Ernest Thompson Seton Print

Early Life


Ernest Thompson Seton was born in England, but his family immigrated to Canada in 1866.  Seton spent much of his boyhood in the Canadian forest near his home writing about animals and drawing pictures of them.  He was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy in London, and he later became a writer, artist, and naturalist. 


His Role in the Scout Movement


While living in Connecticut, he was vandalized by local youth and decided to handle the problem by inviting them into his home and telling them stories about Native Americans and his outdoor adventures.  


His stories were such a success, he later put them all together into a series of articles which first appeared in Ladies Home Journal, “The Birch Bark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians.”  He formed the Woodcraft Indians in 1902, a recreational and educational outdoor program incorporating outdoor survival skills and crafts.


He met Robert Baden-Powell, a founder of the Scout Movement, in 1906.  Baden-Powell read his work and was impressed by it.  They shared ideas and stories which helped lead to the further development of the Scout Movement.


Seton emphasized Scout choice-- with guidance but not interference from adults.  Each Scout had an equal vote.  Likewise, Seton was more interested in the Scouts working as a family than competing against each other.  He believed every Scout should be involved  and that more attention should be given to those Scouts who had not yet mastered an activity.  Rather than concentrating praise on a single “champion”, he believed all the Scouts could come together to help those individual Scouts who needed it most.


Today, the Scout Movement flourishes with millions of Scouts worldwide.  The Scout Programs of Adventure Scouts USA continue this tradition, incorporating many of Seton’s ideas.  Our Scouts choose, organize, and lead their own programs with supervision, but not interference, from adult Team Counselors. 


Our Scout Programs emphasize the importance of character, kindness, respect, strong friendships, as well as promoting strong families and strengthening family values.