Scouting History

Scouting History in the Heart of America Council - March 2017

by Andy Dubill, Council Historian

A New Scout Executive in 1928

In the early 1920’s, a young lawyer named H. Roe Bartle was trying to decide what his right career path would be. He was a musical director and church youth group leader in his spare time and had also become a Boy Scout volunteer. He could see the importance of working with youth and helping to mold them into good citizens.

In 1923 he was approached with a job offer from the Boy Scouts of America to become the Scout Executive for the State of Wyoming. In Wyoming, Bartle spent at least a day a week on the Wind River Indian Reservation near the town of Riverton. He befriended a Native American Chief named Lone Bear of the Arapaho Tribe. Lone Bear shared with Bartle many ideas that would eventually be incorporated into Bartle’s Tribe of Mic-O-Say in St. Joseph and later Kansas City, Missouri.

In 1925, Bartle was recruited to be the Scout Executive in St. Joseph, Missouri where he initiated his Tribe of Mic-O-Say based on the teachings of Chief Lone Bear. Under Bartle’s guidance, the council in St. Joseph expanded rapidly and set records for recruiting and camp attendance. He was soon invited to a Boy Scout conference in Chicago where he was asked to outline his plan for over 600 volunteer Scouters from over 100 councils across America. The “St. Joseph Plan” was soon adapted in many councils across the land.

Bartle was soon recruited to the larger council in Kansas City, Missouri. He had made tremendous strides in St. Joseph and now felt that the national organization wished him to take up the new Kansas City challenge. Upon his arrival in Kansas City, Bartle began recruiting leaders in the community who could help him build the Kansas City Area Council.

New Scout Executive H. Roe Bartle had seen Camp Dan Sayre in Noel, Missouri and quickly realized that he needed something more interesting and different to retain older Scouts. He knew full well that one of the keys to keeping younger Scouts in the program was to keep their older role models interested in Scouting. Bartle knew it was time to find a camp that would serve Scouts for many years to come.

If you have questions about Scouting history that would be good topics for future columns email Andy Dubill at adubill@aol.com.