The Unknown Scout
The British capital lay in the grip of a dense "pea soup" fog. It had rolled in during the night and had enveloped the whole city in its smoky yellowness. Street lamps had been lit before noon. They shone with a feeble glow that penetrated only a few feet into the murkiness.
An American businessman walking slowly along the poorly lit street stopped under a lamp post and tried to orient himself. No doubt now, he was lost.
The figure of a boy moved past the man, then turned and came back.
"Can I help you, sir?" the youngster asked.
"You certainly can," said the man. "I have a business appointment somewhere around here. I'll be much obliged if you'll tell me how to get there."
"If you'll give me the address I'll take you there."
When they got to the destination, Mr. Boyce reached into his pocket for a tip. But the boy stopped him.
"No thank you, sir. I won't take anything for helping."
"And why not?" the American asked.
"Because I'm a Scout! Haven't you heard about Baden-Powell's Boy Scouts?"
The American had not. "Tell me about them," he said.
The boy told him what he could of himself and his brother Scouts and all the fun they were having in Scouting.
But the American wanted to know still more.
"I know where you can find out," said the boy. "Our headquarters is close by, in Victoria Street. The General may even be in the office today."
"Baden-Powell himself, sir."
"Fine," said the American. "Let me finish my errand. Then, if you have time, we'll go to your headquarters."
The boy waited, then showed the way to the Scout office, and disappeared before the American had a chance to learn his name.
And so 51-year-old William D. Boyce, newspaper and magazine publisher from Chicago, Illinois, met the founder of the Boy Scout movement, the British military hero, Lieutenant-General Robert S. S. Baden-Powell, and learned about Scouting from the chief Scout himself.
On February 8, 1910, Boyce and a group of leaders founded the Boy Scouts of America. From that day forth, Scouts have celebrated February 8 as the birthday of Scouting in the United States.
In the British Scout Training Centre at Gilwell Park, England, Scouts from the United States erected a statue of an American Buffalo in honor of this unknown scout. The statue is inscribed, "To the Unknown Scout Whose Faithfulness in the Performance of the Daily Good turn Brought the Scout Movement to the United States of America."