Scouting History in the Heart of America Council - August 2014
by Andy Dubill, Council Historian
The Formation of Scouting in Kansas City
Scouting in Kansas City has come a long way since its origins in 1910. On August 10, 1910, city leaders gathered at the YMCA’s new building at 10th and Oak. This meeting would mark the formal beginning of the Scouting program in the “Heart of America”. The YMCA had played an important role in introducing and supporting the fledgling Boy Scout organization in different parts of the country and Kansas City would prove to be the same.
Presiding at this organizational meeting was Col. Cusil Lechtman, the commanding officer of the Kansas City Regiment of the Missouri State Militia. R.L. Flynn, the Boys’ Work Secretary of the local YMCA gave an enthusiastic explanation of the new Boy Scout program that had been founded earlier that year. Flynn was very excited about the possibilities that Scouting had for the youth of Kansas City. Col. Lechtman immediately called for men from the group of twenty-five who were in attendance to volunteer to organize troops. Several men jumped to their feet and volunteered. The first who was chosen was seated near the front of the group. His name was Charles A. Barrett, who would later become a Scoutmaster in 1910 and spend fifty-eight active years supporting the Scouting organization.
Others quickly followed. That group included William M. Rhodes, K.B. Olson, E.J. Knapp, Archibald Gould, C.B. Reynolds, A.R. Strother, Paul E. Kendall, Charles Vining, D.T. Mervine, L.C. Bradshaw, C.S. Bishop and Jo Zach Miller, III. With so many enthusiastic volunteers ready to support this new organization, Scouting was ready to move forward in Kansas City at a rapid pace.
On September 13, 1910, the Kansas City Council adopted its first official Boy Scout uniform: a flannel khaki shirt, khaki knee pants, black stockings, black shoes and a broad-brimmed hat. This would work until the official Scout uniforms became available in the area.
The BSA was on its way in Kansas City!
If you have Scouting history questions or suggestions for future articles, please email Andy Dubill at firstname.lastname@example.org.