Scouting in Kentucky

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Daniel C. Beard Boyhood Home

Scouting in Kentucky has a long history, from the 1910s to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live. Kentucky has a very early Scouting heritage, as the home state of Daniel Carter (Uncle Dan) Beard.

Early history (1908–1950)[edit]

Burnside, in south-central Kentucky, is believed to be home to the first Boy Scout troop in the United States. In 1908, two years before the Boy Scouts of America was officially organized, Mrs. Myra Greeno Bass organized a local troop of 15 boys, using official Boy Scout materials she had acquired from England. A sign at the edge of town declares Burnside "Birthplace of Boy Scouts of America", and an official state historical society marker commemorates the troop.[1] Burnside is now part of the Blue Grass Council.

Boy Scouts of America Troop 1 in Frankfort, Kentucky was established in 1909 by Stanley A. Harris. There has been a long-standing belief that this was the very first Boy Scout troop in the United States. However, Troop 1 was originally formed under the British Boy Scouts[2] and the charter was destroyed in a fire around 1920. Nonetheless, Troop 1 is still active and is sponsored by the First Christian Church of Frankfort, Kentucky.

Outside of Frankfort, in towns like Danville, Kentucky in Boyle County, 3 new troops organized in December 1911. Troop 1, Christian Church with nelson Rodes as Scoutmaster, Troop 2, Centenary Methodist Church with Sandridge as Scoutmaster, and Troop 3, Presbyterian Church, no Scoutmaster listed. Of these, Troop 1 continues today as Troop 326 and Troop 2 continues today as Troop 27.

In addition, small councils began in a number of places, with the Issac Shelby Area Council that was made up of Mercer, Boyle, and Jessamine Counties, with and the Daniel Boone Council of Winchester, Kentucky and the Frankfort Council. These were among the councils who merged to create the Blue Grass Council in 1927 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Kentucky also claims an early unofficial girl's scouting group (Campfire Girls were one of three groups as affiliated girl's version of Boy Scouts at the time. "Girl Scouts" formed March 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, GA and years later they could not work out a deal to merge with the Campfire Girls. Campfire Girls (1) A group called "Girl Scouts," that had been organized in 1910 in Des Moines, Iowa, by Clara A. Lisetor-Lane; (2) A group called "Girl Guides," that had been sponsored in 1910 by the Rev. David Ferry of Spokane, Washington; (3) Camp Fire Girls, which had been announced in April 1911 in New York..), an 8 girl patrol of Boy Scout Troop #17 in Louisville in July 1911. The first official troops was formed in 1917 in Scottsville.[3]

In 1914, the BSA gave local councils the power to ban African Americans from Scouting.[citation needed] In 1922, the BSA revised that ban and allowed local Councils to create "shadow Councils" for their black and other racial/ethnic minorities.[citation needed] Until 1974, some southern councils of the Boy Scouts of America were still racially segregated. (The Old Hickory Council in North Carolina did not integrate until 1974.)[citation needed] The Louisville Area Council, headquartered in Louisville, was the first BSA local Council to develop such a "shadow Council" and board members of that "inter-racial council" were permitted to serve on the Louisville Area Council's board without vote.[citation needed] The BSA's "inter-racial council" program ended in 1954; Louisville accepted their first black Boy Scout Troops in 1959; and their first black Cub Scout Packs in 1963.[citation needed]

Most Girl Scouts of the USA units were originally segregated by race according to state and local laws and customs. By the 1950s, the GSUSA began significant national efforts to desegregate the camps and maintain racial balance. One of the first desegregations was Camp Shantituck in Kentucky, which was accomplished by Murray Walls in 1956.[4]

Recent history (1950–1990)[edit]

The National Scouting Museum was located on the campus of Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, before being relocated to the National BSA Headquarters in Irving, Texas. Recognized by Governor Carroll in 1975 for this achievement, he was just 11 years old when awarded his faith's religious emblem (Religious emblems are not controlled by the BSA but rather by each participating church body).[citation needed] Mike Walton of Rose Terrace became the state's only black Exploring representative in 1976, and ran unsuccessfully for national Explorer President in 1977. Since that time, two other Kentuckians—James "Buddy" Lockhart of Owensboro, and Colleen McWhorter of Paris, served as "Area Exploring Chair" of the area encompassing not only Kentucky but also Tennessee.[citation needed]

Hazen A. Dean (1889–1984), a Scoutmaster of BSA Troop 24 at Settle Memorial Methodist Church in Owensboro, KY was the first Kentuckian to receive a "70 Continuous Years of Service Award" from Boy Scouts of America in 1983.[5] He served as Scoutmaster for over 50 years with Owensboro's oldest troop #24, from 1949 till death in 1984.[6] Among his many honors, he received the Scoutmaster's Key and Silver Beaver awards. Recognized for having led 86 scouts to achieve the coveted rank of Eagle Scout; the most in the U.S.A. at that time; Dean received the Lt. Governor's Outstanding Kentuckian Award in 1982 by then Lt. Governor and later Governor, Martha Layne Collins. A Kentucky Historical marker #1747 was dedicated in special ceremonies held in downtown Owensboro by U.S. Senator and former Governor Wendell H. Ford and Owensboro Mayor Jack C. Fisher in 1984 (website: Also a portion of the Boy Scout camp Wildcat Hollow at Russellville, KY was named in honor of Hazen A. Dean. Dean did not receive the Eagle Scout Award until he was an adult in 1958.

Scouting in Kentucky today[edit]

There are six BSA local councils in Kentucky. Two councils are headquartered in Kentucky (Blue Grass and Lincoln Heritage). The other four councils are headquartered in neighboring states (Ohio, West Virginia, and Tennessee). All of Kentucky lies within Southern Region, except for these counties: Kenton, Pendleton, Campbell, Boone, Gallatin, Grant, Owen (all in Dan Beard Council - Ohio), Greenup (in Simon Kenton Council - Ohio), Carter, Boyd, Lawrence, and Pike (easternmost portion only) (in Buckskin Council - West Virginia), are part of the Central Region.

In 2009, Bracken, Mason, Robertson, Lewis, and Fleming Counties from the Simon Kenton Council merged with the Blue Grass Council for a total of 55 Kentucky Counties.

Blue Grass Council[edit]

  • Elkhorn District
  • Lake Cumberland District
  • Lonesome Pine District
  • Mountain Laurel District
  • Palisades District (formed by combining Henry Clay District with part of Midland Trails and part of the former Wilderness Trail District)
  • Shawnee District (Former Midland Trails District)

Buckskin Council[edit]

The Buckskin Council serves Scouts in Scouts in Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

Dan Beard Council[edit]

The Dan Beard Council serves Scouts in Ohio and Kentucky. The Council underwent a realignment in June 2006. Several districts were combined.

Lincoln Heritage Council[edit]

The Lincoln Heritage Council serves 64 counties in four states: Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Tennessee.

Middle Tennessee Council[edit]

Covers parts of Trigg and Christian Counties that are part of Fort Campbell, KY.

Simon Kenton Council[edit]

In the 1990s, the BSA went through a restructuring in an attempt to reduce manpower, and in several states small historic Councils were merged into a larger supercouncil. The new Simon Kenton Council, serving Ohio and Kentucky, is an example of such a supercouncil.

Includes Kentucky County: Greenup.

Girl Scouting in Kentucky[edit]

Map of Girl Scout Councils in Kentucky

There are two Girl Scout councils in Kentucky.

Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana[edit]

Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana serves nearly 20,000 girls in 64 counties in western Kentucky, southern Indiana, and South Fulton in Obion County, Tennessee.

The Girl Scouts of Tulip Trace Council recently dissolved, with Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana gaining 4 counties in southern Indiana.

Headquarters: Louisville, Kentucky


Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road Council[edit]

Kentucky's Wilderness Road Council serves 25,000 Girl Scouts in 67 Central and Eastern Kentucky counties and Lawrence County, Ohio.

Headquarters: Lexington, Kentucky


Camp Cardinal is 156 acres situated on the mountain ridgelines in eastern Kentucky, within a short hiking distance of Carter Caves State Resort in Carter County. The camp has 4 platform tent units, a small house, a Dining Hall, hiking trails and programming facilities. Commercial caving, swimming and miniature golf is available at Carter Caves State Resort for a fee.

Located in Morgan County, a short drive from Cave Run Lake, Camp Judy Layne's adventure based opportunities abound in over 180 acres of beautiful woodland sitting on the ridge of the Daniel Boone National forest. Camp Judy Layne offers a swimming pool with water slides, a climbing tower with a zipline, a low ropes teams course, rappelling, an inflatable jumping pillow, and many miles of hiking trails. Overnight accommodations include canvas tent units and pod cabin units.

Camp Richard Clark is 110 acres located in Clark County, Kentucky. Perhaps the most historic of all the Council's camp properties, Camp Richard Clark is located where a grand hotel with mineral springs operated as a health spa that attracted many patrons from all over the nation in the 1850s. Its history; seclusion and pleasantly unusual terrain make this site an interesting place to visit. Overnight capacity is up to 200, limited by restroom facilities.

Set on the bluffs above the Kentucky River where Daniel Boone and his contemporaries often hunted, Camp Shawano is our camp in the heart of the Bluegrass. 146 acres of cedar and hardwood forest and a number of open meadows provide fine sites for outdoor games. This camp offers a progression of camping opportunities from modern to primitive units and a 40 foot tall climbing tower with a zipline.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ see Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Historical Marker Database,
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana Council History". Archived from the original on 2007-03-02.
  4. ^ Human Rights Report: New Great Black Kentuckian poster unveiled (PDF). Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. Winter 2005. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2006-09-08.
  5. ^ Kentucky Historical Socicety Listing of historical markers, Frankfort, KY
  6. ^ Owensboro (KY) Messenger-Inquirer, pg 1C December 15, 1984