The largest youth organization in the world is turning a century old this week, and it is returning to its roots for the celebration.
The weeklong birthday celebration that began Friday is being held at Hylands Park, Chelsford, England, near the home of the first camp outing. World Scouting was founded Aug. 1, 1907, in England by Lord Robert S.S. Baden-Powell, an English army general. It quickly gained popularity and spread across the world, hitting the United States in 1910, and was chartered by Congress in 1916 as the Boy Scouts of America. Today, 216 countries have a scouting program and 155 countries have officially recognized programs.
One Mahoning County man has been keeping the spirit of Baden-Powell and the history of scouting alive for 25 years through re-enactments of the founder’s first scouting expedition. Bill Moss of Struthers has been performing as Baden-Powell since 1982 at scouting ceremonies as far west as Kansas and as far east as Massachusetts, building an international reputation through his performances at the National Jamboree in the United States.
“[When I was first asked] I said no because I am no actor, but then I thought about it and decided it would be nice and so I did it. It went over so well that I felt so good about it so I just continued,” Moss said.
That first performance came at a wood badge training course for adult Scout leaders. Moss created a uniform that resembled Baden-Powell’s traditional outfit and presented the leaders with wood badge beads. Since then, both his uniform and his performance have evolved. Today he wears a short-sleeved button down shirt that has green stripes on the sleeves — the same as Baden-Powell’s army uniform shirt — shorts, a 1940s army jacket that has replicas of Baden-Powell’s army ribbons on it, and a British-style army hat with a yellow and green hat brush tucked into the side (yellow and green were the colors given to only Baden-Powell by the scouting organization). During his performance, Moss typically talks about the creation of the scouting program and about Baden-Powell’s life.
Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com