Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Radio Address on the Twenty-ninth Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

February 08, 1939

Fellow Scouts:

On this, our twenty-ninth birthday, we can look backward with pride and forward with hope and courage. We rejoice that our organization has reached full maturity.

Because the Nation never had greater need of the Boy Scouts than it has today, I find peculiar satisfaction in Mr. Head's reassuring report on our progress during the past year. I am glad that our membership is greater than ever before, not from any mere pride in numbers, but because there is so much work to be done that we need all the workers we can muster.

To all who have had a part in bringing the Scouts to their present splendid standing I offer hearty congratulations. These boys, so full of promise for the future, are a national asset and therefore should be regarded as a national trust. Ours is the duty to inculcate in the Scout mind those simple but fundamental principles which embrace strength of body, alertness of mind and, above these and growing out of them, that sense of moral responsibility upon which all sound character rests.

In building up solid character we are insuring the future strength and stability of the nation. Sooner than many of us realize, the Boy Scouts of today will be full-fledged citizens to discharge for better or worse the civic duties upon which the happiness of the nation will rest.

As one who has long been active in Scout work and who feels a special responsibility as Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America, I like to think that faithful observance of the Scout Oath constitutes an excellent preliminary training in the duties of citizenship. I like to think of the entire Scout training as an apprenticeship for the mastery of civic duties.

I have always been a believer in the discipline and training afforded by camp life. Life in the open constitutes an ideal recreation while at the same time it encourages initiative, resourcefulness and self-confidence. On this account I am heartened by Mr. Head's announcement of the gift of a fine site for advanced camping in the Rocky Mountains. Camp life is an American tradition. It is a way of life. A generation trained in the art of camping will receive experience which I believe will give them exceptional equipment with which to cope with some of the most vexatious problems of life in the years that lie ahead.

And now, my fellow Scouts, I trust that the year ahead will be one full of achievement and useful service for all of you. I appeal to all of you to be faithful now and always to the Scout Oath and the Senior Scout Citizenship Pledge in which Dr. West is about to lead you.

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

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