With Boy Scouts at “World of Tomorrow”

April 6, 2009 - 1,014 views

It was a rewarding experience to be one of three Scoutmasters who took a full Troop of Boy Scouts to the New York World’s Fair in the summer of 1939. The Scouts came from two or three Councils of our area. We lived for a week in the Boy Scout camp that was a part of the fair. One-hundred-fifty Scouts coming from all over the United States were in the camp each week. We slept in tents and ate our meals that were prepared and served in the camp.

The Scouts and Scouters in the camp gave half of their day to work assignments for the camp and the other half we were free to enjoy the fair. Assignments given us were, for example: guiding groups of school children and serving as color guards at special ceremonies being conducted often in the program of the fair.

Our Troop was fortunate to participate in Boy Scout Day at the fair when 60,000 Scouts assembled in the Court of Peace to celebrate the special day. There were many national celebrities who took part in the program. It was a real thrill for me to be an honor guard for Miss Helen Keller for about a two hour period. Many lost Scouts were brought into our camp that night to be returned to their Troops or sent to their homes. Our camp ran low on food from feeding those hungry lost boys. I saw the legendary “old-time” Scouter, Dan Beard that day, too.

On the Sunday our Troop was in the World’s Fair camp, I had the honor of conducting a worship service for the Scouts and Scouters in the camp. On Sunday afternoon another Scoutmaster and I accepted an invitation to tour Long Island with a volunteer Scouter and his wife. This proved to be one of the highlights of the week. Our genial host was an executive in the research division of Bell Telephone. Interestingly, he gave me a pamphlet on research he had done on the dynamics of bows. (This, no doubt, through his involvement in Scouting.) I kept in touch with this couple for several years.

I met the president of the Diamond Tent Company when he was visiting our camp. (His company had provided the tents used in the camp.) On an impulse, I told him about our rural Scout Troop in Alfred Station and asked if might have damaged or second grade tents we could purchase. He responded that he was having two tents from our camp repaired and he would ship them to our Troop without charge. Imagine the excitement of our Alfred Station Scouts when the tents arrived. It must be true, “If you don’t ask, you won’t get”.