• The Boy Scouts Of America was founded by Chicago-based publisher W.D. Boyce on Feb. 8, 1920
  • The organization has trained over 130 million young men and women since then
  • Below are some facts about BSA

Feb. 8 marks National Boy Scouts Day. On this day, we celebrate not just the badges and campfire-building skills, but also the millions who have been shaped by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

The first week of February actually marks Boy Scouts Anniversary Week, and Feb. 8 is the day the organization was founded in 1910. Its founder, W.D. Boyce, thought of bringing the idea of the British Boy Scout Association to the U.S. when a Scout member led him back to his hotel as he was lost on a foggy street in London, National Today explained. At the time, the Scout member refused to take a tip and told him he was simply doing his duty.

The idea of being a Boy Scout clearly goes beyond learning new skills and earning Merit Badges. The organization aims to train youths so that they "make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes," the BSA said.

On National Boy Scouts Day 2021, let's have a look at some interesting facts about boy scouts and how the organization has helped shape millions of young people throughout its over 100-year history, courtesy of National Today, National Day Calendar, the BSA and Best Life.

Notable Scouts

Over 130 million young men and women have participated in BSA's youth programs since it was founded in 1910.

Among them are some prominent figures including Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jordan, Steven Spielberg and former presidents John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Gerald Ford, who reportedly is the only U.S. president to be an Eagle Scout, BSA's highest rank.

Scouting's lasting impact

Being a Boy Scout isn't all about camping, and the things Scouts learn along the way seem to really make a long-lasting impact. According to National Today, 83% of former Scouts have said the values they learned still affect their lives. Half of them also noted that being Boy Scouts has helped them in their career paths.

In fact, the BSA offers a career-oriented program for young people aged 10 to 20.

Merit badges

It's quite well-known that Scouts earn Merit Badges for something they have done or learned. According to National Today, there are over 135 badges in different fields that a Scout can earn.

In the past, there was even a "Nut Culture" badge for cultivating nuts and another for taxidermy, Best Life noted.

Scouts in space

Yes, Boy Scouts have reached space too. NASA has noted that over two-thirds of all current and former astronauts have engaged in scouting. This includes 20 of the 24 astronauts who have traveled to the moon and 11 of the 12 who have actually walked on its surface.

"NASA supports Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as part of its goal for engaging Americans in NASA missions," NASA said.

The president's role

All U.S. presidents have served as "honorary president" of BSA since 1910. The first president to be offered that post was William Howard Taft.

Boy Scout troop
A Boy Scout listens to instruction at camp Maple Dell outside Payson, Utah, on July 31, 2015. Getty Images/George Frey

Scouts as FBI informants

In the 1970s, the FBI revealed a program called Operation SAFE (Scout Awareness for Emergency). It encouraged Boy Scouts to be informants who will look out for "unusual activity," Best Life noted.

Boy Scout levels

Boy Scouts are encouraged to participate in activities and challenges, through which they can advance to different levels from Tenderfoot to Second Class, First Class, Star and Life.

The highest is the Eagle Scout level. To become one, a Boy Scout has to earn 21 merit badges and show "Scout spirit" and leadership. Some well-known Eagle Scouts include Steven Spielberg and Neil Armstrong.

You can use this National Boy Scouts Day to learn a new skill or, perhaps like the Scout who inspired Boyce, do something good for someone else without expecting anything in return.