The Offices of the Indian Nations Council of the Boy Scouts of America is located at 4295 S. Garnett Road. The new building was opened in January of 2004 and replaces an older building which was half the size. This houses a Scout Store, training facilities, and offices for paid staff.
Standing outside the entrance of the center is a casting of the 1937 life sized statue of an idealized boy scout. There are a number of these located in many different places. It has an interesting story.
The sculptor was Dr. R. Tait McKenzie. In 1914 at the request of Dr. Charles D. Hart, President of the then Philadelphia Council, Boy Scouts of America, McKenzie created a statuette of the “Ideal Boy Scout”. His model, selected in a competition of Scout parades, was 12 year old Asa Franklin Williamson Hooven. Ten bronze 18 inch-high statuette were cast and subscribed for at $100 each by the founders of Scouting.
Plaster, bronze and epoxy reproductions were also sold, beginning in 1916. Later smaller copies, suitable for desk ornaments, were made available and are now highly popular. In 1930 when then Philadelphia Council opened a new service center, it was hoped Dr. McKenzie would create a life size statue to stand before the new building. He obliged, not by reproducing the small figure but with a restudied one with many changes, including the new Scouting insignia.
Scout Douglas Shannon was the “Model in Chief” with Scout Joseph Straub in reserve, but several other Scouts also served as models for head, body, and various detailed studies. The statue was unveiled June 12, 1937, Dr. McKenzie making the presentation address. Today, many life-sized copies are exhibited throughout the United States and in other countries around the Scouting world.
(History of statue courtesy of the Northern Star Council of central Minnesota and western Wisconsin.)