Skip to main content
We've detected that you're using an unsupported browser. You may experience issues using the OA website. Please visit our supported browsers page for more information.

Our History

Joseph Brunton

Profile - Joseph Brunton

Joseph A. Brunton, Jr. (June 26, 1902 – July 8, 1988) was an Arrowmen and a career professional for the Boy Scouts of America. He served as National Lodge Chief in the Order from 1938 to 1940 and in the BSA National Council as the fourth Chief Scout Executive from 1960 to 1966.

Joseph A. Brunton, Jr. was one of the charter members of Octoraro Lodge, West Chester, Pennsylvania in 1926. In 1936, at the meeting of the National Lodge, Brunton, serving as Scout Executive for East Boroughs Council, Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania was elected National Lodge Treasurer and then in 1938, at the age of 35, he was elected National Lodge Chief. Under his tenure as chief, the idea of area “fellowship” meetings was established. This would be the start of “sectional” meetings to be held in each area; what we know today as Section Conclaves.

Chief Brunton was instrumental in creating the OA Distinguished Service Award (DSA). In 1940, at the 25th Anniversary National Lodge Meeting, he presented the first DSA to E. Urner Goodman. He himself later received the Award in 1946.

Brunton became a professional Scouter at an early age, and served in several local council positions, including Council Scout Executive. He became a member of the BSA National Council in 1952 as Director of Church Relations. In 1957, he was promoted to National Council senior management. He was appointed by the BSA National Executive Board to become Chief Scout Executive in 1960. Brunton was the second National Chief to rise to the position of Chief Scout Executive; the man he succeeded, Arthur A. Schuck (Chief Scout Executive 1948-1960) had served as the second Grand Lodge Chieftain in 1922.

During Brunton’s tenure, youth membership continued to expand in both Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting. Various changes were made to the Exploring program, including a stronger emphasis on career exploration and post specialty programs, in order to retain teenage youth members and attract additional teens to the program.

Brunton was awarded the Bronze Wolf, by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting, in 1965. In 1966 he was awarded the Alpha Phi National Distinguished Service Award and in 1973 he received the Silver Buffalo Award.