Woodcraft History




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Title Page
Child Spirit of Woodcraft
Woodcraft Way
Woodcraft History
The Woodcraft Idea
Chief's Message
Twelve Secrets
Woodcraft Aims
Seven Secrets
Things to Know and Do

Scout Books

Site Contents

by Ernest Thompson Seton

History of the Woodcraft Movement

The Woodcraft idea has possessed me all my life. In 1875, when I was a boy of 14, I founded in Toronto a "Robin Hood Club" whose object was to practice outdoor life, combining the Woodcraft of Robin Hood and of Leather-stocking. Among other things, its Rangers were to use only bows as weapons and abstain from the use of matches in fire lighting. The club did not last long, but the dream never left me, and from time to time I made attempts to realize it.

In the Two Little Savages, I give some of these attempts. The cabin in the ravine north of Toronto and the teepee in the woods of Sanger with Sam and Guy, were personal experiences, and most of the little adventures recorded were actual happenings.

In 1896, after years of roving life on the Plains and in far countries, I settled down near New York, and about 1897 began again with my dream. In furtherance of this, I published in the Ladies' Home Journal (1902), a series of chapters on the Woodcraft idea and organization. The first article appeared in May, though of course written the previous autumn. The result was the Blue Heron Tribe of Woodcraft Indians formed in New York State.

On the first of July, at Summit, N. J., I founded the first tribe that I personally led. Since then, the idea has grown and spread in spite of younger rival organizations that have secured a larger share of public notice.

During the 13 years following 1902, the Woodcraft Headquarters was at Greenwich, Conn. In 1910, I was head of a committee that organized the Boy Scout work in New York. Its, aims and activities were nearly the same as those of the Woodcraft Indians, and I continued head of both, hoping to unite them as one body, being Chief Scout of the Boy Scouts of America. In 1915, I realized that this was impossible; their methods were too widely apart. The Woodcraft alone provided a plan of recreation for both sexes and all ages. The Boy Scouts no longer needed me, therefore I resigned from that group to devote all attention to the Woodcraft.

In December of that year, I opened its first New York office at 11 West 34th St., and secured Philip D. Fagans as Executive Secretary.

In 1917, all the tribes were incorporated as the Woodcraft League of America.

In Europe, Woodcraft organizations using our Birch Bark Roll have been formed in England, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia, France and Belgium. All are doing well, growing steadily and flying the flag that stands for

Pleasures not bought with money;

Outdoor recreation for old and young;

Development along the four ways: the Body Way, the Mind Way, the Spirit Way and the Service Way.

The Birch Bark Roll






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Peer- Level Topic Links:
Title Page ] Copyright ] Child Spirit of Woodcraft ] Woodcraft Way ] Preface ] [ Woodcraft History ] Officers ] The Woodcraft Idea ] Chief's Message ] Twelve Secrets ] Woodcraft Aims ] Seven Secrets ] Organization ] Things to Know and Do ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Birch Bark Roll ] Book of Woodcraft ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.