Scouting is a worldwide youth movement of multiple organizations for both boys and girls whose aims are to develop young people physically, spiritually and mentally so that they may take a constructive place in society. This is achieved by emphasizing outdoor activities and youth leadership. Scouting started in England in 1907; today Scouting has more than 28 million members and exists in more than 216 countries and territories (all but six countries worldwide are involved in the Scouting movement). The American versions of the program are The Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts USA.
Jim Henson was a Cub Scout. As a child, the den meetings were held at his house, with his parents serving as Den leaders.
“[The den] got together at Jimmy's house where Betty Henson served them pecan pie and milk and told them about the moral obligations of the Cub Scouts. She taught them about the value of physical activities and fair play. The boys liked to meet at Jimmy's house for their den meetings because the Hensons were so friendly.”
Chapter four of the book Jim Henson: Young Puppeteer, entitled "Cub Scout Projects with Puppets", describes Henson's time as a Cub Scout in some detail. The book shares an extended story from Henson’s Scouting experience in which each of the Scouts in Henson's den was challenged to come up with, and carry out, a major project of his own invention. Henson, with the help of fellow Scout Gordon Jones, developed a distinctive comedy act. Jones told stories with his hands behind his back, while Henson, crouching behind Jones, supplied the latter's arm gestures by extending his own arms through his fellow Scout's armpits. The act was an instant success and showed Henson's early creative thinking, along with his tendencies to explore the boundaries of creative performing and puppetry techniques. Due to the response to Henson's hand act, the following year Henson was asked by the new Den leaders to help organize and lead the entire den in putting on a puppet show. Henson got the entire den involved in putting on the show, and many of his fellow Scouts say Henson "got his start working with puppets in Leland’s Cub Scouts". Although nobody recalls what the shows, which featured homemade puppets, were about, everyone remembers the games that Jim and the Scouts played when they had free time.
Richard Hunt was also involved in the Scouting movement; he was a Boy Scout while growing up in Closter, New Jersey. According to Jane Hunt, Richard would bring some of his puppets (which he'd bought with money earned through his after-school paper route) to Scout meetings and put on shows for the troop.
- A boy (played by Patrick Ostonic) dressed in full Cub Scout attire was featured with his mother in a La Choy commercial. The mother is pondering what to feed twelve hungry Cub Scouts.
- In The Muppet Show episode 306, Wayne and Uncle Deadly discover that they were both members of The Junior Swamp Scouts when they were youth. The two proceed to receite a Junior Swamp Scout pledge, much to the frustration of Miss Piggy.
- The Muppet Show introduced the Frog Scouts, an amphibian parody of the Boy Scouts.
- According to The Case of the Missing Mother, Fozzie was a Cub Scout and his mother was his Den Mother.
- A Girl Scout is seen in the opening musical number of The Great Muppet Caper helping Nicky Holiday cross the street when he poses as a blind man.
- On October 5, 2006, Kermit the Frog appeared as a guest on Martha (along with a group of Brownie Girl Scouts) to promote environmentally friendly actions. Kermit jested to Martha Stewart that when she told him she was going to have "brownies" on the show, he thought she meant something else.
- The Bear Scouts is a recurring Sesame Street scouting organization, whose members are not just limited to bears, such as Baby Bear. Elmo, Zoe, Telly Monster and Rosita have been shown as members. Papa Bear serves as a Scout leader in the organization. The organization has appeared in such episodes as episode 3269, episode 3778 and the home video, Love the Earth!
- In a sketch where Matt Lauer interviews Cookie Monster about his "new healthy diet", a person in the background is seen holding a sign: "Girl Scouts Support Cookie Monster", referencing Girl Scout Cookies.
- In the book The Colors of Spring, the Birds-of-a-Feather Club are trying to earn their Know-Your-Colors badges.
- Gary and Walter were members of the Junior Pioneers of America (JPA) Troop 274 in Smalltown, USA. The opening montage of The Muppets shows Gary showing his knot-tying skils and badge while Walter showcases his yoga skills and badge.
- A Sesame Street season 45 sketch portrays Prairie Dawn as a Sweetie Scout, participating in the annual cookie sale. Cookie Monster poses as a scout himself to help her make her uneven display equal. The sketch references two brands of Girl Scout Cookies, "Thick Mints" (Thin Mints) and "Diddle-E-Doos" (Do-Si-Dos).
- In 2005, Bucks County Council (which includes the area of Langhorne, PA) released a series of special council strip patches in honor of Sesame Place. The official BSA uniform insignia pieces were produced by the council for the National Jamboree. The patches feature such characters as Cookie Monster, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Bert Ernie, Big Bird and Grover.
The following individuals, in addition to their work with the Muppets/Henson, served as scouts.
- Buzz Aldrin, Boy Scout, Tenderfoot Scout
- Candice Bergen, Girl Scout
- David Bowie, Scout
- Jimmy Buffett, Boy Scout
- Barbara Bush, Girl Scout
- Laura Bush, Girl Scout
- Bill Clinton, Cub Scout
- Hillary Rodham Clinton, Girl Scout
- Billy Connolly, Scout
- Katie Couric, Girl Scout
- Walter Cronkite, Boy Scout
- Ken Dodd, Scout
- Henry Fonda, Boy Scout and Scoutmaster
- Gerald Ford, Boy Scout, Eagle Scout
- Michael J. Fox, Scout
- Lex Goudsmit, Scout
- William Hanna, Boy Scout, Eagle Scout
- Glenda Jackson, Girlguide UK
- Derek Jacobi, Scout
- Penn Jillette, Boy Scout
- Shari Lewis, Girl Scout
- Rich Little, Scout
- Rebecca Lobo, Girl Scout
- Susan Lucci, Girl Scout
- Mary Tyler Moore, Girl Scout
- Michael Parkinson, Scout
- Sally Ride, Girl Scout
- John Ritter, Boy Scout
- Richard Roundtree, Boy Scout
- Dick Smothers, Boy Scout, Star Scout
- Steven Spielberg, Boy Scout, Eagle Scout
- Martha Stewart, Girl Scout
- Barbara Walters, Girl Scout
- Norman Wisdom, Scout
- ↑ World Scout Bureau Statistics. October 2007.
Scouting is not present in Andorra, China, Cuba, North Korea, Laos, and Myanmar.
- ↑ Jim Henson: Young Puppeteer, page 49
- ↑ Jim Henson: Young Puppeteer, page 55
- ↑ The MuppetCast, ep. #57