Need a hand, 'Bob-a-Job'

Baldwinsville's Troop 119 is raising funds for trip to England

This year is the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

The origins of scouting in the USA all began on one foggy night in London, England (1909), when an American businessman, William Boyce, was lost in the fog and was shown his way by an English Boy Scout who took no reward for this good deed. Boyce was so impressed by this and the principles of scouting that he brought the concept back to the USA. The BSA was founded February 1910.

In honor of the unknown scout, the scouts from Troop 119 (based at St. Mary's Church in Baldwinsville) will visit England in April 2011. To raise funds towards this trip, the scouts will use a modern version of a traditional English scout fundraiser, known as "Bob-a-Job week."

Roots of Bob-a-Job

Lord Baden Powell, founder of the Boy Scout movement, felt that scouts should not beg for donations to fund their troop, but rather earn the money they required by doing good deeds. In 1914, a number of troops began going out into their neighborhoods doing odd jobs to earn funds for their troops. By 1949, "Bob-a-Job" was the main fundraiser for all troops across the nation and remained so until 1999.

Why Bob-a-Job? A "Bob" was a slang term for a shilling (roughly equivalent to a dime) and in 1949, it was felt to be a fair price to pay for a job done. Later on, the fundraiser was renamed "Scout Job Week" as a Bob was no longer fair payment for any work done.

It was a common site during Eater break in England to see boy scouts and cub scouts up and down the country knocking on doors asking if any jobs needed doing. Although this is no longer the main fundraiser for English scouts, some units do continue with the tradition.

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