Bright orange and blue banners spanked in the breeze above 50,000 excited Scouts. It was 1940, and all the wonders of New York City's World's Fair shimmered in the warm June sunshine. But it was Dan Beard, their founder and leader—spare, straight, with twinkling eyes for all his ninety years—that the Scouts had come to cheer!
In a way, Dan Beard's Scouts had really all started far back, in the days when Dan ranged the hills on the banks of the Ohio with his friends, Indian-style. Of course, there was the usual peck of trouble to get into and out of—like the time Dan carved huge footprints in the sand down near Licking River, and everybody in the whole of Covington, Kentucky, thought there was a giant loose in the hills. Or the time during the Civil War when Dan and the boys crossed over the Union lines to fish their favorite hole, only to run smack into the wrong end of a Confederate rifle.
Dan, too young to fight, worked at the field hospital in town. But as soon as the war was over, he impatiently finished school and set out on an adventurous journey that was to lead him from west to south and finally east to New York and a new career.
As illustrator, he worked with such great writers as Mark Twain. But Dan Beard was to make his greatest mark and his lasting contribution by helping to found and lead the Boy Scouts of America.
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