B. J. “Red Dog” Maynard got his nickname playing nose guard for a south Texas high school football team. His nickname hints at the retired Army colonel’s tenacity. He served 37 years in the military, including during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Now 84, he recently published the 455-page “A Century of Scouting: The History of Boy Scouting in Manatee County.”
The book is a labor of love 10 years in the making.
“It’s a gift to all of us because it preserves the history of Manatee County,” Circuit Judge Gilbert A. Smith Jr., said. “Red Dog has been involved in scouting since 1971 and has never slowed down. He is an expert in training boys to become men.”
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In looking through the documents that trace scouting in Manatee County, Maynard found enough to fill six buildings at the Palmetto Historical Park.
“I got the idea of reducing all that information to a book and I mentioned it to Judge Smith who was our chairman at that time. Then for some reason I forgot all about it. A couple of years later the judge called me up one day and asked where I was on the book,” Maynard said, adding that Smith joked that he might have to issue a bench warrant if he didn’t finish the job.
The book was published in October, and includes an extensive history not only of of scouting, but of Manatee County as well.
The thing that I was most fascinated by was the fact that even while the Boy Scouts of America was being incorporated in the United States in 1910, there was a man in Manatee County forming a Boy Scout council.
B. J. “Red Dog” Maynard
“The thing that I was most fascinated by was the fact that even while the Boy Scouts of America was being incorporated in the United States in 1910, there was a man in Manatee County forming a Boy Scout council,” Maynard said.
At that time, Manatee County had a population of 4,487.
The first Manatee County scoutmaster was a young teacher named Charles Maus. He started with six ninth graders.
“That was someone who was looking forward. He saw the value of scouting,” Maynard said.
Many of Manatee's leaders over the years got their start as Boy Scouts. In his book, Maynard lists all 717 scouts who attained Eagle Scout rank between 1929 and 2015. The first was Warren Sawyer Saunders of Oneco in 1929. The most recent is Benjamin Price, who became an Eagle Scout this month. Less than 5 percent of Boy Scouts ever become Eagle Scouts.
“Camp Flying Eagle and Manatee County have grown up together. The camp has become an integral part of the amenities of this county,” Maynard said. “My goal was to tell a story made up of a lot of strands. Scouting is one of those strands.”
Cliff Walter, whose father was long involved with scouting in Manatee County, said the history of local scouting “is really the history of Manatee County.”
“A Century of Scouting” is Maynard’s third book. He has also written a history of Camp Flying Eagle on Upper Manatee River Road titled “Diamond of the Manatee” and a cookbook titled “If It’s Smoking, It’s Cooking and If It’s Black it’s Done.”
Maynard was drawn to write the books because of his love of scouting, and his background as a college history major.
Scouts help serve as caretakers of the values and freedoms in the U.S. Constitution, and to help pass along those values to the next generation of caretakers, he said.
“Our job in scouting is to help these boys grow and become men, men with good character, good citizenship training, men with good personal growth qualities,” Maynard said.
To purchase a copy of the book, call Jim Thielen, who assisted Maynard in publishing the book, at 941-776-9444. Price is $30. Red Dog’s cookbook sells for $20. All proceeds go to benefit scouting in Manatee County.