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Scouting

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Scouting is a world-wide movement aimed at developing young people so that they can take a constructive place in society at the local, national and international level.

The Scouting movement was founded by Lord Robert Baden-Powell in 1907 in England. He also introduced Girl Guides (known as Girl Scouts in the US) on March 12, 1912. In the United States, the scouting organizations are the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and Girl Scouts of the USA[?] (GSUSA).


The stone on Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, England, commemorating the
first scout camp.

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The seeds of Scouting began in Mafeking, South Africa, where Baden Powell was commanding officer during the Boer War. Baden Powell defended the town against the Boers (or Afrikaners, who outnumbered his troops eight to one. He formed the Mafeking Cadet Corps to help support the troops. The Corps consisted entirely of boy volunteers. Baden Powell trained the boys and they acquitted themselves well, helping to successfully defend the town. Each Cadet Corps member received a badge, a combination of a compass point and a spearhead. This symbol eventually became the fleur-de-lis, the international symbol of scouting.

In 1906, Baden Powell received a book in the mail called "The Birchbark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians", by Ernest Thompson Seton. Seton, a British born Canadian living in the United States, and Baden Powell met and shared ideas. By 1907, Baden Powell finished a draft called "Boy Patrols", which was to be the seed of the Boy Scouts.

Baden Powell held an experimental camp on Brownsea Island[?] in Poole Harbour[?], Dorset, England in 1907. He gathered boys together and trained them using ideas gained as a soldier in India and Africa. His organizational method, now known as the Patrol Method, the foundation of Scouting, was to allow the boys to organize themselves into small patrols with an elected patrol leader. Using the knowledge he gained on Brownsea Island, Baden Powell wrote a book called "Scouting For Boys", now commonly considered the first edition of the Boy Scout Handbook. At the time he intended that the book would provide ideas for established organisations, in particular the Boys' Brigade.

A small number of Scout groups, founded in 1908 are entitled to wear a green neckerchief as a recognition of the fact that they were among the first groups to form.

Scouting began to spread throughout Great Britain soon after the publication of "Scouting For Boys" and the Boy Scouts quickly became a organization in and of itself. Canada was the second country with a Boy Scout program, followed by Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. By 1910, Sweden, Denmark, France, Finland, Norway, Mexico, Argentina and the United States had Boy Scouts.

In the years following the First World War, ex-Scout John Hargrave[?], who had broken with what he considered to be the Scout's militaristic approach, founded a breakaway organisation that in 1925 would become known as The Woodcraft Folk.

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UK Developments

In the UK, the Boy Scout Association changed its name to the Scout Association in 1967 as part of a package of radical reform and modernisation.

In 1976 girls were allowed into the movement as Venture Scouts[?]. This was extened as an option to all sections of the movement in the late 1980s, along with additional reforms to the uniform.

Other scouts around the world

In Israel, the scouts movement was founded in 1919 as a non-political organization but reflecting Zionist and Jewish-oriented ideas. However, in contrast to other places in the world, there was and is no separation between boys and girls.

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