camping for Cub Scouts was approved. A closed-circuit teleconference was broadcast nationwide by satellite. Hugh Downs, a longtime Scouting supporter, hosted the event, which led to the organization of 8,132 new troops. At the biennial National Council meeting in San Diego, Eagle Scout Harold S. Hook, chairman and chief executive officer of American General Corp., was elected president. Youth membership had its ninth straight annual increase. Membership, December 31, was 5,377,493. Total members to date, 80,589,269.
The 12th National Jamboree at Fort A. P. Hill, Va., drew 33,000 Scouts and leaders. The new Troop Operations Plan included separate patrols for new Scouts and new advancement requirements. The second annual Scouting for Food drive netted 72 million containers of food for the nation's needy. A new package of materials for the campaign "Drugs: A Deadly Game" was distributed. Advice for preventing sexual abuse of children was incorporated into all training of adult Scouters, and a video called A Time to Tell was produced for showing to Boy Scout troops. Youth membership experienced its 10th consecutive year of gain. Membership, December 31, was 5,363,593. Total members to date, 82,998,087.

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