Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, so that they may play constructive roles in society.

Scouting began in 1907 when Robert Baden-Powell, Lieutenant General in the British Army, held the first Scouting encampment at Brownsea Island in England. Baden-Powell wrote the principles of Scouting in "Scouting for Boys" (London, 1908), based on his earlier military books, with influence and support of Frederick Russell Burnham (Chief of Scouts in British Africa), Seton of the Woodcraft Indians, Smith of the Boys' Brigade, and his publisher Pearson. During the first half of the 20th century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups each for boys (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Rover Scout) and, in 1910, a new organization, Girl Guides, was created for girls (Brownie Guide, Girl Guide and Girl Scout, Ranger Guide).

The movement employs the Scout method, a program of informal education with an emphasis on practical outdoor activities, including camping, woodcraft, aquatics, hiking, backpacking, and sports. Another widely recognized movement characteristic is the Scout uniform, by intent hiding all differences of social standing in a country and making for equality, with neckerchief and campaign hat or comparable head wear. Distinctive uniform insignia include the fleur-de-lis and the trefoil, as well as merit badges and other patches.

In 2007, Scouting and Guiding together had over 38 million members in 216 countries. The two largest umbrella organizations are the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), for boys-only and co-educational organizations, and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), primarily for girls-only organizations but also accepting co-educational organizations.

2007 marked the centenary of Scouting world wide, with member organizations planning events all over the world in order to celebrate the event.



As a military officer, Baden-Powell was stationed in British India and Africa in the 1880s and 1890s. Since his youth, he was fond of woodcraft and military scouting, and therefore – as part of their training – showed his men how to survive in the wilderness. He noticed it taught the soldiers to develop independence, rather than just blindly follow officers' orders.] and is now commonly considered the first version of the "Boy Scout Handbook".] 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.


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.] cite web |year=2006 |url= |title=The Baden - Powell Scouts' Association |publisher=The Baden - Powell Scouts' Association |accessdate=2006-12-04]

There are at least 520 separate national or regional Scouting associations in the world. Most have felt the need to create international Scouting organizations to set standards for Scouting and to coordinate activities among member associations. Six international Scouting organizations serve 437 of the world's national associations, and the largest two organizations, WOSM and WAGGGS, count 362 national associations as members, encompassing the vast majority of the world's Scouts.cite web |url= |title=All Scouting Associations in Every Country |publisher=Troop 97 |accessdate=2006-12-04]

Controversy and conflict

Since the inception of Scouting in the early 1900s, the movement has sometimes become entangled in social controversies such as the civil rights struggle in the American South and in nationalist resistance movements in India. Scouting was introduced to Africa by British officials as a way to strengthen their rule, but came to challenge the legitimacy of the British Empire as African Scouts used the Scout Law's principle that a Scout is a brother to all other Scouts to collectively claim full imperial citizenship.cite web |last=Foster |first=Rev. Michael |year=2001 |url= |title=The Growing Crisis in the Scout Movement |work=Scout History |publisher=Scout History Association |accessdate=2006-12-09] cite web |last=Parsons |first=Timothy |url= |title=Race, Resistance, and the Boy Scout Movement in British Colonial Africa |publisher=Ohio University Press and Swallow Press |accessdate=2006-12-25] More recently, Scouting organizations that do not allow the participation of atheists, agnostics, or homosexuals have been publicly criticized. [cite web|url=|work=BSA Discrimination|title=BSA and Religious Belief|accessdate=2006-02-06] [cite web|url=|work=BSA Discrimination|title=BSA and Homosexuality|accessdate=2006-02-06]

In film and the arts

As Scouting has been a facet of culture throughout most of the 20th century in many countries, numerous films and artwork use the subject. [cite journal|last=Dubill|first=Andy|year=2005|title=Scouts On The Silver Screen|journal=International Scouting Collectors Association Journal (ISCA Journal) |volume=5|issue=2|pages=28–31] It is especially prevalent in the United States, where Scouting is tied closely to the ideal of Americana. Movie critic Roger Ebert has 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."cite web|last=Ebert|first=Roger|authorlink=Roger Ebert|title=Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade |date=1989-05-24|publisher="Chicago Sun-Times" |url=|accessdate=2008-07-29]

The works of painters Norman Rockwell, Pierre Joubert and Joseph Csatari and the 1966 film "Follow Me, Boys!" are prime examples of this idealized American ethos. Scouting is often dealt with in a humorous manner, as in the 1989 film "Troop Beverly Hills" and the 2005 film "Down and Derby", and is often fictionalized so that the audience knows the topic is Scouting without any mention of Scouting by name. In 1980, Scottish singer and songwriter Gerry Rafferty recorded "I was a Boy Scout" as part of his "Snakes and Ladders" album.cite web |year=1980 |url= |title=Gerry Rafferty - I was a Boy Scout |work=Song lyrics |accessdate=2006-12-08]

ee also

*List of highest awards in Scouting
*List of notable Scouts
*Oldest Scout Groups
*Outdoor education
*Religion in Scouting
*Scout Spirit



*László Nagy, "250 Million Scouts", The World Scout Foundation and Dartnell Publishers, 1985
*World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, World Bureau, "Trefoil Round the World". 11th ed. 1997. ISBN 0-900827-75-0
*World Organization of the Scout Movement, "Scouting 'round the World. Facts and Figures on the World Scout Movement." 1990 edition. ISBN 2-88052-001-0

External links

* [ Milestones in World Scouting]
* [ Scouting Frequently Asked Questions]
* [ Scouting Milestones - Scouting History site]
* [ World Scouting infopage, by Troop 97]
* [ The World Scout Emblem, by Pinetree Web]
* [ World of Scouting, describes history of Scouting organizations]
* [ Aids to Scoutmastership]
* [ Scoutwiki - international wiki for scouting]

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