This article was entitled, "Boy Scouting-What it Really Is," written by F.A. Crosby and published in the February, 1911 issue of "The World To-Day.
The American boy used to live in the country, or in close proximity to it, and a healthy environment and nature's schoo1ing gave him a practical knowledge and a resourcefulness which have brought forth empire-builders. This boy could ride, swim, hunt and skate; he was handy with tools: knew nature's secrets in field and wood; had chores to do. He was self reliant and well developed in body and brain. Because of a careful rearing in a real home he was respectful and obedient, the right material from which to build a nation, and from which come nation builders.
There is the danger of our losing this type of boy through the change due to modern social and industrial conditions. Modern standards of living may conduce to a higher type of civilization, but the adolescent boy, with his many semi-barbarous instincts, is being forced onward too rapidly, like a hot-house plant, toward and into this stage of refinement, to the exclusion of his natural impulses. His wide interest in nature-persons, beasts, plants at work-is being dwarfed by narrow nature study from books; his personal interest in athletics is being superseded by a mania for "beating" in spectacular contests; and his desire to make things and see them work is in danger of being smothered by too much theoretical instruction. Likewise the normal boy's natural religious instincts; his altruistic impulses are too crude and deep-seated to be found and nurtured by many of our modern religious forms and prejudices.
Any scheme of ideas that will help to bring back to our city boy's life his inherent rights and desires of achievement, adventure, observation and knowledge of nature, is well worth careful study. The boy scout movement is such a scheme. Although its ideals can better be attained in the country, yet its adaptation to the city has been proved, and is only in its beginnings. Scouting is an educational movement, to be promoted by and in conjunction with other institutions, not an independent organization.