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Sharing history of Scouting

YOUNGSTOWN — After Boy Scouting started in England in 1908 by Lt. Gen. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, it expanded over the past century to include a variety of activities and program for boys and now, girls.

Local scout leaders Bill Moss and Fritz Coombs shared “The Scouting Movement: How It All Began” both nationally and locally in the Mahoning Valley as part of a recent Bites and Bits of History program of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society held at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center in Youngstown.

Moss has dressed as Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, in the museum at Camp Stambaugh in Canfield, which houses memorabilia of Boy Scouts.

Coombs and Moss portrayed the life of Baden-Powell, exploring how he started both male and female scouting, how it came to the United States, and Mahoning Valley scouting history.

Coombs, a lifelong resident of the Mahoning Valley and Liberty resident, earned the Eagle Scout Award as part of Troop 9, located at First Presbyterian Church in Youngstown. Some 28 years later, his son Evan, joined Cub Scouts and eventually, also earned the Eagle Scout Award.

Coombs served in a variety of adult leadership positions at the Unit, District and Council levels, including as Council Commissioner of what was then known as the Greater Western Reserve Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He continues to serve as an executive board member and Assistant Council Commissioner for the Great Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Moss has been a part of scouting all his life, first as a Boy Scout and an Explorer Scout in his youth, then as an adult leader for the last 51 years. Moss is also the Greater Western Reserve Council Scouting museum curator, which he started in 2009 at Camp Stambaugh. He has two sons who are Eagle Scouts.

Moss portrays various characters during his many presentations on scouting.

Coombs said today there are 816 youths from Mahoning County and 740 youths from Trumbull County. He said the local scouts have in the past year begun adding girls to the traditional Boy Scouts, now called Scouts. Moss said there are many girls in troops in both Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Scouting was founded in 1908 in England by Baden-Powell and in February 1910 Scouting was established in the United States.

Moss said the logo for scouting has different images in it, including a swastika, which prior to the 1930s the symbol was used as a thank you for awards before it took on another meaning in World War II when it came to represent Nazi Germany. The logo also has an eagle image on it.

Coombs said the mission of scouting has always been to prepare young people to make positive choices and promoting values of service, leadership, character development and achievement.

Many local scouting programs are held at Camp Stambaugh, 3712 Leffingwell Road, Canfield, where a museum is located with items of prominent people and symbols related to scouting. There are several display cases that house early scouting books and manuals, awards, merit badges, tools and early photographs of Camp Stambaugh. In one room is a display of decorated Boy and Cub Scout uniforms.

Camp Stambaugh is used by troops from both Trumbull and Mahoning counties.

Attorney James E. West was appointed in 1911 as the first chief scout executive of the Boy Scouts of America.