Scouting Ireland

Scouting Ireland
Scouting Ireland
Scouting Ireland
Headquarters Larch Hill
Country  Ireland
Founded January 1, 2004
Membership 40,000
Chief Scout Michael John Shinnick
Affiliation World Organization of the Scout Movement
Scouting portal
Scouting Ireland national emblem

Scouting Ireland (Irish: Gasóga na hÉireann) is the World Organization of the Scout Movement-recognised Scouting association in the Republic of Ireland, although it also has Scout Groups in Northern Ireland.[1] Scouting Ireland is a voluntary, non-formal educational movement for young people. It is independent, non-political, open to all without distinction of origin, race, creed or gender, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by Robert Baden-Powell and as stated by WOSM.

The aim of Scouting Ireland is to encourage the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, character and spiritual development of young people so that they may achieve their full potential and as responsible citizens, to improve society. Of the 750,000 people between the ages of 6 and 18 in Ireland, approximately 2.5% participate in Scouting Ireland.The organisation was founded on January 1, 2004 after a merge between Scouting Ireland C.S.I. and Scouting Ireland S.A.I.. Its headquarters are at Larch Hill, County Dublin.



The Scouting Ireland organisation has its basis in two separate Irish Scouting organisations — the Scouting Association of Ireland (SAI), and the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland (CBSI). The former traces its roots to 1908, and the latter was founded in 1926 - both trace their legacy to Baden Powell's Scout Movement.

By 1908, the influence of Powell's Scouting movement had spread from England to Ireland. The earliest known Scouting event in Ireland took place in the Phoenix Park in 1908 with members of the Dublin City Boy Scouts (later Scouting Ireland S.A.I.) taking part.

Because of the impacts to available leadership, the coming of the Great War in 1914 could have affected the viability of Scouting in Ireland. However, patrol leader members took over much of the leadership activities when adult leaders volunteered for active military duty.[citation needed] Scouts contributed to the war effort in several ways; notably the Sea Scouts, who took supported regular coast guardsmen.[citation needed]

In Dublin in the 1920s, two priests, Fathers Tom and Ernest Farrell followed the progress of Scouting. They noted that in other countries, the Catholic Church had taken up the idea of Scouting. After some study and experimentation, they made a proposal to the bishops of Ireland and were granted a constitution and Episcopal patronage in November 1926. Thus, the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland (CBSI) (Gasóga Catoilici na hÉireann) was created. The CBSI would later become the largest Scout association on the island.

When war (and The Emergency) came again in 1939, Scouts carried on under the direction of their patrol leaders, and undertook service tasks. Including acting as messengers, fire watchers, stretcher bearers, salvage collectors, etc.[citation needed]

Emblem of the Federation of Irish Scout Associations

In 1965, CBSI joined with the Scout Association of Ireland to form the Federation of Irish Scout Associations, FISA. Through FISA, Irish Scouts were able to play a full part in international Scouting. Prior to this, because the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) traditionally recognises only one Scouting body in each country, only SAI had been recognised by WOSM (since 1949).[2] Similarly, the Northern Irish Scout Council (NISC) only had observer status in the Federation, as CBSI's membership extended across the 32 counties on the island of Ireland and WOSM usually only recognises associations that observe political frontiers.

Although aligned through FISA, these two separate Scouting organisations (the SAI and CBSI) operated as separate entities through the latter half of the 20th century. Then, on January 1, 2004, the two organisations were merged to form "Scouting Ireland". This followed a poll in 2003, when both associations voted to join together to form a new single association. This in turn had followed from a 1998 decision to set this process in motion.[3]

Scouting Ireland now has 37,692 members across the island of Ireland (as of 2011),[4] including Northern Ireland where it works in partnership with the Scout Association of Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom Scout Association The Scout Association.

Local volunteers are now supported by a centralised full-time (professional) staff, who support the day to day running of the association.

Scout Method

The Scout Method is the way of delivering the programme to young people. The Scout Method is composed of eight parts which are equally important and collectively implemented make Scouting what it is. It is through the use of the Scout Method that Scouting achieves its aims in developing young people.


Scouting Ireland offers a programme for youth members ages between 6 and 25 years. In 2009 it was decided that there should be five sections as follows, to be introduced between April 2010 & April 2013:[5]

  • Sea Scouts - Sea Scouts follow the normal scouting programme, with an emphasis on water activities and with a nautical symbolic framework. Sea Scouts follow the same age ranges as the Scout and Venture Sections however in many cases both these sections will work closely together as one unit.

The National Management Committee can decide on variations to the Section names for use with a specific Symbolic Framework adopted by a Scout Group Council.

Sections to be phased out

Prior to the introduction of the new sections, the age ranges of the former associations are used by Groups:

  • Beaver Scouts (6-8);
  • Macaoimh or Cub Scouts (8-11), notable by the uniquely Irish symbolic framework it uses;
  • Scouts (11-15);
  • Venture Scouts (16-21).

Management and representation

Scout Group

The basic unit of Scouting in Ireland is the Scout Group. Each Group is based around a single meeting point, but may have a number of sections, meeting at different times, and may have more than one Scout Troop or Cub pack, for example. The Group is managed by the Group Council, headed up by the Group Leader. Other Officers include a Secretary, Chairperson, Treasurer and Trainer. Sections are represented by Programme Scouters, and Scouts and Ventures may send representatives from time to time.

Scout County

Scout Groups are members of their local Scout County. Some are based on geographical counties, others, depending on density, are based in parts of cities or across county boundaries. The Scout County is there to support the training of Scouters, the Youth Programme and the development of Groups within the County. The Scout County Board, which meets at least once a year, consists of Scouters and representatives of Scouts and Ventures in each County elect County Officers (County Commissioner, County secretary, County Treasurer) as well as County Programme and Training Co-ordinators.

The Scout County Management Committee consists of the Group Leaders, County Officers and Co-Ordinators and manages the County on behalf of the Board.


For organisational purposes, Ireland is divided into six Scout Provinces; namely the Northern, Southern, North Eastern, South Eastern, Western and metropolitan Dublin provinces. The Provincial Commissioner appoints a Training Co-Ordinator as well as Youth Programme and International representatives. The Provincial Support/Management Committee consists of County Commissioners, Provincial Officers, Co-ordinators and representatives.

Each Province has a Provincial Support Officer and a Group Facilitating Officer who administrate the development of Training and Youth Programme.

National Council

The primary decision making body of Scouting Ireland is the National Council (NC), which meets at least once a year. Membership consists of members of the National Management Committee (NMC), County Officers, Group Leaders, Group delegates, National, Provincial and County Venture and Scout representatives. The NC elects Provincial Commissioners, National Officers and ordinary members of the NMC when required.

It was decided in 2005 to rotate the honour of hosting National Council among the six Provinces of every year.

National Management Committee

The first Chief Scout elected was Martin Burbridge, the former National Treasurer of Scouting Ireland (CSI). He was re-elected at National Council in 2007 for a second term which was due to end in 2010. For personal reasons Burbridge announced his resignation in August 2008,[6] and the NMC elected Michael John Shinnick, the then Chief Commissioner for Adult Resources, as SI's second Chief Scout in September 2008.[7] He was elected by National Council in March 2009, for a term to end in 2012.

Other National Officers include Michael Devins (National Secretary), Francis Minogue (National Treasurer), Ian Davy (Chief Commissioner for Youth Programme) & John Brennan (Chief Commissioner for Adult Resources).[8] Rev. Gillian Wharton has been the Chairperson of the National Spiritual and Religious Advisory Panel since Scouting Ireland's National Council 2006.

The remainder of the NMC is made up of the six Provincial Commissioners, and six ordinary members. The professional staff are headed up by a CEO, currently vacant, who is based in National Office in Larch Hill. The CEO is expected to attend and contribute to NMC meetings.

Youth participation

Annually the National Scout Forum and the National Venture Scout Forum meet. These fora debate motions relating to the running of the association. Membership of the fora represent each Scout County in Ireland and are elected at Regional fora by their peers. Successful motions are carried forward to the relevant national bodies. Each forum elects 9 representatives who then represent the interests of youth members on various committees throughout their term of office (one year). 3 ordinary members of the National Management Committee must be under the age of 26 on the day of election.There is also the provincial forum that picks the motions that are passed to national scout forum.

ONE Programme

The ONE scout programme has been designed using a number of key underlining principles.

• The use of the Scout Method • One programme for all age ranges • Youth Participation within the planning process • Individual personal journeys/experiences

One Programme for all

The principle of ‘ONE programme for all’ means that each age range section delivers the programme in a similar way. Small groups are present in all Sections. Documentation is designed to appeal to the age range of the Section but presents the same concepts to young people in appropriate visual presentations and language. The badge scheme is also similar and the badge designs only signify different age ranges via different coloured designs.

Programme creation

Young people are fully involved in the creation and management of their Scouting experience. This is done via the team and Section Council gatherings. They suggest, design and implement their own adventures and experiences assisted and facilitated by Adult Scouters. This collective experience is the programme of the group.

The Personal Journey

Every Scout is responsible for their Personal Journey/experience of Scouting and plays a hand in designing and planning that journey. The Personal Journey ideal draws a young person to explore the SPICES and enable them to learn, acquire knowledge and develop while participating in the Scout programme. The programme, that young people have designed with the help and assistance of Scouters follows a simple process PLAN, DO, REVIEW. Programmes are planned, activities are executed and the whole process is reviewed. The review process is an important stage as it allows young people to learn by doing, reflect on what has been learnt and carry this knowledge through to the next programme cycle. The review and reflection process is an important part of the personal journey of young people. It allows them to position themselves on their chosen path and provides them with pathways to future discoveries and experiences.


There are four types of badges available to young people. • Progress Award Badges • Adventure Skills Badges • Special Interest Badges • Boatman Badges scouter

Personal Progress Badges

Personal Progress Badges are awarded to young people in recognition of how they have developed and travelled along their personal Scouting journey. The badges are roughly linked to a ‘Scouting years’ programme. It is not based on individual tests but rather on a concept of bringing young people ‘one step forward’. For some young people this will be easy for others more challenging. It will also be related to maturity of young people as they grow and develop. Scouters therefore need to be fully aware of ‘where their Scouts are at’ so they can have a fuller understanding of how far a young person has travelled in a particular Stage.

Adventure Skills

Adventure skills badges set prescribed detailed requirements to young people to achieve a set standard in a particular adventure skill. The requirements are progressive and ultimately reflect and pave the way to outside recognition by a governing body of a chosen skill. There are currently nine adventure skills badges.

Special Interest Badges

Special interest badges are open ended badges that reflect the interest of the young person undertaking them. Any subject is possible and the requirements are designed by the young person in consultation and agreement with their Scouters. There are five badge designs, badges are presented under a number of heading into which the special interest subject will fall. Heading include -Skill, Physical, Adventure, Community, Environment. Badge requirements will differ depending on the individual Scout undertaking for the badge. The principle of ‘doing one’s best’ is the key feature of badges awarded under this area. The system allows everyone to choose what they want to do, it provides recognition for personal effort, rather than achieving a grade, so everyone has a chance to achieve the badge. Badge requirements are designed to allow exploration of the subject, develop and improve skills, and put the new knowledge into practice, preferably as a practical project which will benefit others.

The Role of the Scouters

The role of the Scouters is one of assisting, supporting, facilitating, motivating, being a role model rather than directive. Younger age ranges will require more facilitation and direction but this should be reversed in older age ranges to one of ‘mentor or coach’. The Scouters need to be aware of the young people in their Section, and understand ‘where they are’ in relation to their development as young people. Scouters will assist in reviewing activities and help young people to reflect on their experiences and personal journey through Scouting.


Campsites and Scout centres in Scouting Ireland, may be owned and operated Nationally, or by a Scout County, or Scout Group, or run by a group of volunteers on behalf of SI. Larch Hill in Tibradden, Co. Dublin, and Lough Dan near Roundwood, Co. Wicklow, are the national campsites, having been inherited from Scouting Ireland (CSI) and Scouting Ireland S.A.I. respectively. Other nationally owned campsites include Mount Melleray Scout Centre in the Knockmealdown Mountains near Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, while the National Water Activity Centre (NWAC) is located in Killaloe, Co. Clare.[9] Locally run campsites are located in Kilcully,[10] Co. Cork, and Srahan Scout Centre,[11] Co. Laois.

International Scouting

International representation

Ann Foley is the International Commissioner for Scouting Ireland.

Howard E. Kilroy is Chairman of the World Scout Foundation's Investment Committee

In 2001 John Geoghegan was appointed director of the World Scout Foundation

International awards

Two Irish Scouts have been awarded the Bronze Wolf by the World Scout Committee, Edward J. Montgomery and Jeremiah Kelly.

Scouting Ireland is also affiliated to Gaisce - The President's Award.

International jamborees

Scouting Ireland hosted Jamboree 2008, its first international Jamboree from August 2–10 August 2008. It was held in Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare with the aim of celebrating one hundred years of Scouting in Ireland. Over 13,500 Irish and overseas scouts attended the event.

National Star Scout Show

The "National Star Scout Show" is where members of Scouting Ireland perform acts of different kinds on stage. It usually takes place in Saint Patrick's College, Dublin. There is a song written especially for the show by Paul Redmond called "We Carry the Light". The show, performing to capacity audiences over three days, features a wide range of acts with music, dancing, drama and comedy, performed by Scouting Ireland Members of all ages and from several locations around Ireland, together with a strong representation from Dublin.[12]

See also


External links

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