A Stamp to Celebrate Scouting

November 11, 2009

Centennial Scouting Stamp

The US Postal Service is unveiling a ‘Celebrate Scouting‘ stamp recognizing 100 years of Scouting in America at an event Thursday 12 November, 10am EST, at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, DC.

The Heart of Virginia Council posted this about the event:

In 2010, the Boy Scouts of America will receive an incredible honor from the United States Postal Service (USPS), the “Celebrate Scouting” stamp. Offering a tribute to the impact of a century of Scouting on the American landscape, the stamp will become widely available during the summer of 2010.

If you’re going to be in Washington, DC metro area, please join us. Scouts, volunteers, BSA professional staff, and community supporters are invited to take part in this momentous occasion.

A “Vice President Sustainability” will represent the United States Postal Service, and an Assistant Chief Scout Executive will represent the Boy Scouts of America.  They will be joined by National Honorary Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America National Hall of Leadership.  The USPS media advisory posted at the Scouts on Stamps Society International website says:

With this stamp, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates the adventure and spirit of scouting. Since the creation of the international youth scouting movement some 100 years ago, hundreds of millions of children have benefited from opportunities for adventure, skill building, leadership, personal development, and community service provided by scouting organizations. To create this original stamp design, illustrator Craig Frazier of Mill Valley, Calif., depicted the images of two different scouts in clothing and accessories that are often part of the outdoor scouting experience – hats, packs, boots and binoculars.

BSA 50the anniversary stamp
I’m a stamp collector myself, if not very active the last few years. Nations around the world have honored Lord Baden-Powell’s grand idea.  In 1960, the USPS honored the 50th anniversary of the BSA with a Norman Rockwell-design 4¢ commemorative stamp. The new design itself, as you see at top, isn’t bad.  It isn’t exactly Norman Rockwell either.  As BSA has dribbled out Centennial products and initiatives this year, I’ve been as interested in what they say about what the brass in Dallas are thinking about the organization, as I have been about the actual items themselves.

I don’t know how much say the BSA had into the stamp design, but their launch page has a link to a fact sheet-like page (pdf) on the stamp that describes the “international youth scouting movement” founded 100 years ago.  It further notes:

Historically, scouts had to find their way by the stars or map, to notice tracks and interpret their meaning, and to fend for themselves.

Each generation struggles to keep Scouting relevant to the next.  We take what we are given, the heritage of outdoorsmanship and citizenship, and add leadership and technology and other skills for the future.  In a fixed sum system, each addition means a subtraction.  Have we given up more than we have gained?  Do we still remember how to find our way?

Then there’s this bit:

Boys and girls alike have been involved in the scouting movement from its earliest days; female scouts are often called guides. Today, coed scouting is the norm in many countries.

And this is relevant how?  Yeah, as politically correct posturing.  It’s not factually wrong, but damns with faint praise.  It’s just not relevant, thank you very much.

The last bit is enlightening as well:

To create this original design, illustrator Craig Frazier depicted the images of two different scouts in clothing and accessories that are often part of the outdoor scouting experience—hats, packs, boots, and binoculars. At first glance, one sees the large silhouette of a scout peering through binoculars. Within this figure is another scout perched atop a mountain taking in the vista. “I wanted a level of discovery to be portrayed in the stamp itself,” Frazier recalls. He continues, “The small figure and landscape indicate very hard, directional light coming from low on the horizon—either early morning or late afternoon. The sky has that pale blue to indigo transition that happens only at those two times of day.”

Whether or not we see ourselves as pathfinders first, the people behind this stamp see us that way.

And I’m OK with that.

H/T to Scouting News.  If you are a Scout or Scouter with an interest in philately, check out Stamp Collecting Merit Badge and Scouts on Stamps Society International.



One Response to “A Stamp to Celebrate Scouting”

  1. […] I do want to give a tip of the hat to the folks on BSA’s Centennial social media outreach team for getting the word out in multiple medias on this and other Centennial stories. […]

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