That famous Forest Witcraft quote first appeared in Scouting magazine

October-1950-Scouting-magazine-cover“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different, because I was important in the life of a boy.”

You’ve probably heard that powerful quote before. Or you’ve seen it — often attributed to “Anonymous” and usually misquoted (the last word changed to “child”) — on inspirational posters, wall art for sale on Amazon, or images posted on Pinterest or Facebook.

What you probably didn’t realize is that the quote first appeared in the pages of Scouting magazine as part of a longer, even more powerful piece.

And you probably didn’t know that its author, Forest Witcraft, was hardly Anonymous. He was a professional Scouter and onetime managing editor of Scouting magazine.

The quote in context

First, take a second to read Forest Witcraft’s entire essay, called “Within My Power.” I’ve included it below.

In the essay, Witcraft shows that even someone who is “not very important” and a “humble citizen” — words he uses to describe himself — can have tremendous impact on the life of a boy.

“If I can have some part in guiding them up the trail of Scouting, on to the high road of noble character and constructive citizenship, I may prove to be the most important man in their lives, the most important man in my community.”

Strong words indeed. Here’s the full essay, which first appeared on Page 2 of the October 1950 issue of Scouting magazine.


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Bryan on Scouting

Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the senior editor of Scouting and Eagles' Call magazines. You can read more of his posts at