Franklin D. Roosevelt

Radio Address for the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

February 08, 1940

Fellow Scouts:

I greet you and the friends of scouting everywhere with especial pleasure on our thirtieth anniversary. For three decades in our American life, the record of the Boy Scouts has been one in which the people of the nation can take genuine, wholehearted satisfaction.

Through all these thirty years, millions of American boys have found stirring and worthwhile adventure in scouting. They have also found an opportunity to exemplify through practical service to the community the loyalty and patriotism which are obligatory upon them as faithful scouts and true Americans.

I am glad to learn through President Head's report that we have gained not in numbers alone but in the effectiveness of our program and in the scope of our achievements. The theme of Boy Scout Week, "Scouting-the American Way," seems to me to have a particular significance at this time. Our Boy Scouts represent a cross-section of all American boys, from large cities and from villages and farms, from seaport towns and ranches, boys of all blood origins—all enrolled under the banner of scouting. Moreover, our movement embraces all sects and creeds and is above all class or sectional consciousness. It is, in a word, democratic and therefore truly American. God grant that it may ever remain so.

I like to think of Scouting as a kind of family group. This is as it should be, for the United States is a family nation. The family is the very base of our national life and the scouting movement does not take the individual away from it. Rather, it extends the spirit of the family into the activities of the boy outside the home. Our twelfth scout law effectively expresses the spiritual ideals of scouting. It constitutes an excellent basis for citizenship. It affirms the importance of religion in the life of the individual and the life of the nation and emphasizes the necessity of respect for the convictions of other people.

Religious freedom is basic in Americanism. It is a tradition upon which our country is founded. A generation trained in the principles of the Scout oath and law cannot fail to be a generation trained in the responsibilities of good citizenship. The United States is looked on as a young nation, but in the spirit of social consciousness, which is the very essence of the Scout ideal, our country is fully grown up.

After all, I am inclined to think that the individual Scout himself, as he engages in the activities of his Troop and Patrol and as he acquires the skills that equip him for service, speaks to us all in a convincing manner of the importance of scouting in the life of the Nation today.

Now, as your Honorary President, I extend to you my hearty good wishes and my congratulations on your good record of the past year. For the years to come I wish you joy and happiness and deepening satisfaction in living up to the best traditions of scouting.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Radio Address for the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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