On Nov. 11, 1919, 500 Boy Scouts in uniform served as greeters and runners during the first national convention of the American Legion in Minneapolis.

On Aug. 26, 2018, 100 Scouts and Scouters in uniform did pretty much the same at the American Legion’s 100th national convention, also in Minneapolis.

The two acts of Scouting service — nearly a century apart — symbolize the longstanding partnership between the BSA and this chartered organization that serves wartime veterans.

“Scouting is responsive to the marketplace, owned and operated by the families we serve, but some things do not change, even in a century,” says John Andrews, Scout Executive of the Minneapolis-based Northern Star Council. “How wonderful it is to have the American Legion as a Scouting partner for 100 years.”

Today, local American Legion posts charter more than 2,400 units, serving 63,000 youth and supported by 24,000 volunteers. Lee Shaw, who addressed the convention as the BSA’s director of National Alliances, said this support is felt in communities nationwide.

“We consider the American Legion a strong partner and we want to make sure we continue that,” Shaw told the convention.

For 2018, Andrews commissioned a replica of the “Official Scout” pins Scouts wore at the 1919 convention.

Rain plan

The threat of storms forced last month’s parade inside the Minneapolis Convention Center.

While that meant no motorized vehicles, it didn’t affect the Scouts’ plans. They marched in neat lines, waving flags and showing their support for the American Legion posts they represented.

Two of the troops — 283 and 33 — have met continuously for more than 100 years. Each troop had representatives at the 1919 convention who served as baggage carriers and helpers.

During the 2018 convention, Shaw took the opportunity to share details about the BSA’s move to welcome girls into the program.

This change, Shaw said, means the BSA will “provide an opportunity for girls and young women to share in some of the same benefits as boys have done for years in term of leadership development.”

Thanks to Geoff Forbes for the post idea.

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