In the first article on the story of Mr. Jim Hughes, we looked at the man behind the name. A man deeply passionate about the Scouting movement and personally getting as much out of the enjoyment of working with the kids involved in Troop 1, Wichita Falls, as the kids whose lives he touched.
It has not just been Mr. Hughes who has touched the lives of thousands of kids in the Wichita Falls area. It is the movement of scouting itself, and that it has lasted for 100 years is a testament to the hundreds of people who have come before and who will pass through the doors of Troop 1, Wichita Falls in the future.
But, I digress and am getting ahead of myself. This article is going to take you on a short journey into the beginnings of Troop 1, Wichita Falls. So, Be Prepared, strap on, and let’s go.
1907 and the Start of Scouting
Lord Baden-Powell was a member of the elite in Britain and had distinguished himself in South Africa during the Boer War. During his time there, he wrote a number of books on scouting from a military context. Discovering that his books were of great interest to boys, he built on the writings, and held a camp at Brownsea Island, in 1907, which many attest as the start of the scout movement that quickly spread worldwide.
1910 – 1916: “Over the Pond to the United States”
It was fortuitous for all young boys in America that W.D. Boyce, a newspaperman and entrepreneur ran into a Scout on a London street. He learned of the scouting movement and on June 1, 1910 the first Boy Scouts of America (BSA) office opened in New York.
The BSA quickly spread to 44 states and soon had more than 150,000 youth applications. It only took three years for Scouting to reach Wichita Falls, Texas.
In 1913, four troops were formed in the Wichita Falls area, and until 1916, they had an on again, off again, roller coaster ride. It was Pancho Villa and the Mexican Civil War spilling over into Texas, the Great War, and other local and international events that made it very difficult to keep the momentum going for the BSA in the Wichita Falls area. But the idea was always kept alive.
In 1916, Sam Sproles started Troop 1, Wichita Falls once again. With 13 different Scout Masters between then and 1927, Troop 1 in Wichita Falls was able to hang on and grow, providing great guidance on a continuous basis to hundreds of local boys.
In the following years, Troop 1 continued to struggle, but it hung on. The Great Depression, drought, pestilence, no money, and many other day-to-day challenges of life in a rural economy in the USA could not kill the dream or the drive of the BSA and Troop 1, Wichita Falls.
The Troop continued to grow, attracting more and more boys. That takes us to 1947 when Jim Hughes arrived in Wichita Falls as an 8-year old boy.
The Next Story
That is the call for the next story in this series that will cover “the Next Chapter”, Mr. Hughes’, early years in the BSA movement. As he said, “it was a start to my life of Being Prepared.”