Scouting History

Scouting History in the Heart of America Council - October 2017

by Andy Dubill, Council Historian

Scout Executive Don Baldwin Arrives at Camp Naish in 1945

A special announcement was made late in 1945. Don Baldwin had been chosen for the job as Scout Executive for the Kaw Council. The thirty-eight year old Scouter was the deputy Region Nine Executive in Texas. He had gone from being a Tenderfoot Scout in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1926 to a job in professional Scouting in Kansas City, Missouri in 1931. He had been Director of Camping and Activities as well as Camp Director at Camp Osceola under Scout Executive H. Roe Bartle. He had since served as Executive of the Concho Valley Council in San Angelo, Texas.

Baldwin had been a favorite of H. Roe Bartle from the day Bartle arrived in St. Joseph, Missouri in the early 1920’s. From the time he babysat for Bartle’s infant daughter or started an Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity at Kansas State University, Don Baldwin caught the attention of Bartle. When he graduated from Kansas State University with an architecture degree, Baldwin realized that his poor eyesight might hamper him in his chosen profession. Bartle signed him on to the professional staff of the Kansas City Council and he immediately became one of the leaders at Camp Osceola.

Baldwin was nicknamed “Skipper” at Camp Osceola. Don was very youthful and Bartle wanted him to grow a mustache to look older. “Bartle did not want the Scouts to call me Don and I did not want to be called Mr. Baldwin,” he recalled over 60 years later. “At dinner, the first night the Chief announced that I was a naval officer and I should be addressed as the Skipper.” It was a shock for Don to learn of his naval career! Baldwin also remembered “the camp staff at Osceola in those days was the finest staff in every respect that I have seen in all my years of Scouting!” He duplicated his feat at Osceola by building a similar staff at Camp Naish after World War II. Baldwin drove much of the improvement at camp over the next thirty years.

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