Five Presidents Who Were Boy Scouts
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There were five Presidents who were Boy Scouts of America, which is one of the largest youth groups in the United States. Founded in 1910, it has had over 110 million young men, of various ages, in its organization. Every president of the United States has supported the work of the Boy Scouts of America since its founding and each served as honorary president of the BSA during his term in office. Each President, starting with William Howard Taft, has helped to further the Scouts, but there are only five Presidents who were Boy Scouts. Here is a list of those Presidents,
JOHN F. KENNEDY (1961-63)
Of the Presidents who were Boy Scouts, the first was John F. Kennedy, a member of Troop 2 in Bronxville, New York, from 1929 to 1931 and a leader in the Boston Council. He was a Star Scout. He participated in the Scouts from the time he was in sixth to eighth grade, when his parents sent him away to private school. Kennedy would always fondly remember his time in the Boy Scouts, stating “In a very real sense, the principles learned and practiced as Boy Scouts add to the strength of America and her ideals.”
GERALD R. FORD (1974-77)
Gerald Ford was the first Eagle Scout to become vice president and later president. He began his Scouting career on December 17, 1924, when he became a member of Troop 15, which was sponsored by the Trinity M.E. Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was recognized with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award by the Grand Valley Council at Grand Rapids, Michigan, in May 1970 for his service to the nation and community. While president, he received the Scouter of the Year Award on December 2, 1974, from the National Capitol Area Council in Washington, D.C.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON (1993-2001)
President Clinton, a former Cub Scout, greeted 36,000 Scouts and leaders at the 1997 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia, and commended them for promoting the importance of service to others. While Clinton never went on to join the Boy Scouts, he had this to say about the organization: “For almost a century, the Boy Scouts of America have helped to make volunteer service an American ideal. With every act of kindness, you’ve strengthened our nation’s commitment to community and promoted a sense of civic responsibility.”
GEORGE W. BUSH (2001-09)
President George W. Bush, a former Cub Scout, praised Scouting and its enduring values when he appeared to the nearly 40,000 Scouts, volunteers, and leaders at the 2005 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia, in July 2005. Like Clinton, he never went on to become a Boy Scout, but he had this to say, “Every day, Scouts are showing that the greatest strength of America lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens. Through your Good Turn for America initiative, Scouts have given more than 1.4 million hours of volunteer service this year alone . . . On behalf of a grateful nation, I thank the Boy Scouts for serving on the front line of America’s armies of compassion.”
BARACK H. OBAMA (2009-Current)
Barack Obama is and isn’t one of the presidents who were Boy Scouts. He participated in the Gerakan Pramuka; The Indonesian Scout Association. While this is not officially the BSA, it is the equivalent of the Cub Scouts in Indonesia. He was the President during the 100 year anniversary of the organization. In 2010, an internet message circulated the web exclaiming that he was the first President to refuse the honorary title of BSA President and did not sign new Eagle Scout Awards, but this was patently false. President Obama has been a great supporter of the Scouts throughout his Presidency (Source: Snopes.com).