Tracing The Origins Of The Scout Movement

Scouts from across the world attend the 21st World Scout Jamboree for the opening ceremonies.
Scouts from across the world attend the 21st World Scout Jamboree for the opening ceremonies.

What Is The Scout Movement?

Scout movement supports the younger generation in their spiritual, mental, and physical development in order for them to be constructive and productive in society. The movement focuses mainly on outdoor activities and survival skills by employing scout method which is a informal training focusing on outdoor activities including hiking, camping, and sports. The scouts have a uniform that hides all social standard differences in a country and makes for equality. The scout movement has two major umbrella bodies; World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and World Association Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

Origin And History Of The Scout Movement

Scout movement started by itself although its development and organization is credited to Biden Powell who had an interest in the outdoor and the author of Scouting for Boys in 1908. Biden Powell was assigned to the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe in 1896 as Chief of Staff. Powell had an opportunity to work with Fredrick Russell Burnham who was chief of scout for the British Army in Africa. Powell was skilled in woodcraft which proved to be of great help to Burnham. The two men broadened the training program for woodcraft to young men in Matobo Hills. It was at this point that Powell began wearing his signature campaign hat and acquired the kudu horn which he later used every morning to wake the first boy's scout at Brownsea Island.

During the Second Boar War in South Africa, Powell was confined to a small town of Mafeking by the Boar Army. Powell kept the Mafeking Cadet Corps occupied during the war by helping in defense of the city between 1899 and 1900 inspiring Biden-Powell to form the scout movement. Powell became a national hero for his struggle to hold the Mafeking, further promoting the sale of the instruction books he had written in 1899. Biden Powell’s book “Scouting for Boys” in 1908 highlighted the activities and programs for the youths to be involved in. The reaction to the book with phenomenal leading to the formation scout patrol in the UK. The first scout's rally was held in 1909 in Crystal Palace in which over 11,000 scouts attended. In 1910, Powell formed the Boys Scout Association in the UK and later formed the Girls Guide. The program initially focused on boys aged between 11 and 18 years. Agnes Powell became the first president of the Girls Guide when it was formed in 1910. By the end of 1910, it was apparent that Biden Powell could not single handle all the scout groups who required his assistance. Scoutmaster training was subsequently held in 1910 and 1911.

The Spread Of The Scout Movement

The scout movement spread around the globe from the UK. The first scout association outside the British Empire was in Chile in May 1909. Currently, there is at least a scouting organization in almost all countries around the world. The WOSM was started in 1922 to coordinate the activities of the Boys Scout worldwide while WAGGGS was formed in 1928 to coordinate the national operations of the Girl Guides. WOSM has 122 member countries while WAGGGS HAS 144 members. As of 2010, there were over 30 million scouts from 216 countries and territories with Indonesia having the most number of scouts (17 million)


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