Boy Scouts movement begins

Boy Scouts movement begins

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On January 24, 1908, the Boy Scouts movement begins in England with the publication of the first installment of Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys. The name Baden-Powell was already well known to many English boys, and thousands of them eagerly bought up the handbook. By the end of April, the serialization of Scouting for Boys was completed, and scores of impromptu Boy Scout troops had sprung up across Britain.

In 1900, Baden-Powell became a national hero in Britain for his 217-day defense of Mafeking in the South African War. Soon after, Aids to Scouting, a military field manual he had written for British soldiers in 1899, caught on with a younger audience. Boys loved the lessons on tracking and observation and organized elaborate games using the book. Hearing this, Baden-Powell decided to write a nonmilitary field manual for adolescents that would also emphasize the importance of morality and good deeds.

First, however, he decided to try out some of his ideas on an actual group of boys. On July 25, 1907, he took a diverse group of 21 adolescents to Brownsea Island in Dorsetshire where they set up camp for a fortnight. With the aid of other instructors, he taught the boys about camping, observation, deduction, woodcraft, boating, lifesaving, patriotism, and chivalry. Many of these lessons were learned through inventive games that were very popular with the boys. The first Boy Scouts meeting was a great success.

With the success of Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell set up a central Boy Scouts office, which registered new Scouts and designed a uniform. By the end of 1908, there were 60,000 Boy Scouts, and troops began springing up in British Commonwealth countries across the globe. In September 1909, the first national Boy Scout meeting was held at the Crystal Palace in London. Ten thousand Scouts showed up, including a group of uniformed girls who called themselves the Girl Scouts. In 1910, Baden-Powell organized the Girl Guides as a separate organization.

The American version of the Boy Scouts has it origins in an event that occurred in London in 1909. Chicago publisher William Boyce was lost in the fog when a Boy Scout came to his aid. After guiding Boyce to his destination, the boy refused a tip, explaining that as a Boy Scout he would not accept payment for doing a good deed. This anonymous gesture inspired Boyce to organize several regional U.S. youth organizations, specifically the Woodcraft Indians and the Sons of Daniel Boone, into the Boy Scouts of America. Incorporated on February 8, 1910, the movement soon spread throughout the country. In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts of America in Savannah, Georgia.

In 1916, Baden-Powell organized the Wolf Cubs, which caught on as the Cub Scouts in the United States, for boys under the age of 11. Four years later, the first international Boy Scout Jamboree was held in London, and Baden-Powell was acclaimed Chief Scout of the world. He died in 1941.

The Scouting Movement

Scouts are young people who learn the values of life by spending time and doing things in groups. During the 20th century Boy Scouts and later Girl Scouts became a worldwide movement. Today there are over 32 million young adults registered in Scout groups around the world. Indonesia is the country with the most Scouts – over 17 million, the United States counts 7.5 million and India has 4 million active Scouts.

In 1906 Robert Baden-Powell, a lieutenant in the British army, had the idea of bringing boys together and showing them how to survive in the wilderness and gather information. He wrote a book which became very popular and inspired thousands of young people around the world. This book is regarded as the beginning of the Scout movement. The Boy Scout movement spread quickly to all areas of the British Empire. During the first decades of the 20th century it caught on to European countries and the United States.

Scouting originally focused on young boys aged 11 to 18, but it quickly became obvious that older and younger boys, as well as girls, became interested in the Scout movement. In 1910, a few years after the Boy Scouts were founded, a similar group for girls was formed in England. Today, Boy and Girl Scouts are separated in most places, however there are also countries that allow them to be together.

Scouts in Mexico - Photo by George Garrigues

Scouting is an educational system that teaches young adults practical activities outdoors. Members are expected to behave in a certain way. They must show trust, take on responsibility and develop good character. Scouts take an oath and promise to follow moral values. They are also trained in leadership. Scouts play games and undergo activities to learn this.

In many countries, Scouts are divided into sections by age. As young adults grow older they advance into the next group. Scout units are led by older Scouts or adults, such as parents and teachers.

Activities concentrate on outdoor games and sports. Scouts go camping, make things out of wood, go on hiking trips and do a lot of sport. During the summer holidays scouts spend time together in camps where they share experiences. During most of the year regular, weekly meetings also take place.

Scouts can be identified by their special uniforms, which should abolish the differences between social groups and make every person equal, regardless of their skin colour or social background. The uniforms include a cap and a scarf around their neck.

Many of the activities that scouts do are often criticized as being too militaristic. As time went on military ranks, badges and other ceremonies lost their importance.

Although the Scouting movements is based on the same principles around the world, there are many regional and local differences. American Scouts, for example, use symbols and pictures from the frontier movement of the 19th century, while in Britain, Scouting has been strongly influenced by ideas from colonial India.

It all started in Britain

The roots of the Boy Scouts goes back to 1908 in Great Britain. As tells us, Robert Baden-Powell, a hero of the South African War, published a military field manual called Aids to Scouting, which became popular among boys who found the idea of emulating soldiers tracking and observing the enemy great fun. Baden-Powell soon founded the Boy Scouts and recruited young boys into his military-flavored organization. It might have been a bit too military-flavored, actually — as BBC News reports, Baden-Powell held some pretty Nazi-sympathetic views and even held talks with the leader of the Hitler Youth in the 1930s. It makes sense — fascists love snazzy uniforms.

In 1910, though, no one had heard of Adolph Hitler. Public response to Baden-Powell's new group was very positive — as The Conversation notes, new child labor laws meant children couldn't be kept busy toiling away in factories any more, so scouting was seen as a way to keep them busy. An American businessman named William D. Boyce traveled to England and encountered a boy scout in London — legend has it the boy guided Boyce through a dense fog, but it's probably not true. However he came across the organization, The Washington Post tells us he took the idea (and a copy of the official handbook) back to America with him. He immediately founded the Boy Scouts of America based on Baden-Powell's ideas, combining some existing boys organizations under the new name.

Timeline: a brief history of the Boy Scouts of America

A statue of a Boy Scout stands in front of the National Scouting Museum, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, in Irving, Texas. The Boy Scouts of America announced it is considering a change to its policy of excluding gays as leaders and youth members. LM Otero, Associated Press

1907 – Scouting movement founded in England by British General Robert Baden-Powell.

1910 – Boy Scouts of America incorporated by W. D. Boyce.

1912 – Arthur R. Eldred of Troop 1 in Oceanside, N.Y., becomes the first Eagle Scout.

1913 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints adopts Scouting as the activity arm of its Mutual Improvement Association for young men, becoming the first religious group to sponsor Scouting as part of its ministry.

1916 – Boy Scouts of America receives a Congressional charter until Title 36 of the United States Code.

1918 – Rotary International becomes the first service club to sponsor Boy Scout troops.

1920 – The BSA sends Scouts to the first World Scout Jamboree in England.

1926 – The fist Silver Buffalo awards are presented for distinguished service to youth. Baden-Powell and Boyce are among the first recipients.

1930 – BSA begins registering the first Cub Scout packs for boys 8-11.

1934 – The Order of the Arrow becomes an official BSA program.

1936 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt cancels plans for the first National Scout Jamboree in Washington, D.C., because of a polio epidemic. The Jamboree is finally held a year later.

1940 – Irving Berlin establishes the God Bless America Foundation, donating all royalties from his most famous song to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

1950 – The Philmont Training Center is established to train adult Scout leaders.

1953 – The first Pinewood Derby is held by Cub Scouts in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

1959 – Exploring is established as a BSA program for older boys.

1966 – Walt Disney’s “Follow Me, Boys!” takes Scouting to the big screen.

1969 – Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong radios greetings from outer space to Scouts attending a National Jamboree on his way to become the first man to walk on the moon.

1984 – BSA adopts Varsity Scouting for boys 14-16.

1998 – BSA Exploring splits into two programs: Learning for Life and Venturing.

2000 – In “Boy Scouts of America v. Dale,” the Supreme Court of the United States rules that BSA and other private organizations have the right to set membership standards, including exclusions of gay Scouts and Scouters.

2002 – The National Scouting Museum opens in Irving, Texas.

2012 – An 11-person committee reaches “unanimous consensus” that continuing to exclude homosexuals from Scouting was in the best interest of Scouting.

Feb. 6, 2013 – The BSA National Executive Board delays its decision on whether or not to rescind the policy banning gay Scouts and Scouters until May.


Origins Edit

The trigger for the Scouting movement was the 1908 publication of Scouting for Boys written by Robert Baden-Powell. [1] [2] At Charterhouse, one of England's most famous public schools, Baden-Powell had an interest in the outdoors. [3] Later, as a military officer, Baden-Powell was stationed in British India in the 1880s where he took an interest in military scouting and in 1884 he published Reconnaissance and Scouting. [4]

In 1896, Baden-Powell was assigned to the Matabeleland region in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) as Chief of Staff to Gen. Frederick Carrington during the Second Matabele War. In June 1896 he met here and began a lifelong friendship with Frederick Russell Burnham, the American-born Chief of Scouts for the British Army in Africa. [5] [6] This was a formative experience for Baden-Powell not only because he had the time of his life commanding reconnaissance missions into enemy territory, but because many of his later Boy Scout ideas originated here. [7] During their joint scouting patrols into the Matobo Hills, Burnham augmented Baden-Powell's woodcraft skills, inspiring him and sowing seeds for both the programme and for the code of honour later published in Scouting for Boys. [8] [9] Practised by frontiersmen of the American Old West and indigenous peoples of the Americas, woodcraft was generally little known to the British Army but well known to the American scout Burnham. [5] These skills eventually formed the basis of what is now called scoutcraft, the fundamentals of Scouting. Both men recognised that wars in Africa were changing markedly and the British Army needed to adapt so during their joint scouting missions, Baden-Powell and Burnham discussed the concept of a broad training programme in woodcraft for young men, rich in exploration, tracking, fieldcraft, and self-reliance. [10] During this time in the Matobo Hills Baden-Powell first started to wear his signature campaign hat [11] like the one worn by Burnham, and acquired his kudu horn, the Ndebele war instrument he later used every morning at Brownsea Island to wake the first Boy Scouts and to call them together in training courses. [12] [13] [14]

Three years later, in South Africa during the Second Boer War, Baden-Powell was besieged in the small town of Mafikeng (Mafeking) by a much larger Boer army. [15] The Mafeking Cadet Corps was a group of youths that supported the troops by carrying messages, which freed the men for military duties and kept the boys occupied during the long siege. The Cadet Corps performed well, helping in the defence of the town (1899–1900), and were one of the many factors that inspired Baden-Powell to form the Scouting movement. [16] [17] [18] Each member received a badge that illustrated a combined compass point and spearhead. The badge's logo was similar to the fleur-de-lis shaped arrowhead that Scouting later adopted as its international symbol. [19] The siege of Mafeking was the first time since his own childhood that Baden-Powell, a regular serving soldier, had come into the same orbit as "civilians"—women and children—and discovered for himself the usefulness of well-trained boys.

In the United Kingdom, the public, through newspapers, followed Baden-Powell's struggle to hold Mafeking, and when the siege was broken he had become a national hero. This rise to fame fuelled the sales of the small instruction book he had written in 1899 about military scouting and wilderness survival, Aids to Scouting, [20] that owed much to what he had learned from discussions with Burnham. [21]

On his return to England, Baden-Powell noticed that boys showed considerable interest in Aids to Scouting, which was unexpectedly used by teachers and youth organizations as their first Scouting handbook. [21] He was urged to rewrite this book for boys, especially during an inspection of the Boys' Brigade, a large youth movement drilled with military precision. Baden-Powell thought this would not be attractive and suggested that the Boys' Brigade could grow much larger were Scouting to be used. [22] He studied other schemes, parts of which he used for Scouting.

In July 1906 Ernest Thompson Seton sent Baden-Powell a copy of his 1902 book The Birchbark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians. [23] Seton, a British-born Canadian-American living in the United States, met Baden-Powell in October 1906, and they shared ideas about youth training programs. [24] [25] In 1907 Baden-Powell wrote a draft called Boy Patrols. In the same year, to test his ideas, he gathered 21 boys of mixed social backgrounds (from boy's schools in the London area and a section of boys from the Poole, Parkstone, Hamworthy, Bournemouth, and Winton Boys' Brigade units) and held a week-long camp in August on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, Dorset. [26] His organizational method, now known as the Patrol System and a key part of Scouting training, allowed the boys to organize themselves into small groups with an elected patrol leader. [27]

In late 1907, Baden-Powell went on an extensive speaking tour arranged by his publisher, Arthur Pearson, to promote his forthcoming book, Scouting for Boys. He had not simply rewritten his Aids to Scouting he omitted the military aspects and transferred the techniques (mainly survival skills) to non-military heroes: backwoodsmen, explorers (and later on, sailors and airmen). [28] He also added innovative educational principles (the Scout method) by which he extended the attractive game to a personal mental education. [25]

At the beginning of 1908, Baden-Powell published Scouting for Boys in six fortnightly parts, setting out activities and programmes which existing youth organisations could use. [29] The reaction was phenomenal, and quite unexpected. In a very short time, Scout Patrols were created up and down the country, all following the principles of Baden-Powell's book. In 1909, the first Scout Rally was held at Crystal Palace in London, to which 11,000 Scouts came—and some girls dressed as Scouts and calling themselves "Girl Scouts". Baden-Powell retired from the Army and, in 1910, he formed The Boy Scouts Association, and later The Girl Guides. By the time of The Boy Scouts Association's first census in 1910, it had over 100,000 Scouts. [29]

Scouting for Boys was published in England later in 1908 in book form. The book is now the fourth-bestselling title of all time, [30] and was the basis for the later American version of the Boy Scout Handbook. [31]

At the time, Baden-Powell intended that the scheme would be used by established organizations, in particular the Boys' Brigade, from the founder William A. Smith. [32] However, because of the popularity of his person and the adventurous outdoor games he wrote about, boys spontaneously formed Scout patrols and flooded Baden-Powell with requests for assistance. He encouraged them, and the Scouting movement developed momentum. In 1910 Baden-Powell formed The Boy Scouts Association in the United Kingdom. As the movement grew, Sea Scouts, Air Scouts, and other specialized units were added to the program. [33] [34]

The original Scout law Edit

The scouts law is for boys, as follows

  • A Scout's honour is to be trusted – This means the scout will try as best as he can to do what he promised, or what is asked of him
  • A Scout is loyal – to his king or queen, his leaders and his country.
  • A Scout's duty is to be useful, and to help others
  • A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout – Scouts help one another, regardless of the differences in status or social class.
  • A Scout is courteous – He is polite and helpful to all, especially women, children and the elderly. He does not take anything for being helpful.
  • A Scout is a friend to animals – He does not make them suffer or kill them without need to do so.
  • A Scout obeys orders – Even the ones he does not like.
  • A Scout smiles and whistles
  • A Scout is thrifty – he avoids unnecessary spending of money.
  • A Scout is clean in thought, word and deed (added later)

The promise of 1908 Edit

In his original book on boy scouting, General Baden-Powell introduced the Scout promise, as follows: [35]

"Before he becomes a scout, a boy must take the scout's oath, thus:

  1. I will do my duty to God and the King.
  2. I will do my best to help others, whatever it costs me.
  3. I know the scout law, and will obey it.'

While taking this oath the scout will stand, holding his right hand raised level with his shoulder, palm to the front, thumb resting on the nail of the little finger and the other three fingers upright, pointing upwards:—

This is the scout's salute and secret sign."

Movement Edit

The Boy Scout Movement swiftly established itself throughout the British Empire soon after the publication of Scouting for Boys. By 1908, Scouting was established in Gibraltar, Malta, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaya (YMCA Experimental Troop in Penang) and South Africa. In 1909 Chile was the first country outside the British dominions to have a Scouting organization recognized by Baden-Powell. The first Scout rally, held in 1909 at the Crystal Palace in London, attracted 10,000 boys and a number of girls. By 1910, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States had Boy Scouts. [36] [37]

The program initially focused on boys aged 11 to 18, but as the movement grew the need became apparent for leader training and programs for younger boys, older boys, and girls. The first Cub Scout and Rover Scout programs were in place by the late 1910s. They operated independently until they obtained official recognition from their home country's Scouting organization. In the United States, attempts at Cub programs began as early as 1911, but official recognition was not obtained until 1930. [37] [38] [39]

Girls wanted to become part of the movement almost as soon as it began. Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes Baden-Powell introduced the Girl Guides in 1910, a parallel movement for girls, sometimes named Girl Scouts. Agnes Baden-Powell became the first president of the Girl Guides when it was formed in 1910, at the request of the girls who attended the Crystal Palace Rally. In 1914, she started Rosebuds—later renamed Brownies—for younger girls. She stepped down as president of the Girl Guides in 1920 in favor of Robert's wife Olave Baden-Powell, who was named Chief Guide (for England) in 1918 and World Chief Guide in 1930. At that time, girls were expected to remain separate from boys because of societal standards, though co-educational youth groups did exist. By the 1990s, two-thirds of the Scout organizations belonging to WOSM had become co-educational. [40]

Baden-Powell could not single-handedly advise all groups who requested his assistance. Early Scoutmaster training camps were held in London and Yorkshire in 1910 and 1911. Baden-Powell wanted the training to be as practical as possible to encourage other adults to take leadership roles, so the Wood Badge course was developed to recognize adult leadership training. The development of the training was delayed by World War I, and the first Wood Badge course was not held until 1919. [41] Wood Badge is used by Boy Scout associations and combined Boy Scout and Girl Guide associations in many countries. Gilwell Park near London was purchased in 1919 on behalf of The Scout Association as an adult training site and Scouting campsite. [42] Baden-Powell wrote a book, Aids to Scoutmastership, to help Scouting Leaders, and wrote other handbooks for the use of the new Scouting sections, such as Cub Scouts and Girl Guides. One of these was Rovering to Success, written for Rover Scouts in 1922. A wide range of leader training exists in 2007, from basic to program-specific, including the Wood Badge training.

Influences Edit

Important elements of traditional Scouting have their origins in Baden-Powell's experiences in education and military training. He was a 50-year-old retired army general when he founded Scouting, and his revolutionary ideas inspired thousands of young people, from all parts of society, to get involved in activities that most had never contemplated. Comparable organizations in the English-speaking world are the Boys' Brigade and the non-militaristic Woodcraft Folk however, they never matched the development and growth of Scouting. [43]

Aspects of Scouting practice have been criticized as too militaristic. [44]

Local influences have also been a strong part of Scouting. By adopting and modifying local ideologies, Scouting has been able to find acceptance in a wide variety of cultures. In the United States, Scouting uses images drawn from the U.S. frontier experience. This includes not only its selection of animal badges for Cub Scouts, but the underlying assumption that American native peoples are more closely connected with nature and therefore have special wilderness survival skills which can be used as part of the training program. By contrast, British Scouting makes use of imagery drawn from the Indian subcontinent, because that region was a significant focus in the early years of Scouting. Baden-Powell's personal experiences in India led him to adopt Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book as a major influence for the Cub Scouts for example, the name used for the Cub Scout leader, Akela (whose name was also appropriated for the Webelos), is that of the leader of the wolf pack in the book. [45]

The name "Scouting" seems to have been inspired by the important and romantic role played by military scouts performing reconnaissance in the wars of the time. In fact, Baden-Powell wrote his original military training book, Aids To Scouting, because he saw the need for the improved training of British military-enlisted scouts, particularly in initiative, self-reliance, and observational skills. The book's popularity with young boys surprised him. As he adapted the book as Scouting for Boys, it seems natural that the movement adopted the names Scouting and Boy Scouts. [46]

"Duty to God" is a principle of Scouting, though it is applied differently in various countries. [47] [48] The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) take a strong position, excluding atheists. [49] The Scout Association in the United Kingdom permits variations to its Promise, in order to accommodate different religious obligations. [50] While for example in the predominantly atheist Czech Republic the Scout oath doesn't mention God altogether with the organization being strictly irreligious, [51] in 2014, United Kingdom Scouts were given the choice of being able to make a variation of the Promise that replaced "duty to God" with "uphold our Scout values", [52] Scouts Canada defines Duty to God broadly in terms of "adherence to spiritual principles" and leaves it to the individual member or leader whether they can follow a Scout Promise that includes Duty to God. [53] Worldwide, roughly one in three Scouts are Muslim. [54]

Scouting is taught using the Scout method, which incorporates an informal educational system that emphasizes practical activities in the outdoors. Programs exist for Scouts ranging in age from 6 to 25 (though age limits vary slightly by country), and program specifics target Scouts in a manner appropriate to their age. [55] [56]

Scout method Edit

The Scout method is the principal method by which the Scouting organizations, boy and girl, operate their units. WOSM describes Scouting as "a voluntary nonpolitical educational movement for young people open to all without distinction of origin, race or creed, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by the Founder". [55] It is the goal of Scouting "to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities." [55]

The principles of Scouting describe a code of behavior for all members, and characterize the movement. The Scout method is a progressive system designed to achieve these goals, comprising seven elements: law and promise, learning by doing, team system, symbolic framework, personal progression, nature, and adult support. [57] While community service is a major element of both the WOSM and WAGGGS programs, WAGGGS includes it as an extra element of the Scout method: service in the community. [58]

The Scout Law and Promise embody the joint values of the Scouting movement worldwide, and bind all Scouting associations together. The emphasis on "learning by doing" provides experiences and hands-on orientation as a practical method of learning and building self-confidence. Small groups build unity, camaraderie, and a close-knit fraternal atmosphere. These experiences, along with an emphasis on trustworthiness and personal honor, help to develop responsibility, character, self-reliance, self-confidence, reliability, and readiness which eventually lead to collaboration and leadership. A program with a variety of progressive and attractive activities expands a Scout's horizon and bonds the Scout even more to the group. Activities and games provide an enjoyable way to develop skills such as dexterity. In an outdoor setting, they also provide contact with the natural environment. [56]

Since the birth of Scouting, Scouts worldwide have taken a Scout Promise to live up to ideals of the movement, and subscribe to the Scout Law. The form of the promise and laws have varied slightly by country and over time, but must fulfil the requirements of the WOSM to qualify a National Scout Association for membership. [55]

The Scout Motto, 'Be Prepared', has been used in various languages by millions of Scouts since 1907. Less well-known is the Scout Slogan, 'Do a good turn daily'. [59]

Activities Edit

Common ways to implement the Scout method include having Scouts spending time together in small groups with shared experiences, rituals, and activities, and emphasizing 'good citizenship' [60] and decision-making by young people in an age-appropriate manner. Weekly meetings often take place in local centres known as Scout dens. Cultivating a love and appreciation of the outdoors and outdoor activities is a key element. Primary activities include camping, woodcraft, aquatics, hiking, backpacking, and sports. [61] [62]

Camping is most often arranged at the unit level, such as one Scout troop, but there are periodic camps (known in the US as "camporees") and "jamborees". Camps occur a few times a year and may involve several groups from a local area or region camping together for a weekend. The events usually have a theme, such as pioneering. World Scout Moots are gatherings, originally for Rover Scouts, but mainly focused on Scout Leaders. Jamborees are large national or international events held every four years, during which thousands of Scouts camp together for one or two weeks. Activities at these events will include games, Scoutcraft competitions, badge, pin or patch trading, aquatics, woodcarving, archery and activities related to the theme of the event. [63]

In some countries a highlight of the year for Scouts is spending at least a week in the summer engaging in an outdoor activity. This can be a camping, hiking, sailing, or other trip with the unit, or a summer camp with broader participation (at the council, state, or provincial level). Scouts attending a summer camp work on Scout badges, advancement, and perfecting Scoutcraft skills. Summer camps can operate specialty programs for older Scouts, such as sailing, backpacking, canoeing and whitewater, caving, and fishing. [64] [65]

At an international level Scouting perceives one of its roles as the promotion of international harmony and peace. [66] Various initiatives are in train towards achieving this aim including the development of activities that benefit the wider community, challenge prejudice and encourage tolerance of diversity. Such programs include co-operation with non-Scouting organisations including various NGOs, the United Nations and religious institutions as set out in The Marrakech Charter. [67]

Uniforms and distinctive insignia Edit

The Scout uniform is a widely recognized characteristic of Scouting. In the words of Baden-Powell at the 1937 World Jamboree, it "hides all differences of social standing in a country and makes for equality but, more important still, it covers differences of country and race and creed, and makes all feel that they are members with one another of the one great brotherhood". [68] The original uniform, still widely recognized, consisted of a khaki button-up shirt, shorts, and a broad-brimmed campaign hat. Baden-Powell also wore shorts, because he believed that being dressed like a Scout helped to reduce the age-imposed distance between adult and youth. Uniform shirts are now frequently blue, orange, red or green and shorts are frequently replaced by long trousers all year or only under cold weather.

While designed for smartness and equality, the Scout uniform is also practical. Shirts traditionally have thick seams to make them ideal for use in makeshift stretchers—Scouts were trained to use them in this way with their staves, a traditional but deprecated item. The leather straps and toggles of the campaign hats or Leaders' Wood Badges could be used as emergency tourniquets, or anywhere that string was needed in a hurry. Neckerchiefs were chosen as they could easily be used as a sling or triangular bandage by a Scout in need. Scouts were encouraged to use their garters for shock cord where necessary. [68]

Distinctive insignia for all are Scout uniforms, recognized and worn the world over, include the Wood Badge and the World Membership Badge. Scouting has two internationally known symbols: the trefoil is used by members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and the fleur-de-lis by member organizations of the WOSM and most other Scouting organizations. [69] [70]

The swastika was used as an early symbol by the Boy Scouts Association of the United Kingdom and others. Its earliest use in Scouting was on the Thanks Badge introduced in 1911. [71] Lord Baden-Powell's 1922 design for the Medal of Merit added a swastika to the Scout Arrowhead to symbolize good luck for the recipient. In 1934, Scouters requested a change to the design because of the connection of the swastika with its more recent use by the German National Socialist Workers (Nazi) Party. A new Medal of Merit was issued by the Boy Scouts Association in 1935. [71]

Scouting and Guiding movements are generally divided into sections by age or school grade, allowing activities to be tailored to the maturity of the group's members. These age divisions have varied over time as they adapt to the local culture and environment. [72]

Scouting was originally developed for adolescents—youths between the ages of 11 and 17. In most member organizations, this age group composes the Scout or Guide section. Programs were developed to meet the needs of young children (generally ages 6 to 10) and young adults (originally 18 and older, and later up to 25). Scouts and Guides were later split into "junior" and "senior" sections in many member organizations, and some organizations dropped the young adults' section. The exact age ranges for programs vary by country and association. [73] [74] [75]

The traditional age groups as they were between 1920 and 1940 in most organizations:
Age range Boys section Girls section
8 to 10 Wolf Cubs Brownie Guide
11 to 17 Boy Scout Girl Guide or Girl Scout
18 and up Rover Scout Ranger Guide

The national programs for younger children include Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Brownies, Daisies, Rainbow Guides, Beaver Scouts, Joey Scouts, Keas, and Teddies. Programs for post-adolescents and young adults include the Senior Section, [76] Rover Scouts, Senior Scouts, Venture Scouts, Explorer Scouts, and the Scout Network. Many organizations also have a program for members with special needs. This is usually known as Extension Scouting, but sometimes has other names, such as Scoutlink. The Scout Method has been adapted to specific programs such as Air Scouts, Sea Scouts, Rider Guides and Scoutingbands . [77]

In many countries, Scouting is organized into neighborhood Scout Groups, or Districts, which contain one or more sections. Under the umbrella of the Scout Group, sections are divided according to age, each having their own terminology and leadership structure. [78]

Adults interested in Scouting or Guiding, including former Scouts and Guides, often join organizations such as the International Scout and Guide Fellowship. In the United States and the Philippines, university students might join the co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. In the United Kingdom, university students might join the Student Scout and Guide Organisation, and after graduation, the Scout and Guide Graduate Association.

Scout units are usually operated by adult volunteers, such as parents and carers, former Scouts, students, and community leaders, including teachers and religious leaders. Scout Leadership positions are often divided into 'uniform' and 'lay' positions. Uniformed leaders have received formal training, such as the Wood Badge, and have received a warrant for a rank within the organization. Lay members commonly hold part-time roles such as meeting helpers, committee members and advisors, though there are a small number of full-time lay professionals. [79]

A unit has uniformed positions—such as the Scoutmaster and assistants—whose titles vary among countries. In some countries, units are supported by lay members, who range from acting as meeting helpers to being members of the unit's committee. In some Scout associations, the committee members may also wear uniforms and be registered Scout leaders. [80]

Above the unit are further uniformed positions, called Commissioners, at levels such as district, county, council or province, depending on the structure of the national organization. Commissioners work with lay teams and professionals. Training teams and related functions are often formed at these levels. In the UK and in other countries, the national Scout organization appoints the Chief Scout, the most senior uniformed member. [81] [82] [83]

Following its foundation in the United Kingdom, Scouting spread around the globe. The first association outside the British Empire was founded in Chile on May 21, 1909 after a visit by Baden Powell. [84] In most countries of the world, there is now at least one Scouting (or Guiding) organization. Each is independent, but international cooperation continues to be seen as part of the Scout Movement. In 1922 the WOSM started as the governing body on policy for the national Scouting organizations (then male only). In addition to being the governing policy body, it organizes the World Scout Jamboree every four years. [85]

In 1928 the WAGGGS started as the equivalent to WOSM for the then female-only national Scouting/Guiding organizations. It is also responsible for its four international centres: Our Cabaña in Mexico, Our Chalet in Switzerland, Pax Lodge in the United Kingdom, and Sangam in India. [86]

Today at the international level, the two largest umbrella organizations are:

    (WOSM), for boys-only and co-educational organizations. (WAGGGS), primarily for girls-only organizations but also accepting co-educational organizations.

Co-educational Edit

There have been different approaches to co-educational Scouting. Some countries have maintained separate Scouting organizations for boys and girls, [87] In other countries, especially within Europe, Scouting and Guiding have merged, and there is a single organization for boys and girls, which is a member of both the WOSM and the WAGGGS. [88] [89] The United States-based Boy Scouts of America permitted girls to join in early 2018. [90] In others, such as Australia and the United Kingdom, the national Scout association has opted to admit both boys and girls, but is only a member of the WOSM, while the national Guide association has remained as a separate movement and member of the WAGGGS. In some countries like Greece, Slovenia and Spain there are separate associations of Scouts (members of WOSM) and guides (members of WAGGGS), both admitting boys and girls. [91]

The Scout Association in the United Kingdom has been co-educational at all levels since 1991, and this was optional for groups until the year 2000 when new sections were required to accept girls. The Scout Association transitioned all Scout groups and sections across the UK to become co-educational by January 2007, the year of Scouting's centenary. [92] The traditional Baden-Powell Scouts' Association has been co-educational since its formation in 1970.

In the United States, the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs of the BSA were for boys only until 2018 it has changed its policies and is now inviting girls to join, as local packs organize all-girl dens (same uniform, same book, same activities). For youths age 14 and older, Venturing has been co-educational since the 1930s. The Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is an independent organization for girls and young women only. Adult leadership positions in the BSA and GSUSA are open to both men and women. [93] [94]

In 2006, of the 155 WOSM member National Scout Organizations (representing 155 countries), 122 belonged only to WOSM, and 34 belonged to both WOSM and WAGGGS. Of the 122 which belonged only to WOSM, 95 were open to boys and girls in some or all program sections, and 20 were only for boys. All 34 that belonged to both WOSM and WAGGGS were open to boys and girls. [95]

WAGGGS had 144 Member Organizations in 2007 and 110 of them belonged only to WAGGGS. Of these 110, 17 were coeducational and 93 admitted only girls. [96] [97] [98]

Membership Edit

As of 2019, there are over 50 million registered Scouts [99] and as of 2006 10 million registered Guides [100] around the world, from 216 countries and territories.

Top 20 countries with Scouting and Guiding, sorted by total male and female membership of all organisations. [n.b. 1] [40] [101] [102]
Country Membership [99] [100] Population
Indonesia 17,100,000 7.2% 1912 1912
United States 7,500,000 2.4% 1910 1912
India 4,150,000 0.3% 1909 1911
Philippines 2,150,000 2.2% 1910 1918
Thailand 1,300,000 1.9% 1911 1957
Bangladesh 1,050,000 0.7% 1914 1928
United Kingdom 1,000,000 1.6% 1907 1909
Pakistan 575,000 0.3% 1909 1911
Kenya 480,000 1.1% 1910 1920
South Korea 270,000 0.5% 1922 1946
Germany [n.b. 2] 250,000 0.3% 1910 1912
Uganda 230,000 0.6% 1915 1914
Italy [n.b. 3] 220,000 0.4% 1910 1912
Canada 220,000 0.7% 1908 1910
Japan 200,000 0.2% 1913 1919
France [n.b. 4] 200,000 0.3% 1910 1911
Belgium [n.b. 5] 170,000 1.5% 1911 1915
Poland [n.b. 6] 160,000 0.4% 1910 1910
Nigeria 160,000 0.1% 1915 1919
Hong Kong 160,000 2.3% 1914 1916

  1. ^ Full tables on List of World Organization of the Scout Movement members and List of World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts members.
  2. ^ Including 90,000 non-aligned Scouts and Guides, see Scouting in Germany
  3. ^ Including 30,000 non-aligned Scouts and Guides, see Scouting in Italy
  4. ^ Including 60,000 non-aligned Scouts and Guides, see Scouting in France
  5. ^ Including 5,000 non-aligned Scouts and Guides, see Scouting in Belgium
  6. ^ Including 20,000 non-aligned Scouts and Guides, see Scouting in Poland

Nonaligned and Scout-like organizations Edit

Fifteen years passed between the first publication of Scouting for Boys and the creation of the current largest supranational Scout organization, WOSM, and millions of copies had been sold in dozens of languages. By that point, Scouting was the purview of the world's youth, and several Scout associations had already formed in many countries. [103] [104]

Alternative groups have formed since the original formation of the Scouting "Boy Patrols". They can be a result of groups or individuals who maintain that the WOSM and WAGGGS are more political and less youth-based than envisioned by Lord Baden-Powell. They believe that Scouting in general has moved away from its original intent because of political machinations that happen to longstanding organizations, and want to return to the earliest, simplest methods. [105] [106] Others do not want to follow all the original ideals of Scouting but still desire to participate in Scout-like activities. [107]

In 2008, there were at least 539 independent Scouting organizations around the world, [97] 367 of them were a member of either WAGGGS or WOSM. About half of the remaining 172 Scouting organizations are only local or national oriented. About 90 national or regional Scouting associations have created their own international Scouting organizations. Those are served by five international Scouting organizations: [97]

    – the first international Scouting organisation, founded in 1911. , an independent faith-based Scouting organization founded in 1956. , established in 1978. , formed in Laubach, Germany, in 1996. , mostly South-American, founded in 2010.

Some Scout-like organizations are also served by international organizations, many with religious elements, for example:

After the inception of Scouting in the early 1900s, some nations' programs have taken part in social movements such as the nationalist resistance movements in India. Although Scouting was introduced to Africa by British officials as a way to strengthen their rule, the values they based Scouting on helped to challenge the legitimacy of British imperialism. Likewise, African Scouts used the Scout Law's principle that a Scout is a brother to all other Scouts to collectively claim full imperial citizenship. [108] [109]

A study has found a strong link between participating in Scouting and Guiding as a young person, and having significantly better mental health. [110] The data, from almost 10,000 individuals, came from a lifelong UK-wide study of people born in November 1958, known as the National Child Development Study.

In the United Kingdom, The Scout Association had been criticised for its insistence on the use of a religious promise, [111] leading the organization to introduce an alternative in January 2014 for those not wanting to mention a god in their promise. This change made the organisation entirely non-discriminatory on the grounds of race, gender, sexuality, and religion (or lack thereof). [112]

The Boy Scouts of America was the focus of criticism in the United States for not allowing the open participation of homosexuals until removing the prohibition in 2013. [113]

Authoritarian communist regimes such as the Soviet Union in 1920 [114] and fascist regimes like Nazi Germany in 1934 [115] often either absorbed the Scout movement into government-controlled organizations, or banned Scouting entirely.

Scouting has been a facet of culture during most of the twentieth century in many countries numerous films and artwork focus on the subject. [116] Movie critic Roger Ebert mentioned the scene in which the young Boy Scout, Indiana Jones, discovers the Cross of Coronado in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as "when he discovers his life mission". [117]

The works of painters Ernest Stafford Carlos, Norman Rockwell, Pierre Joubert and Joseph Csatari and the 1966 film Follow Me, Boys! are prime examples of this ethos. Scouting is often dealt with in a humorous manner, as in the 1989 film Troop Beverly Hills, the 2005 film Down and Derby, and the film Scout Camp [1]. In 1980, Scottish singer and songwriter Gerry Rafferty recorded I was a Boy Scout as part of his Snakes and Ladders album. [118]

People, Locations, Episodes

The Scout Oath: "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law To help other people at all times To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."

This date celebrates the founding of America’s first "Negro Boy Scout" troop in 1911. Initially started in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, the opposition was encountered immediately, but troops continued to meet in increasing numbers. In 1916, the first official Boy Scout Council-promoted Negro Troop 75 began in Louisville, KY. By the next year, there were four official black troops in the area. By 1926, there were 248 all-black troops, with 4,923 black scouts, and within ten years, there was only one Council in the entire South that refused to accept any Black troops.

During this time as more troops started up, the Inter-racial Committee was established in January of 1927, with Stanley Harris as its leader. Also as part of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), Inter-racial Service was "Program Outreach," a program that combined racial minorities with rural, poor, and handicapped boys. These programs were often ineffective, especially with immigrants who feared the BSA as a means to recruit for the Army. Another problem with Program Outreach was that it often didn't distinguish between the boys it viewed as "less chance" and those who were simply not white.

For example, the program's reports categorize some scouts as “Feeble-minded, Delinquency Areas, Orphanages, and Settlements." Many of the scouts in "Delinquent Areas" were blacks, who were measured as "Special Troops." Instead of embracing black Scouting, the BSA systematically categorized blacks, bringing a literal meaning to "racial handicap" as the color of their skin was why they were considered "special."

Scouting for minorities wasn't just confined to cities, Scouting in rural areas was also common. One of these programs was called "railroad scouting," where employees of the BSA would ride trains throughout the rural South, stopping at every town on the way to distribute information and encourage the formation of troops. This policy originated to cut down on railroad vandalism, and the BSA realized it was a great way to promote its organization. Native Americans were also a large portion of the minority Scouts and lived in settlements in rural areas. With the help of these programs, the two Southern Regions, Region V in Memphis and Region VI in Atlanta, had growth rates of 28.2% and 47.9%, respectively. In 1937, 57.9% of black Scouts were from these two regions.

By the 1960s, with the industrialization of the South, the BSA shifted more towards urban expansion and improvement. In 1961, the Inter-Racial Service turned into the Urban Relationship Service and added inner-city children of all races. William Murray, author of "History of the Boy Scouts," wrote, "Negro lads in the South and in the northern industrial centers were somewhat out of the stream of American boy life and needed special aid." The Inner-City Rural Program was also developed to expose rural Scouts to the city and vice versa but was small in scope. Programs targeting gangs were unexpectedly successful, and in many cities, as many as 25% of boys living in housing projects were enrolled in the Scouts, many former gang members.

In the South, with the "separate but equal" mindset of the times, black troops were not treated equally. They were often not allowed to wear scout uniforms and had far smaller budgets and insufficient facilities to work with. The BSA on a national level was often defensive about its stance on segregation. "The Boy Scouts of America never drew the color line, but the movement stayed in step with the prevailing mores." Even so, there was only one integrated troop before 1954 in the Deep South compared to the frequent occurrence of integration in the North. Also, the Scouts in the South did not support social agencies that were allies of the BSA. The YMCA was historically one of the BSA's strongest supporters, but in Richmond, Virginia, blacks were not allowed to use the Y's facilities to earn merit badges, specifically for swimming.

While nationally the BSA has a large endowment (approximately $2.6 billion), local councils had to raise money on their own. BSA is a non-profit organization, and if local councils had pushed for integrated troops, it would not have gone over well with the general public and it would have made raising money difficult. It would have also been dangerous because the Ku Klux Klan had strongly denounced the Scouts for even having segregated black troops. They claimed the BSA was a puppet of the Catholic Church, and it was not unheard of for Scout Jamborees and rallies to be broken up, often violently, by the Ku Klux Klan.

After the Civil Rights Act, slowly, troops began to integrate throughout the nation, even in the South. Currently, several troops remain all black. After integration, many segregated black organizations, especially churches, remained segregated, not by law but by choice. It provided a heightened sense of community and unity that complemented their internal needs. If they made it this far under such extreme oppression, why should they happily submit themselves to white churches and social clubs? Since these organizations sponsored such a large number of Scout troops, many remained all-black by choice. In 1974, after 53 years of segregation, the Old Hickory Council (North Carolina) and BSA councils throughout the South, started to integrate troops.

As an organization dedicated to developing morally strong and virtuous men out of boys, the BSA stresses the importance of understanding what it means to be a Scout. When applying for the Eagle Scout Award, the highest rank in Scouting, applicants must submit an essay along with documentation of their earned merit badges. In the essays, Scouts are asked, "In your own words, describe what it would mean to you to become an Eagle Scout." Essay lengths differ greatly, from one sentence to four handwritten pages. Generally, Eagle Award applicants write about what it has meant to work several years to receive this award, and what they plan on doing after they receive it.

In the responses immediately the following integration, different values, and goals emerged based on race and oppression. One young man says, "When applying for a job or trying to enter college being an Eagle Scout is a great advantage." "Being white in Winston-Salem, opportunities to go to college and to get a good job were there. As a black young person, such opportunities did not always exist, and instead of mentioning college and a job, there was a tendency to make more references to the army and military. Not necessarily saying outright that a future in the military is what they are striving for, but there are references like, '[if I get my Eagle Award] it will be like 'becoming an Eagle Scout is like being a Captain or lieutenant in an army, working towards the Generals position.'"

Historically, the military has been one of the few ways blacks achieved distinction and respect. These youths had seen their fathers and uncles come back from World War II and the Korean War with medals and get the help of the G.I. Bill. Many saw this as their only way to eventually get into college or have a good career. With the aid of the civil rights movement, black Scouts saw the Eagle Award as a further means of proving their dignity and achievement. Blacks in the first half of the 20th century were not allowed much dignity. America and the South were set up to make sure this dignity was never achieved. Through Scouting, black young people finally had something to be proud of, something that would make them, in at least one realm, equal or even superior to white children. It gave them a sense of identity that was lacking for centuries. They were no longer just "Boy," they were an Eagle Scout.

Before de-segregation, in nearly all-white Eagle Scout applications, the essays included references to leadership opportunities to come out of their Award. Leadership is mentioned much less often among the Black applicants, having not seen the same opportunities for leadership in their communities as they progressed through the Scouts. Another theme among the pre-civil rights applications was the frequent mentioning of God and Church in the white applications, compared to the Black applications. The white applications tended to connect God and Country together as an important trait of an Eagle Scout, as, for example, "The Eagle award would show me that I have been doing my duty to God and my Country as a Scout." The black Scouts did not mention citizenship nearly as often and when they did, it was usually in a secular manner. "I am an American on whom the future of this wonderful country depends . . . learning to be of service to others." This distinction the result of the lack of citizenship experienced by Blacks from the beginning of this country.

It is telling that an organization like the Boy Scouts of America, dedicated from its inception to raising men of high moral strength and conviction supported racism. But at the same time, on a national and local level, the Scouts did have certain leaders that pressed against the grain of society for racial change. In the end, though, our most valuable insight is into the minds of these young black men who wrote of an equal chance for distinction and success in their Eagle Award essays. This relatively small achievement may have helped and inspired them to push on in their fight for liberty.

In the 21st Century, the national BSA organization has seen legal issues detailing child abuse. In February 2020, the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as the organization faces 275 abuse lawsuits and potentially an additional 1,400 cases to come. Having already paid more than $150 million in settlements and legal costs between 2017 and 2019, the Boy Scouts hopes to contain the financial damage of the abuse scandal and emerge as a more sustainable organization

Contributing reference:
Kurt Banas,
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, North Carolina


Boy Scout troops were established in India as early as 1909 in Allahabad, but were open only to boys of English and Anglo-Indian families. ΐ]

The beginnings of Indian Scouting

Hilda Wood wrote a detailed account of the early days of the Scout Movement in India.

The first movement of Boy Scouts in India was due indirectly to Mr. C. W. Leadbeater, who had spoken very highly of the training, and shown General Baden-Powell's book [Scouting for Boys] to his private secretary, Mr. Ernest Wood. The result of this was that in 1913, when Mr. Wood became Hon. Secretary of the Theosophical Education Trust, he introduced scouting at the High School at Madanapalle. where the first Troop was started under the leadership of Mr. Deobhankar. About a year later Mr. Wood arranged with Mr. [Frederick Gordon] Pearce, Assistant Commissioner for Boy Scouts in Ceylon, to send a thoroughly trained Scout Master to Madanapalle the result was the arrival there of Mr. Aryarathna, who very soon trained a really first class Troop. Stimulated by this success, other Troups sprang up in various places. Α]

She described the many useful contributions of Indian Scouts to society in fighting fires, assisting pilgrims, and finding lost children. They made stretchers made simply of two staves and a turban to carry cholera victims to shelter. "During epidemics of plague, cholera an the like, the scouts are always to the fore, till at last the government and the people called upon the nearest Scout Master whenever help was required." Β]

Mr. Pearce wrote in some detail about the history of scouting in India in the 1918 Report of the Society for the Promotion of National Education:

The seed of the I. B. S. A. was planted in Madanapalle College in June, 1916, by Mr. G. P. Aryaratna, a Patrol-Leader of my old Troop at Mahinda College, Galle, Ceylon, whom I sent to Madanapalle in the hope that he would be able to develop Scouting there, since it had already shown itself so valuable as training for Ceylon boys. That hope was fulfilled, for the Troop he founded flourished amazingly and produced many splendid Scouts and proved conclusively, if proof were necessary, that the system was adaptable to Indian conditions.

In 1917 the Indian Boy Scouts Association took definite shape as an organisation distinct from Sir Robert Baden-Powell's. The reasons for this are plain enough. It was my private hope in December, 1916, that this Movement might be linked to the original Baden-Powell Movement, just as was the case with the Ceylon Troops I had organised in 1915 and 1916. I expressed this hope in a letter published in New India in December, 1916. I also wrote to Mr. Arundale on the subject. These hopes were, however, much damped by the fact that the requests sent by the Madanapalle Troop to the Baden-Powell officials were either ignored altogether or received unsatisfactory answers. Unlike in Ceylon, where the Baden-Powell Movement was organised from the first among Sinhalese boys and with full confidence in Sinhalese and Tamil Scoutmasters, the Baden-Powell Movement in India was limited to Europeans, Anglo-Indians, and a few Indian Christians, all under European Scoutmasters.

The Indian Boy Scouts Association took shape therefore throughout 1917 under the guidance and inspiration of Mrs. Besant, with Mr. Arundale, Lieutenant Tarini Sinha and Mr. Sanjiva Kamath as the chief organisers. Γ]

Scouting in Indian schools

Most schools supervised by the Society for the Promotion of National Education placed great emphasis on scouting, which was an integral part of the curriculum. For example, the National High School at Hyderabad, Sindh, reported in 1918:

The appointments of a qualified Physical Instructor and of a trained Scout Commissioner have given a great impetus to Physical Culture and Scouting. Every class in the school takes Drill twice a week and scout games are very popular. Good grounds have been laid out for team games, and hockey, cricket and foot-ball are played with much zest. The scouts have formed a troop of their own, and their example is being followed by other local institutions. All the students are imbued with a fine spirit of service and did good service in putting down two big fires and serving as volunteers at two special Conferences at Karachi and Hyderabad. Their work on these occasions was publicly commended. Δ]

The Andhra Jatheeya Kalasala, Masulipatam in Madras wrote: "Volunteering and relief-work is set as occasion arises as a lesson in self-discipline and organisation and a scout-section is a permanent adjunct of the Institution and its work." Ε] The National Boys School in Benares City reported:

Scouting has become one of the chief activities of the school, and has had a most beneficial influence on the students, improving their health and spirits, and stimulating in them the spirit of service and an esprit de corps. Frequent camping excursions are made on holidays, and there have been instruction classes in first aid, ambulance, fire-drill, signalling, tracking, music, cooking, etc. During the Kumbha Mela [a major pilgrimage] at Allahabad, some of the Scouts and members of the Band of Service attached to the school did excellent work and impressed the authorities by their energy, high sense of duty and courage. Ζ]

The IBSA Scout camp scene below shows bridge building (left), stretcher bearing, fire rescue, and tent building.

Sylhet Railway Open Scout Group

On January 24, 1908, the Boy Scouts movement begins in England with the publication of the first installment of Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys. The name Baden-Powell was already well known to many English boys, and thousands of them eagerly bought up the handbook. By the end of April, the serialization of Scouting for Boys was completed, and scores of impromptu Boy Scout troops had sprung up across Britain.

In 1900, Baden-Powell became a national hero in Britain for his 217-day defense of Mafeking in the South African War. Soon after, Aids to Scouting, a military field manual he had written for British soldiers in 1899, caught on with a younger audience. Boys loved the lessons on tracking and observation and organized elaborate games using the book. Hearing this, Baden-Powell decided to write a nonmilitary field manual for adolescents that would also emphasize the importance of morality and good deeds.

First, however, he decided to try out some of his ideas on an actual group of boys. On July 25, 1907, he took a diverse group of 21 adolescents to Brownsea Island in Dorsetshire where they set up camp for a fortnight. With the aid of other instructors, he taught the boys about camping, observation, deduction, woodcraft, boating, lifesaving, patriotism, and chivalry. Many of these lessons were learned through inventive games that were very popular with the boys. The first Boy Scouts meeting was a great success.

With the success of Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell set up a central Boy Scouts office, which registered new Scouts and designed a uniform. By the end of 1908, there were 60,000 Boy Scouts, and troops began springing up in British Commonwealth countries across the globe. In September 1909, the first national Boy Scout meeting was held at the Crystal Palace in London. Ten thousand Scouts showed up, including a group of uniformed girls who called themselves the Girl Scouts. In 1910, Baden-Powell organized the Girl Guides as a separate organization.

The American version of the Boy Scouts has it origins in an event that occurred in London in 1909. Chicago publisher William Boyce was lost in the fog when a Boy Scout came to his aid. After guiding Boyce to his destination, the boy refused a tip, explaining that as a Boy Scout he would not accept payment for doing a good deed. This anonymous gesture inspired Boyce to organize several regional U.S. youth organizations, specifically the Woodcraft Indians and the Sons of Daniel Boone, into the Boy Scouts of America. Incorporated on February 8, 1910, the movement soon spread throughout the country. In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts of America in Savannah, Georgia.

In 1916, Baden-Powell organized the Wolf Cubs, which caught on as the Cub Scouts in the United States, for boys under the age of 11. Four years later, the first international Boy Scout Jamboree was held in London, and Baden-Powell was acclaimed Chief Scout of the world. He died in 1941.

History Highlights #3: THE SCOUTING MOVEMENT 1907–1910

Our aim in the [Scouting] Movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God’s Kingdom on earth, by inculcating among youth the spirit and the daily practice in their lives of unselfish goodwill and co-operation. —Robert Baden-Powell

Concern for the moral upbringing of young people was not only felt by Church leaders, but also by youth leaders around the world.

The Boy Scout movement was founded in 1907 by Englishman Lord Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell. Born February 22, 1857, in London, England, “Stephe” was the son of Reverend Baden Powell, an Oxford professor, and Henrietta Grace Smyth. He enjoyed a happy family life and often spent time outdoors with his brothers—boating, hiking, and tracking. After graduating from Charterhouse, a pres- tigious public school, he joined the British military in 1876 and traveled to India as a lieutenant. Baden-Powell served for the next thirty years in various military assignments in India and South Africa. In 1897, he became a colonel, and in May of 1900, at the age of forty-three, was promoted to major general, the youngest in the British army. He returned to England in 1903, and retired in 1910 as a lieutenant general.

Lord Baden-Powell gained fame throughout the British Empire during the Second Boer War. He became known as the “Hero of Mafeking” after his intelligent strategies led his soldiers and the local townspeople of Mafeking, South Africa, through a 216-day siege, October 13, 1899–May 17, 1900.

Aids to Scouting

During his military tours, Baden-Powell wrote a book, Aids to Scouting, designed to teach soldiers basic scouting and outdoor skills. After returning to England, Baden-Powell discovered that Aids to Scouting was not only read by soldiers but was also popular among young boys, teachers, and youth organizations. He revised his book to specifically train boys— rather than soldiers—in scouting skills, and envisioned a new program that would teach youth about outdoor life while simultaneously building character.

In August 1907, Baden-Powell organized an experimental “scouting” encampment at Brownsea Island. Twenty boys were organized into four patrols and spent several days camp- ing, working, hiking, and learning about nature. Principles such as honesty, cheerfulness, and service were integrated throughout the activities. Upon completion of the camp, Baden-Powell concluded that boys could learn valuable life lessons through participation in outdoor adventures. These ideas were incorporated into his revised book, Scouting for Boys, which was published in 1908.

Although he professed no intentions of starting an organization, Baden-Powell’s Scouting movement spread rapidly around the globe. Boys everywhere rallied around the promise of adventure through outdoor activities. The enthusiasm of both youth and adults carried the movement forward at an astonishing pace, and Scout troops were soon organized throughout the world.

During his lifetime, Baden-Powell saw his Scouting movement encompass over thirty-two countries with more than 3.3 million Scouts. In his farewell message he stated, “I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness does not come from being rich, nor merely being successful in your career. . . . The real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it.”

The Boy Scouts of America

The transport of the Boy Scout movement across the Atlantic Ocean is credited to American publisher William D. Boyce. While en route to an African safari in 1909, he became lost while traveling through London, England. A young English boy—later known as the “Unknown Scout”—offered to help and led Mr. Boyce to his destination. Grateful for the boy’s service, Mr. Boyce tried to pay him. The helpful lad refused the tip, stating that he was a Boy Scout and didn’t take money for performing a good turn.

Mr. Boyce was impressed with the young man and inquired further about the Boy Scout movement. He later visited the Scouting headquarters in London and returned to America with information about the growing program. The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated in the District of Columbia on February 8, 1910. Incorporation allowed the Boy Scouts of America to copyright their logo, program, and resources and helped streamline various Scouting groups into one organization.

William Boyce turned the leadership of his new program over to Edgar M. Robinson (international YMCA secretary), who assembled Daniel Carter Beard (founder of the Sons of Daniel Boone), Ernest Thompson Seton (founder of the Woodcraft Indians), and other American youth leaders to assist in organizing the Boy Scouts of America.

Publisher William D. Boyce employed up to 30,000 newsboys. He felt that Scouting would teach them valuable skills and self-sufficiency.

By November 1910, a volunteer National Council of thirty-five leading citizens had been formed, with U.S. President Howard W. Taft accepting the Honorary Presidency. James E. West, a young lawyer in Washington, D.C., was invited to be the executive secretary of the new organization. On January 2, 1911, Mr. West opened the headquarters in rented offices in New York City with seven employees. The following November he became the first Chief Scout Executive.

“Even now, 40 years and two world wars later, I remain at heart a Boy Scout, full of admiration for the qualities I have seen develop in boys and young men because of scouting.” —Thomas George Wood writings, 21

Scouting Comes to Utah

Scouting spread rapidly across America. Boys everywhere wanted to experience the adventure and fun of the new outdoor program.

Thomas George Wood, an English Latter-day Saint emigrant in Salt Lake City, Utah, learned about the Boy Scout movement from his uncle in England. In September 1910, after taking a hike and doing “lots of thinking,” he resolved to “do all in my power to start the Boy Scout Movement in the ward for the good of our boys.” After some additional research, Brother Wood shared his plans with the boys of the Salt Lake City Waterloo Ward, and received “lots of enthusiasm and encouragement.” He proposed the organization of a ward Scout troop to his bishop, Asael H. Woodruff, son of Church President Wilford Woodruff, who agreed to the idea.

The ward had more than fifty boys over the age of twelve, who were “noisy and not easy to manage.” Using the guidance of an English Scout manual, Brother Wood organized a troop on October 12, 1910. The first Scout meeting was held a week later.

Thomas George Wood was twenty-three years old when he received his commission as Scoutmaster. The first Scout meeting of the Waterloo Ward Scout Troop consisted of a flag ceremony, close-order drills, calisthenics, and games. Brother Wood was “much pleased in the spirit shown.” —Thomas George Wood Diary, vol. 13, Oct. 19, 1910

Other wards soon organized Scout troops within their YMMIA organizations. Even though the Church was not officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, some ward troops operated under the direction of the National Boy Scout Council. The inspired Scouting movement of Englishman Baden-Powell had reached across seas and plains to the youth of Zion.

1911 Boy Scout health standards were in harmony with the Word of Wisdom:

”The average boy ought to have and usually does have
an appetite like an ostrich.

”Don’t eat too much . . . don’t eat meat more than once a day. . . .

”Drink freely of clean water between meals.

”Growing boys especially should have nothing to do with tea, coffee, or any stimulant.

”Alcohol is not a stimulant, but is really a narcotic that is very depressing. . . . The same is true of nicotine in tobacco. “ No growing boy should use either.”

“Every boy has in him a little savage and a potential good citizen. The question is which is to get the upper grip upon that depends what kind of a man he is going to be. . . . Scouting [will not] make an angel of him at once . . . [but] it gives him the right start.”

—Jacob A. Riis, social reformer, 1910 BSA National Council Board member, Improvement Era, July 1914, 869

Excerpts taken from Century of Honor: 100 Years of Scouting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To order a copy click here.

The 1918 ‘Spanish’ Influenza Pandemic and the Boy Scout Movement

The 1918 flu pandemic, or ‘Spanish Flu’, lasted from the spring of 1918 to the summer of 1919. With many Americans in Europe to fight in World War One in 1918, sometimes other groups stepped in to help. Here, Joseph Connole tells us how the Boy Scouts of America provided much needed assistance during the pandemic.

Boy Scouts helping to distribute food and medicine to houses during the 1918 influenza epidemic.

The Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918 was the worst public health crisis of the 20th century however, some public officials were reluctant to acknowledge the extent of the pandemic because of the First World War. As a result, the virus spread through communities across the world and the US, killing an estimated 650,000 Americans in just less than two years. Local authorities responded differently to the outbreak, in some cities the authorities shut down businesses, schools, and churches. In others, little was done.[i] The outbreak of the flu in 1918 was different though it killed those who were in the prime of their lives. To complicate matters, the U.S. was fighting a war. As the U.S. war effort started, the government instituted a draft taking millions of men away from homes to fight in Europe. Yet, across the country, young men in the Boy Scouts of America sprang into action to help those suffering from the influenza. At the start of the First World War, there were 150,000 men in uniform. At the same time, in 1918, there were over 400,000 Scouts and Volunteers in the Boy Scouts of America.[ii] The Boy Scouts of America were the largest uniformed body in the country. Scouts helped the nation’s war effort by holding parades, selling war bonds, and establishing victory gardens. During the Spanish Influenza, they helped by handing out health guides, serving as informants for local health officials, serving food, and working with local hospitals to provide help.

How the Scouts helped

In cities across the country, local Boy Scouts came to the aide of local health officials, hospitals, and the Red Cross. They distributed literature, ran kitchens, and helped in a variety of other ways. Between October 1918 and July 1919, the Boy Scout official magazine for volunteers, Scouting Magazine, recorded how Scouts from across the country answered the call for assistance as the nation was paralyzed by the flu.[iii]

The image of Scouts during the second decade of the twentieth century is one of young men marching in parades, selling liberty bonds, and planting gardens. But during the Spanish Influenza outbreak, Scouts heard the call of local officials in need of help and selflessly came to their assistance. In the October 24, 1918 edition of Scouting Magazine, the Boy Scouts took out several pages to address the Spanish Influenza outbreak in the United States. They declared, “Scouts and Scout officials are not only, definitely concerned, but have a distinct opportunity for service by reason of the nation-wide Spanish Influenza epidemic.” This call for action would be heard by Scouts across the nation. Scouts would go on to serve as junior health officers and in at least one instance, a Scout served as an intern in a hospital. The movement warned Scouts to be on their guard due to the highly contagious flu and implored Scouts to receive permission from local health officers before undertaking any risk to themselves or their families.[iv] The same issue of the magazine went on to discuss the best ways to prevent infection.

In Shoshone, Idaho Scouts distributed some 7,500 pieces of literature to residents and met trains as people came off and distributed masks,[v] while in Topeka, Kansas, Scouts were sworn in as junior health officers. Scouts took the following oath before taking on their official duties:

In assuming the duties in the Topeka health service, I agree to hold myself responsible for the distribution of all notices and literature in my district requested by the commissioner of health.

I further agree to gather any information that may be desired and to report on the health and sanitary situation in any district when asked to do so.

I agree to assist the Topeka health department in every way I can, with the understanding that I will not be called upon to perform any duty that will interfere with my school or endanger my health.[vi]

In a time well before the Internet, one of the most effective ways for local health officials to get out notices to people was through the Scouts in their communities. But in some special circumstances, Scouts were also called upon to do more. In St. Paul, Minnesota, Scouts were tasked to report on violations of local health orders which would then be investigated by a health officer.[vii]

Doing their duty

In other instances Scouts took on even more advanced roles than were found in Topeka and St. Paul. In New Brunswick, New Jersey, York, Pennsylvania, New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Morgan, New Jersey, Scouts provided help by guiding and manning ambulances, escorting nurses or acting as orderlies, and serving as messengers or telephone operators. The Elizabeth Daily Journal praised the work of Scouts saying, “The work of the Boy Scouts received the warm praise of all the older workers, who found their assistance almost invaluable.” It went on to report, “They carried cots, ran errands, acted as escorts to the refugees, served the food, stood guard over families, cared for the babies and acted in almost every capacity.”[viii] In every instance where Scouts assisted local health officials or hospitals, their work was praised according to Scouting Magazine.

The most impressive effort made by Scouts came in Morristown, New Jersey. In one instance, a Boy Scout acted as an intern for the hospital and “he did all of the work which is usually performed by a grown man” for two weeks. Another Scout drove a supply truck three times a week for the Red Cross between Hoboken and a convalescent hospital for soldiers in Mendham. And yet another worked for a week inside a children’s home where nearly sixty of the children were sick. That Scout carried water up four flights of stairs, prepared and served meals, and did various other tasks required of him.[ix]

The Scouts who performed these duties showed unparalleled courage. In each instance of the Scouts helping in their respective communities, they were well received by the local officials and hospitals that they served. Their contributions helped save an unknown number of lives and they did it without desire for public recognition.

What impact do you think the Boy Scouts had on the Influenza Pandemic? Let us know below.

Did You Know?

The core program of scouting has remained the same since scouting began in 1910 in the United States. However, there have been a number of interesting changes over the years.

For a good resource on "Traditional Scouting: Boy Scout Activities B-P Traditional Scouting Scouts Resources," visit

Life Scout Was Earned Before Star Scout

When scouting began in the United States, there were three class of scouts: Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class. When a boy became First Class he could work on and qualify for merit badges. These badges were intended to stimulate the boy's interest in the life about him and were given for general knowledge.

First Class scouts who earned the following five merit badges: First Aid, Athletics, Life-saving, Personal Health, and Public Health were entitled to wear the Life Scout badge.

You will notice that all the five merit badges for Life Scout centered around health and fitness. The heart of the Life Scout badge was a fitting symbol for these badges.

The Star Scout badge was given to the First Class scout who qualified for ten merit badges including the badges under Life Scout. The star, a symbol on our flag, was a fitting symbol for recognizing a boy who had achieved a higher level of recognition.

The order of Life before Star remained until 1927. In 1927, scouting organizers realized that to go from Life to Star was reasonably easy since any five additional merit badges were required. So the switch was made to have Star requiring any five merit badges (possibly because the star had five points) come before Life which now would required the five required health and fitness merit badges plus the any five earned as a Star Scout.

Adults Could Earn The Rank of Eagle Scout

Scouting began in 1910 and included boys in the age group of 12 to 17. In 1949, the age group was changed to 11 to 17. And in 1972 it was again changed to 11 or completed 5 th grade.

However, adults could earn rank until the official end in 1965 when BSA added the Eagle requirement of "serve actively for 6 months as a troop warrant officer." This requirement was actually added in a Handbook supplement in 1963 but was optional until 1965. Terry Grove in his book A Comprehensive Guide to the Eagle Scout Award, goes on to state: "However, during the late 40's and early 50's the National BSA program began to frown on the idea of an adult scouter earning the Eagle Scout Award. Nevertheless, during the 50's and 60's, whether or not an adult earned the

Eagle award largely depended on the individual council's program emphasis. Some councils discouraged adults from earning the award while other encouraged the adults to earn the award believing that an adult who earned the award would be more helpful to the boy and more understanding of what was required to earn the Eagle Scout Award."

As said, earning Eagle was discouraged after 1940 but there were a number of service men that were not able to complete Eagle Scout before World War II and did earn their Eagle Scout award after the age of 17. An example of an adult earning Eagle is talked about in a nice dedication web page to a father from a son who earned his Eagle less than 12 years later.

Until 1914, neither Life or Star were required for Eagle. In fact, eight of the first nine earning Eagle Scout did not earn Life or Star. And in this first group was an adult.

The Number of Merit Badges Needed for Eagle

The number of merit badges needed for Eagle Scout was 21 in 1911, the same as today. The number of specifically required merit badges has varied from 5, (1912-1915) to 16 (1952-1965).

It was only during the years 1972 through the beginning of 1979 that 24 were needed.

1972 was the beginning of a new scouting program (where they took the outing out of scouting and many of the merit badges that relating to the outdoors and nearly killed the program). You can view the history of required merit badges at the U.S. Scouting Service Project website.

The Number of Green Bars of Yesteryear Signified Different Positions Than Today

Today, most scouts and scouters are familiar with the position badges that have three full green bars, two and one half green bars and two green bars behind a First Class emblem. These are the positions of Senior Patrol Leader (1989 - present), Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (1989 - present) and Troop Guide (1989 - present) respectively. However, the emblems of these positions were originally used by other positions. They were Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (1934 - 1947), Senior Patrol Leader (1934 - 1971) and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (1959 - 1971) respectively.

Troop Guide became a brand new position in 1989.

The position of Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (JASM) was introduced in 1926. Between 1926 and 1947, three full bars represented the position. (The first class emblem over the bars was introduced in 1934.) In 1948, the position emblem was changed to look more like the Scoutmaster emblem. The JASM border, lettering and eagle at that time was brown or bronze, while the Scoutmaster emblem was silver and the Assistant Scoutmaster emblem was gold.

The Senior Patrol Leader position badge was established in 1915. Between 1915 and 1971, two and one half bars represented the position. In 1972, the position emblem was changed to three full bars behind a Tenderfoot emblem. The bars were changed from green to gray or silver.

Patrol Leaders Had Silver Rank Badges

When a scout became a patrol leader, he was entitled to wear a silver Tenderfoot, Second Class or First Class scout badge according to his rank. All others wore a gold colored badge similar to today's badges and pins. Even with the silver badge, scouts were given patrol leader and assistant patrol leader green bar cloth badges beginning in 1914 and senior patrol leader in 1915. Between 1910 and 1914, patrol leaders and assistant patrol leaders wore white bars. The silver ranks were discontinued after 1925.

Because Life, Star and Eagle scout were considered honors, they were not issued in different colors. In the early years, once a scout earned First Class, he would continue to wear it on his sleeve even after earning the higher honors.

Background Color on Service Stars Denoted Years of Service

Service stars were introduced in 1923. When introduced, they had no numbers on them. It was the background color that determined years of service until the change in 1946 when the background color indicated program. The backs were felt, not plastic like today's. The following color combinations were used:

Service strips were used before service stars from 1913 until 1924. They were worn on the right sleeve. Wide stripes were used until 1920 when narrow stripes were introduced. A green service strip for 1 year, a red strip for 3 years and beginning in 1921, a gold strip for 5 years.

1 year - gold star on green
3 years - gold star on gray
5 years - silver star on red
5 years - gold star on red
10 years - gold star on purple

Brass Belt Loops Were Used in Advancement

Skill awards, brass belt loops with painted designs, were a part of the advancement program for Tenderfoot through First Class from 1972 until 1989. Today like in the past, camping, for example, is part of Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class. During the time of the skill awards, you completed a skill award as a requirement or as an elective for a certain rank. Once completed for the specific rank, you did not have to deal with the subject area again.

There were 12 skill awards. They were: Camping, Citizenship, Communications, Community Living, Conservation, Cooking, Environment, Family Living, First Aid, Hiking, Physical Fitness and Swimming.

To complete Tenderfoot, a scout had to complete the Citizenship skill award and any other. To complete Second Class, a scout had to complete the Hiking and First Aid skill awards and any other for a total of 5. To complete First Class, a scout had to complete the Camping and Cooking skill awards and any other for a total of 8.

For those who collect variations, the earliest First Aid skill awards had a red cross. The later ones had a green cross.

Patrol Identification Was By Colored Ribbons

From the beginning of scouting until 1929, patrols could wear a pair of colored ribbons on their right shoulder to denote a specific patrol. Patrol emblems were authorized in 1921 to replace patrol ribbons, but were not officially produced until 1926. The patrol colors can be referenced below.

The colored ribbons were reintroduced in the Webelos program in 1967.

The colors for the Webelos program were red, gold and green representing at that time, Exploring, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts respectively. They were worn at the top of the right shoulder seem as in the beginning years of scouting. Since 1989, there have been a number of changes in Cub Scout uniforming and the Webelos colors have lost their significance.

Wood Pigeon
Wild Boar

Additional information and colors can be found at:

This is not an official site of the Boy Scouts of America. The rank badges and pins are scanned images of Ron Vinatieri's collection and the scanned images are copyright. You are welcome to print these pages for your reference. However, if you would like to use the images in any other manner, you must receive permission from Craig Murray.

Watch the video: BOY SCOUT CAMP 2021- Part 2: Starting Camp (May 2022).