John Wayne, the Boy Scout

on January 21, 2008 in Leadership, Scout Law

Did you know that the great American actor John Wayne was a Boy Scout in his youth? It seems that even in his adult life he never forgot his time in Scouting. In fact, even as Mr. Wayne was dying of cancer, he attended a benefit dinner to raise money for a new Scout camp. President Gerald Ford, who also attended the dinner, said of Mr. Wayne, “It occurs to me that John Wayne, like so many other great Americans, has never lost the sense that there is a higher good, something outside the individual, which each of us should seek to achieve.”

When the time came for Mr. Wayne to speak to the crowd he surprised everyone when he recited the Scout Law. Then he added, “”Trouble is, we learn them (the points of the Law) so young we sometimes don’t get all the understanding that goes with them. I take care of that in my family. As each boy reaches Scout age, I make sure he learns the Scout Law. Then I break it down for him, with a few things I have picked up in more than half a century since I learned it.” He then went on to break it down for the audience.

I am not going to print the whole thing Mr. Wayne said in this blog because you can read it at Boy Scout Trail or the USSP site. It is a great explanation about the meaning of the Scout Law so I do encourage you to check it out. I have wanted to use this a couple of times at a court of honor, but for some reason I always seem to forget to put it in my briefcase.

I am always amazed with the number of well known people who were involved with Boy Scouting in their youth, and how they fondly remember their days as a Boy Scout. I wish more people would come forward and tell the public about what Scouting has meant to them.

4 Responses to “John Wayne, the Boy Scout”

  1. Nick Wood says:

    I think it’s impressive to think that around 1.5 BILLION (info from the Scouts Europe website) people have been Scouts in the last 100 years!
    What other organisation / youth movement can claim that?
    Also BP’s Scouting for Boys is the 4th most popular book ever after the Bible, the Koran & Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am addressing a Heritage Society annual meeting next week.I found your blog comments beneficial.Scouting literally changed my life for the better.I thank God for the program.

  3. Andrew Vickers says:

    Trying to find out more information on the plaque that was presented to John Wayne from the BSA Outpost in California, Gerald Ford presented it to John Wayne back in June 1978, from what I can tell the plaque never got installed, any information would be appreciated.

  4. stevejb68 says:

    Unfortunately, I do not have any additional information.

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