Boy Scouts in OKC: Some History

"On my honor I promise that I will do my best..."

In 1909 possibly the first Oklahoma scout troop was formed in Pawhuska. The Oklahoma City Division of the Boy Scouts of America started in early summer of 1910. The first and oldest Troop 1 was at an event at St.John's Methodist Episcopal Church (Oldest Troop Reviews History, Oklahoman, 11 June 1934, pg. 4). In 1912, newspapers meentioned troops in Claremore, Vinita, Bartlesville, Broken Arrow, Skiatook, Nowata, Okmulgee, Pawhuska, Guthrie, Wagoner among "many others." ("Boy Scouts Now are at Claremore", Oklahoman, Aug.27, 1912, pg.2).   

Troop growth appears to have plateued until the start of WW1 when a new interest developed. 
Troop #8 met at Wesley Church in 1918 as they launched plans for an agricultural garden ("Boys Want Disc for War Garden Work", Oklahoman, March 15, 1918, pg. 8). By war's end and early 1920's new troops were once more developing.

At one point, the local OKC paper carried a column of BSA news in and around the city and state. In 1920, Oklahoma City scouts Fontaine Freeman and T.T. Johnson Jr. attended a global "Jamboree" in England and France.("City Scouts on Way Home from England", Oklahoman, Aug. 25, 1920, pg.1).

On June 7,1933. Wesley Methodist records indicated Scouting committe leaders of Mr. Mathis, Clyde Reneau, H. J. Scott and L. J. Holt, that 32 boys had reported for Troop 23 meeting at Wesley Methodist Church. 

A directory from this church for the years 1935-1936, indicates the troop committee was comprised of J.A. Slater, Joe Barker, Harold D. Clark, J.D. Adam and E.B. Scott. Scoutmaster was Aiden E. Allen, assistant Scoutmaster was Art Sumstine, Jr. Assistant Bill Hunter, Troop Instructor was Adrian Hunter and Senior Patrol leader was Lawrence Holt. The Patrols and their leaders were the "Panther" and James McNulty; "Lion" with Robert Coffey; "Flying Eagle" under Thornton Chamberlain; "Comanche" under leadership of Marvin Chapman. This information indicates that the BSA were much alive during the depression.

During the 1940's-1980's nearly every school and church sponsored some form of scouts - Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts or both. Along the way girls organized and alternative youth groups formed but the Boy Scouts emerged at a time when many feared young boys would lose the skills that had helped people survive as urban life took over, lose the inner compass ingrained in earlier generations, and lose the sense of honor and ethics gained from personal struggle and achievement. 

Generations of youth gained positive outlets for abounding energy, gained direction in personal discipline and accomplishment, learned new skills, and the value of helping others. For over a century....they have achieved personal merit, aided their communities, and provided youth with skills to be people of integrity and honor.

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