Time Traveler Series: Boy Scouts, Mid-Twentieth Century America.
You could say that I was a precocious Boy Scout. It was mostly opportunity. I was the only child of a father who had dedicated his life to the Boy Scouts of America. Malcolm “Mac” Rogers was a virtual “missionary” for the Scouting movement in America.
Will Rogers Robert Baden-Powell was the founding Father of the Boy Scouts and was my father’s patron saint. Even though dead, Baden-Powell (and Will Rogers) were the other half of our daily foursome: Mac Rogers, BP, WR and Charles Rogers. Much of my father’s values were epitomized in Baden-Powell and Will Rogers. It was my responsibility to learn all of this, assimilate these values, and be a leader.
Boy Scout activities:
There seemed to be about a hundred assorted tasks and when you passed a test, you were awarded a merit badge.
When you accumulated enough of the right badges, you received the Eagle Scout Medal. There was one physical test that I never could pass: my nemesis, the climbing of, unassisted, a single dangling rope. I was never physically strong enough to climb the rope . Without the rope climb, I couldn’t pass the requirements for physical Fitness Merit Badge, required for Eagle rank. Therefore, I never became an Eagle Scout. (No exceptions allowed for the leaders son). To me, the merit badge/ medal component, was far less attractive than the Wilderness: sleeping outdoors, and hiking. From my seventh birthday, I had my own bed-roll, a tent, cooking kit, hunting knife, and backpack.
Our house was at the edge of town, adjacent to woods. When I couldn’t be at Scout Camp, I pitched my tent in out our half-acre back yard next to the woods and camped out at home. Although I did not qualify for the “cliques” at school, because of my camping assets, I always had plenty of friends out-of-doors.
My father was known to every one as Mac; so that is what I always called him, Mac, not Dad. Mac was my best friend! Mac was my teacher. He knew things and could make things that no other father in my town could match. For example, when he was a Boy Scout, he had a scout leader who taught him archery in what we would now call: an immersive learning experience. Part of the challenge was to make your own bow and arrows; starting by obtaining the right tree of the right size. Mac insisted on using the wood from Yew trees. We used flints for the decorative arrows; but steel points, mostly. We spent far more time making bows and arrows as using them.
I was twice-blessed with fathers. My father’s best friend was also my Scout Master. “Skipper” Farnsworth was truly a Renaissance Man. Skipper taught me to swim. Skipper was almost always with us camping and was the leader for all five of my trips to Philmont Scout Ranch.
Skipper way a teach-by-example instructor. It seemed he could do anything; then having done it, said: “now” you do it!
My experience in Boy Scouts was a wonderful out-of-doors experience in the forties and fifties.
Considering we had zero inherited wealth, I was the richest kid in town with all of the things that money can’t buy. I had the constant benevolent, nurturing, instruction including survival in-the-woods skills down to making my own bow and arrows and fishing. Cooking and first-aid. And it was put into practice. Money aside, I was very wealthy in basic life. I loved “basic and survival skills life, and I grew, and I’m still learning, under my father’s umbrella.
How is the Boy Scouts of America of the Twenty-first Century compared to the middle of the Twentieth Century? I have lost first hand knowledge. I searched the internet and found, to my delight, that Philmont Scout Ranch is even more inviting now than sixty years ago. Click on the Philmont link below; then click on: “About”. There is an interesting video. [girl campers?]
Charles Clanton Rogers November 17, 2015 Please leave a note.
 Lieutenant General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, OM GCMG GCVO KCB (22 February 1857 – 8 January 1941), also known as B-P or Lord Baden-Powell, was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, founder of the Scout Movement and first Chief Scout of The Boy Scouts Association., Wikipedia
 William Penn Adair “Will” Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was an American cowboy, vaudeville performer, humorist, newspaper columnist, social commentator, and stage and motion picture actor. He became one of the most famous American media stars during the 1920s and 1930s. Known as “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son”, Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 “talkies”), wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns, and became a world-famous figure. By the mid-1930s, the American people adored Rogers. He was the leading political wit of his time, and was the top-paid Hollywood movie star. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed in northern Alaska. Wikipedia