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Not only has the curriculum lengthened but it has broadened. To take care of farm boys many agricultural merit badges are now obtainable. Water sports have been increased and one important Scout activity is to teach several thousand boys to swim every year. In the South colored Scout troops have been formed.
Meantime the central organization has blossomed out. Handbooks have been issued instructing Scoutmasters in all arts from raising money and handling parents, to the best psychological methods of picking patrol leaders, the proper accounting forms for Scout funds. The funds of the general organization are elaborately budgeted and solidly provided for by receipts of 50¢ a year from each Scout and by the income from the Scout magazine, Boy's Life (300,000 Scout subscribers at 75¢ each). A thoroughly integrated institution, the Boy Scouts have even an expert publicity department fully equal to such tasks as turning out a Jamboree Journal (16-page daily tabloid) the ten days at Washington. As for mimeographed press releases, they issue so well-prepared and so numerous from Boy Scout quarters that even the prolific pressagents of the New Deal regarded them with awe. The Boy Scouts of America is today no amateur movement but a full-grown U. S. institution, one of the most elaborately integrated, self-perpetuating social mechanisms in a nation which dotes on organization.
25,000 Monkeys. It was well that the Boy Scouts have an elaborate organization for it undertook no mean responsibility in bringing some 25,000 Scouts to Washington. A staff of nearly 200 doctors was kept busy examining every arrival to prevent any infectious disease getting started. In the first 48 hours only five boys were sent to Naval Hospital where arrangements had been made to hospitalize any Scout requiring more than 24 hours treatment: two had appendectomies, one a broken arm, one a bad case of poison ivy, one mumps. Doctors continued to make daily inspections of all Scouts who had had any contact with the mumps boy. Each troop held sick call every morning.
Bigger than the medical staff was the kitchen staff: 250 chefs in 25 big kitchen tents had the job of frying 100,000 flapjacks for breakfast, of coping with 30,000 quarts of milk, 70,000 eggs, two tons of sugar, 13,000 Ib. of meat delivered every morning and serving it more or less hot to over 800 mess tents. Telephone connections and mail deliveries to the camp sites had to be organized on a similar scale.
But neither these arrangements nor the high ideals of scouting were any burden on the 25,000 monkeys who swarmed over the encampment, riding bicycles, darting from behind every park bush to the terror of automobile drivers. At 17th Street & Constitution Avenue were encamped about 400 foreign Scouts, troops from Chile and Poland, a Philippine Scout who had flown from Manila, British Columbians who had bicycled 3,500 miles, two Venezuelans who had tramped for 30 months through jungles covering the entire distance to Washington on foot. About 1,000 U. S. Scouts were to sail for a world jamboree to be held this month in The Netherlands. The thousands who were to go no farther than Washington swarmed over the foreign encampment, gathering autographs from strange places.