Current Interest: Historic Meeting of Masons Held at National Scout Jamboree

Attendees at a special Masonic meeting at 2010 Jamboree

Photo: Attendees at a special meeting of Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4, Virginia, held at the Boy Scout National Jamboree, Ft. A. P. Hill, Virginia. (William J. Baumbach II)

The 2010 National Scout Jamboree held at Ft. A. P. Hill, Caroline County, Virginia, provided the backdrop for many historic opportunities for its participants, which included over 45,000 Boy Scouts, Scout leaders, and staff. Front and center was the 100th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Boy Scouts have long had many Masonic connections including BSA founder W. D. Boyce who was a Freemason. According to legend, Boyce was visiting London in 1909 when he became lost in the fog and was assisted by a Boy Scout. Boyce was so impressed with the Scout’s actions, that he founded the BSA in 1910.

The National Association of Masonic Scouters (NAMS, coordinated with historic Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 of Virginia, George Washington’s mother lodge, to host a tyled lodge meeting for those Masons in attendance at the Jamboree. All Masons wore a specially printed “100 Years of Scouting” apron featuring the date and place of the meeting and logo for NAMS and were given a Certificate of Attendance by Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4.

The officers of Fredericksburg Lodge opened the meeting on the Entered Apprentice Degree in fine fashion and the presentation of the American Flag and pledge of allegiance was led by a color guard from the National Sojourners dressed in American Revolutionary War regalia. What a moving moment to have hundreds of brethren reciting the pledge of allegiance together!

After opening the Lodge, introductions were made. In attendance were at least three Past Grand Masters, several past and present heads of Scottish Rite and York Rite bodies, and countless Masters and Past Masters of Lodges all across the United States.

In attendance was a special guest; the Grand Master of Virginia Masons, Most Worshipful Bro. William Earle Rorer Jr., who was received with Grand Masonic Honors. MW Rorer provided some remarks about the relationship between Masonry and Scouting. He presented a special plaque commemorating 100 years of Scouting that will hang in the area Scout Council’s office.

MW Rorer was later presented the Daniel Carter Beard award, recognizing his long significant contributions to both Scouting and Masonry. The Daniel Carter Beard award is administered by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania as a service to all Grand Lodges. Beard was one of the original founders of the BSA and was made a Mason in Mariners Lodge No. 67, New York City, and later affiliated with Cornucopia Lodge No. 563, Flushing, New York.

The temporary lodge room was filled with hundreds of Masons and Scouters, most of whom, were in full Scout uniform. As one brother commented at the meeting; “I have died and gone to heaven to be able to attend a meeting of this historic lodge [Fredericksburg No. 4], wearing a scout uniform in a room full of fellow Masons and Scouters. It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

Remembering that true Masonic virtue, charity, the Masons present took a special collection and donated over $1,000 to be given to an area Boy Scout Council for program support. The Lodge was closed shortly thereafter bringing a close to this historic meeting at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree on the 100th anniversary of Scouting. Afterwards MW Rorer invited in non-Masonic Scouts to hear his remarks on Masonry.

­—Submitted by Gregory J. Knott, 32°