2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Community organisations

Scouts and Guides from different countries on World Scout Moot 1996
Scouts and Guides from different countries on World Scout Moot 1996

Scouting, or the Scout movement, is a worldwide youth movement of multiple organizations for both boys and girls whose aim is to develop young people physically, spiritually and mentally so that youth may take a constructive place in society. The movement employs a program of non-formal education with emphasis on practical activities in the outdoors, using the so-called Scout method with programs targeted for various age groups, as proscribed by the founders of Scouting in the early 20th Century. Most countries have Scouting programs for children and young adults from ages 6 to their early 20s.

Scouting began in 1907 when Robert Baden-Powell, a Lieutenant General in the British Army, held the first Scouting encampment at Brownsea Island, England. He was at that time a good friend of William Alexander Smith, founder of the Boys' Brigade. Currently Scouting and Guiding have over 38 million members in 217 countries and territories represented through several different Scouting associations at the international level. The works of Ernest Thompson Seton and Daniel Carter Beard were very influential in the early development of Scouting as well as the basis of the Traditional Scouting movement that has developed in the last several years. In many countries, Scouting has become a significant part of popular culture.

The movement is not without controversy. International Scouting associations have formed outside of the mainstream. Policies on membership regarding sexual orientation, religion and co-education differ between Scouting associations.


Baden-Powell founded the Scouting movement in 1907 at Brownsea Island, England. He also introduced the parallel movement for girls, the Girl Guides, in 1910 with the aid of his sister Agnes Baden-Powell. Guides are known as Girl Scouts in the United States and some other countries.


Stone on Brownsea Island commemorating the first scout camp
Stone on Brownsea Island commemorating the first scout camp

The seeds of the idea of Scouting began during the Siege of Mafeking, South Africa, during the Second Boer War of 1899-1902, where Baden-Powell served as commanding officer. Baden-Powell successfully defended the town against the Boers (later known as Afrikaners), who outnumbered his troops eight to one. Volunteer boys in the town were formed into the Mafeking Cadet Corps, to help support the troops by carrying messages, which freed up men for military duties and kept the boys occupied during the long siege. The boys acquitted themselves well, helping in the successful defence of the town (1899-1900) over several months. Each Cadet Corps member received a badge, a combination of a compass point and a spearhead. This logo was similar to the fleur-de-lis that Scouting later adopted as its international symbol.

As a result of his status as a national hero, acquired as a result of his determined and successful defence of the town of Mafeking, Baden-Powell's military training manual, Aids to Scouting (written in 1899) became something of a best-seller and was used by teachers and youth organizations.

In 1906, Ernest Thompson Seton sent Baden-Powell a copy of his book entitled The Birchbark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians. Seton, a British-born Canadian living in the United States, subsequently met Baden-Powell, and they shared ideas about youth training programs.

Baden-Powell was encouraged to re-write Aids to Scouting to suit a youth readership. By 1907 he had finished a draft called Boy Patrols. The same year, to test some of his ideas, he gathered together 21 boys of mixed social background and held a week-long camp, beginning August 1, on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, Dorset, England. His organizational method, now known as the Patrol System, a key part of Scouting training, allowed the boys to organize themselves into small groups with an elected patrol leader.

In the autumn of 1907, having his draft publication and a successful camp behind him, Baden-Powell went on an extensive speaking tour arranged by his publisher, Arthur Pearson, to promote his forthcoming book. Beginning in January 1908 it initially appeared as six fortnightly installments. The parts were subsequently published in book form as Scouting for Boys, now commonly considered the first version of the Boy Scout Handbook.

At the time Baden-Powell intended that the book would provide ideas for established organizations, in particular the Boys' Brigade in which he assisted their founder William A. Smith for some time. However, boys spontaneously formed Scout patrols and flooded Baden-Powell with requests for assistance. He encouraged them, and Scouting developed by the weight of its own momentum. As the movement grew Sea Scout, Air Scout and other specialised units were added to the program options.

Baden-Powell could not singlehandedly advise all the youth who requested his assistance. To provide for adult leadership, proper training was required. The Wood Badge course was developed to recognize adult leadership training. In 1919 Gilwell Park near London was purchased as an adult training site and scouting campground. Baden-Powell also wrote a book for the assistance of Leaders entitled Aids to Scoutmastership, and others for the use of new sections that were formed later, such as Rovering to Success for Rover Scouts in 1922.

The members of a small number of Scout groups have the right to wear a green scarf/neckerchief in recognition of their membership of those groups founded in 1908.

Growth of the movement

Scouting began to spread throughout Great Britain and Ireland soon after the publication of Scouting For Boys. The Boy Scout movement swiftly established itself throughout the British Empire. The first recognized overseas unit was chartered in Gibraltar in 1908, followed quickly by Malta. Canada became the first overseas Dominion with a sanctioned Boy Scout program, followed by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Chile was the first country outside of the British Dominions to have a recognized scouting program. The first Scout rally was held at the Crystal Palace, London, in 1910. It attracted 10,000 boys, as well as a number of girls, who turned out for this exhibition of Scouting. By 1910 Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Malaya, Sweden, and the United States had Boy Scouts.

Since the program initially focused on boys aged 11-18 and the movement grew rapidly, the need for four additional programs quickly became apparent: younger boys, older boys, girls, and leader training.

Programs for Cub Scouts, Explorers, and Rover Scouts were in place by the late 1910s in several countries. Sometimes these operated on their own until official recognition was obtained from a country's Scouting organization, such was the case in the United States, where attempts at Cub programs began as early as 1911, but official recognition was not obtained until 1930.

Girls wanted to become part of the movement almost as soon as it began. Agnes Baden-Powell, the sister of the movement's founder, Robert Baden-Powell, became the first president of the Girl Guides when it was formed in 1910 in the United Kingdom. She started Rosebuds, later renamed Brownies (Girl Guides) for younger girls in 1914. She stepped down as president of the Girl Guides in 1917 and was replaced by Olave Baden-Powell, Robert Baden-Powell's wife. She remained as vice-president of the Girl Guides until her death at age 86. At that time, girls were placed into Scouting units separate from boys because of societal standards of the time. By the 1990s, Scout associations in many countries had become co-educational.

Early Scoutmaster training camps were held in London in 1910 and Yorkshire in 1911. But Baden-Powell wanted his training to be as practical as possible, and that meant in camp and this led to the development of Wood Badge. The development of leader training was delayed by World War I, so the first Wood Badge course was not held until 1919. A wide range of leader training now exists, from basic to program-specific to Wood Badge.

Conceptual Influences

U.S. President Calvin Coolidge greets 1500 visiting boy scouts from N.Y., N.J., & Conn. The boy scouts were making an annual pilgrimage to the Capitol and were being greeted at the White House. Photo 1927
U.S. President Calvin Coolidge greets 1500 visiting boy scouts from N.Y., N.J., & Conn. The boy scouts were making an annual pilgrimage to the Capitol and were being greeted at the White House. Photo 1927

Many elements of traditional Scouting have their origins in Baden-Powell's own personal education and military training. However, it must be remembered that the ideas that he promoted were revolutionary at the time. He was unique, a 55-year-old retired army general who was nevertheless able to inspire and enthuse thousands of young people, hailing from all parts of society, to get involved in activities most of them had never contemplated. Comparable organizations (in the English-speaking world) are the Boys' Brigade or the left-wing non-militaristic Woodcraft Folk, however they were never able to match the development and growth of Scouting.

Some aspects of Scouting have been criticised as being too militaristic. Such things as military-style uniforms, badges of rank, flag ceremonies, and brass bands were commonly accepted in the early years because they were a part of normal society, but many of those attributes have been watered down or abandoned in later times. Many other popular youth movements have also adopted similar attributes successfully.

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 America, for example, 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 Indians are more closely connected with nature and therefore have special wilderness survival skills which can be used as part of the training program. British Scouting, by contrast, 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.

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

"Duty to God" is a principle of worldwide Scouting; Scouting organizations in different nations apply it differently to their membership policies. The Boy Scouts of America takes a strong position, excluding atheists. The United Kingdom Scout Association does have a requirement that adult leaders acknowledge a higher power, but does not necessarily exclude atheists from roles in Scouting as long as the local Commissioner is satisfied that the applicant leader will support the values of Scouting and the investigation of faith by the young people in the movement. Scouts Canada defines Duty to God broadly in terms of "adherence to spiritual principles" and does not have any explicit policy excluding non-theists.

Programs and sections

Scouting is taught via a non-formal education system with emphasis on practical activities in the outdoors, using the Scout method. Programs exist for Scouts ranging in age from 6 to 25, though exact age limits vary slightly from country to country. Program specifics are targeted to Scouts appropriate to their age. It is the use of the Scout method that binds Scouts from all over the world together.

Scout method

The Scout method is the principal method by which all Scouting organizations, boy and girl, operate their units. The World Organization of the Scout Movement (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 and stated below..."

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."

The principles of Scouting describe a code of behaviour that likewise applies to all members and characterizes the movement. The Scout method, is a progressive system designed to achieve these goals comprised of four elements:

  • Scout Law and/or Promise (Oath)
  • Learning by doing
  • Development of small groups
  • Progressive and attractive programs of different activities

The Scout Law and Oath embody the joint values of the Scouting movement all over the world and binds all Scouting associations together. The emphasis on "Learning by doing" provides experiences and hands on orientation as a practical method of learning and confidence building. Small groups build unity and a close-knit fraternal atmosphere to develop responsibility, character, self-reliance and self-confidence, reliability, and readiness; which eventually leads to collaboration and leadership. A program of progressive and attractive varying activities expands a Scouts' horizons and bonds the Scout even more to the group. Activities and games develop dexterity and provides a fun way to develop skills. In an outdoor setting, these also provide contact with nature and the environment.

Scout Promise (or Oath), Law, Motto, and Slogan

Since the birth of Scouting in 1907, all Scouts around the world have taken a Scout Promise or Oath to live up to ideals of the movement, and subscribe to the Scout Law. The form of the promise and laws have varied slightly from country to country and over time, but must fulfill the requirements of the WOSM to qualify a National Scout Association for membership.

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'.


Common ways to implement the Scout method include spending time together in small groups with shared experiences, rituals, and activities as well as emphasizing good citizenship and decision-making by the youth that are age-level appropriate. Weekly meetings often take place in local centres known as Scout dens. Cultivating a love and appreciation of the outdoors and outdoor activities are key elements. Primary activities include camping, woodcraft, aquatics, hiking, backpacking, and sports.

Camping most often occurs on a unit level, such as Boy Scout troop, but there are periodic camporees and jamborees. Camporees occur a couple times a year and usually have a theme, such as pioneering, for units from a local area camping together for a weekend. Jamborees are large events on a national or international level held every four years where thousands of Scouts camp together for 1-2 weeks. Activities at these events include games, scoutcraft competitions, badge, pin or patch trading, aquatics, woodcarving, archery, and rifle and shotgun shooting.

For many Scouts and Scouters, the highlight of the year is spending at least a week in the summer as part of an outdoor activity. This can be a long camping, hiking, sailing, etc. trip with the unit or a summer camp operated on a council, state, or province level. Scouts attending a summer camp, generally one week during the summer, work on merit badges, advancement, and perfecting scoutcraft skills. Some summer camps operate specialty programs for older Scouts, such as sailing, backpacking, canoeing and whitewater, caving, and fishing.


A Section in Scouting is an age grouping of members in order to provide suitable Scouting activities and training for that designated age group. The age division has varied over time in member organisations of the WOSM or WAGGGS to adapt to their culture and environment.

Scouting was originally developed for young adolescents. In most member organisation, the Scout (or Guide) Section is designated to this age group. Later, it extended to childhood, with the Cub Scout Section or Brownies for Girl Scout/Guide organizations. And, later it extended to post-adolescence, with the Rover Scout Section. Post-adolescene section were also introduced under a number of different names such as Venture Scouts and Explorers ( Explorer Scouts). Some member organisations also have a section for children around 6.

In most countries, Scouting is organised into neighbourhood Scout Groups, which contain one or preferably more sections. Under the umbrella of the Group will exist subgroups divided according to age, each with their own terminology and leadership structures. Within any Group there may be more than one subgroup at each age division, depending on the demand among the local population. In other countries the different sections run independently of each other, although they may be chartered or sponsored by the same organisation such a Church.

Pre-Brownie or Pre-Cub section

This section goes under different names in the different countries that have it. Originally just for boys or just for girls it can now be found to be mixed sex in many countries, aged 6-8. This program has different names around the world: Beaver Scouts in the United Kingdom and Canada, Tiger Cubs or Daisies in the United States, Joey Scouts in Australia, Keas in New Zealand and Teddies in South Africa. This section has no formal hierarchy and acts as one unit under the guidance and instruction of one adult leader and possibly a number of assistant leaders and members of sections for older members.

Brownies or Cub Scouts

This section originally just for a single sex, it can now be found to be mixed sex in many countries, aged 7–11, is formed into packs and in some countries are further divided into dens, each of which will have its own leaders. In some programs, adult Cub Scout leaders may be referred to by the name of an animal character from The Jungle Book series, by Rudyard Kipling. The pack leader is often symbolized as Akela, with their deputy or assistant as Bagheera. Other names are used on a more ad hoc basis, but Grey Brother is usually reserved for the Pack Senior Sixer (see below) or a regular assistant from the older Scouting groups. In the BSA Cub Scout program, the pack leader is referred to as the Cubmaster, and any adult leader is "Akela". Given the Cub Scouts young age group, in some countries many packs or dens were led by one of the member's mothers called a den mother, later changed to den leader.

As a leader's assistants' names, Kaa and Baloo are also found. As the Pack gets bigger, and its leader needs more assistants, more names from the Jungle Book are used, such as Ikki, Chil, Raksha, Won-Tolla, Rikki-tikki. Not all these names will be used at the same time, of course. By the time a pack gets so big that it needs such a big number of leaders, it usually divides into two.

Occasionally, Tabaqui and Shere Khan have been known to occur, despite their being negative figures.

Within the pack, Cub Scouts are subdivided into groups of six. The leader of each six is referred to as the sixer, and their deputy as the seconder. Occasionally, when a sixer reaches a level of experience where their influence may be useful to the whole pack, that sixer may be promoted to senior sixer, who will have a more general role within the group. This is also the same for a seconder, who if the sixer leaves, or becomes a senior sixer, becomes the sixer themselves.

Guides or Scouts

This section originally youth (originally only one sex per group but often mixed now), aged around 10-15 or in some countries to 18, is organized into Troops, reflecting Baden-Powell's military background. Each Troop will be lead by a Scoutmaster or Scout Leader, supported by assistant adult leaders who are usually simply referred to by their own names.

The subdivision of a Scout Troop is the Patrol. Each Patrol will be formed of 5-8 Scouts, lead by the Patrol Leader (PL), who is deputised by the Assistant Patrol Leader (APL). As with Cubs, on occasion it is possible that one member of a Troop will be promoted to Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) or Troop Leader, who will act to advise and lead across the entire Troop. There may be one or more Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders.

Explorers and Venturers

This section for those aged around 14–18, in some countries comes between Scouts and Rover Scouts. In the US, Venturing (known in the UK as Explorer Scouts, and other countries as Network) extends to age 21. They are usually organised into units which are free collectives of older scouts, reporting to one advising adult leader. This group structure reflects both the older, more mature nature of the members of this section, and the less structured reward scheme at this level. Whereas younger Cubs and Scouts will be working toward badges and awards with specific attainment criteria, awards at this level are more geared towards stimulating the creativity and self-motivation of this older group. Inter-group collaboration is actively encouraged, and many units can have a number of major activities all happening at once. The Venturing program is also co-educational.

Rover scouts

Traditionally, Rovers were the section for those over 18. In most countries that retain Rovers the upper age is now 25. Some countries no longer have this section. In the United Kingdom, the section was discontinued, but in 2003 a new very informal section called Scout Network has been introduced.

The international meeting of Rovers from all over the world used to be called Rover Moot. It was recently renamed World Scout Moot due to the decline in usage of the Rover term.

International scout events in Europe aimed at the older age section usually keep the Rover name. This includes RoverWay, an event which occurred in 2003 in Portugal and in 2006 in Italy.

Extension Scouting

Extension Scouting is a special section for handicapped youth in many national organizations, in compliance with Baden-Powell's mandate that Scouting should be "open to all." Sometimes constituted in special units, under the sponsorship of specialized institutions, young handicapped Scouts may also join standard units. In recent years, local and national Scout camps have been making their facilities and campsites more accessible toward this goal.

In many european countries Extension Scouts used to be called Scouts Malgré Tout (or sometimes M.T. for short), from the French expression meaning despite everything.

Uniforms and distinctive insignia

Individual national or other emblems may be found on the individual country's Scouting article, and/or at Gallery of Scout and Guide national emblems.

The Scout uniform is a specific characteristic of Scouting, in the words of Lord 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". The original uniform, which has created a familiar image in the public eye, consisted of a khaki button-up shirt, shorts and a broad-brimmed campaign hat. Baden-Powell himself wore shorts as being dressed like the youth contributed to reducing distances between the adult and the young person. Uniforms are now frequently blue, orange, red or green, and shorts are replaced by long trousers in areas where the culture calls for modesty, and in winter weather.

Distinctive insignia for all Scout uniforms, recognized and worn the world over, include the Wood Badge and the World Membership Badge. Scouting has two internationally known symbols: The fleur-de-lis is used by membership organizations of the WOSM, the trefoil by the members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). These badges are part of the official uniform of Scouts and Guides in all parts of the world, whose national organization is a member of either the WOSM/WAGGGS world organizations. While these are the largest boy and girl Scouting associations, not all Scouts nor Scouting associations belong to them.

The swastika was also used as an early symbol by the Boy Scouts in Britain, and worldwide. According to "Johnny" Walker, the earliest Scouting use was on the first Thanks Badge introduced in 1911. Lord Baden-Powell's 1922 Medal of Merit design added a swastika to the Scout fleur-de-lis as good luck to the person receiving the medal. Like Rudyard Kipling, he would have come across this symbol in India. During 1934, many Scouters requested a change of design because of the subsequent use of the swastika by the National Socialist German Workers Party. A new British Medal of Merit was issued in 1935.


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

Alternatively or in addition many participate as adult leaders.

Adult leadership

Scout groups are generally operated by adult volunteers. These may be parents, former Scouts, students, or community leaders such as teachers or religious leaders. Leadership positions are often divided between 'uniform' and 'lay' positions. Uniformed leaders have received formal training such as the Wood Badge and received a warrant for a rank within the organisation, while lay members range from part time roles such as meeting helpers, parents committee members and advisors, to a small number of full-time professionals in the Scout organisation.

Within a group are uniformed positions such as Scoutmaster and assistants. The names of these positions vary from country to country. Groups are usually supported by lay members ranging from meeting helpers to members of a parents committee.

Beyond the group are further uniformed positions (sometimes called Commissioners) at levels such as district, county, council or province, depending on the structure of the national organisation. They also work along with lay teams and professionals. Training teams and other related functions are often formed at these levels. Some countries appoint a Chief Scout as the most senior uniformed member.

Around the world

Following its foundation in the United Kingdom (UK), Scouting spread around the globe. The first association outside the UK was opened in Malta. In most countries of the world now there is at least one Scouting (or Guiding) organization. Each organization is independent but international cooperation was and is seen as part of the Scout movement. In 1922 the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), the governing body on policy for the then male only national Scouting organizations, started. In addition to being the governing policy body it organizes the World Scout Jamboree every four years.

In 1928 the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) which was the equivalent to WOSM for the then female only national Scouting/Guiding organizations, started. It is also responsible for the various international centers such as Our Chalet.

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 Scouting

Worldwide there have been different approaches to co-educational Scouting. Some countries (such as the USA) have maintained separate Scouting organizations for boys and girls. In other countries (mainly in 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. Others, (for example, Australia and the United Kingdom) the national Scout association has opted to admit both boys and girls, but is only a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, while the national Guide association has remained as a separate movement and member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. In Slovenia, Spain and Greece, it is the other way around, as the national Guide association has opted to admit both boys and girls, and the national Scout association has remained a separate movement.

The Scout Association of the United Kingdom has been co-educational at all levels since 1991, but this has been optional for groups and currently 52% of groups have at least one female youth member. Since 2000 any new sections that open are required to accept girls. The Scout Association has decided that all Scout groups and sections will become co-educational by January 2007, the year of Scouting's centenary.

In the United States, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are boys-only, however, for youths age 14 and older, the Venturing program is co-educational. The Girl Scouts of the USA is an independent organization for girls and young women. Adult leadership positions in the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA are open to both men and women.

Scouting membership

As of 2005, there are over 28 million registered Scouts and 10 millions registered Guides around the world, participating from 216 different countries and territories.

Top 20 countries with Scouting and Guiding, sorted by membership. Full tables on List of World Organization of the Scout Movement members and List of World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts members.

Sculpture erected in 1982 to commemorate the 1979 Jamboree at Perry Lakes Western Australia and 75 years of Scouts
Sculpture erected in 1982 to commemorate the 1979 Jamboree at Perry Lakes Western Australia and 75 years of Scouts
Country Membership Scouting introduced Guiding introduced
United States 10,100,000 1910 1912
Indonesia 8,900,000 1912 1912
India 3,300,000 1909 1911
Philippines 2,600,000 1910 1918
Thailand 1,300,000 1911 1957
United Kingdom 1,050,000 1907 1909
Bangladesh 950,000 1920 1928
Pakistan 600,000 1909 1911
Canada 360,000 1909 1910
Korea 330,000 1922 1946
Japan 280,000 1913 1919
Kenya 270,000 1910 1920
Germany 260,000 1910 1912
Italy 220,000 1912 1912
Poland 190,000 1910 1910
Egypt 170,000 1914 1918
France 170,000 1910 1911
Malaysia 160,000 1911 1916
Belgium 160,000 1911 1915
Nigeria 150,000 1915 1919

Breakaway and nonaligned organizations

Between the first publication of Scouting for Boys and the creation of the first supranational Scout organization, WOSM, fifteen years had passed and millions of copies of the appealing handbook had been sold in dozens of languages. By that point, Scouting was the purview of the world's youth, no longer containable by any one school of thought.

Many groups have formed since the original formation of the Scouting "Boy Patrols." Some are a result of groups or individuals who refuse to follow the original ideals of Scouting but still desire to participate in Scout-like activities. Others maintain that the WOSM is currently far more political and less youth based than ever 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 seek to return to the earliest, simplest methods.

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.

Breakaway and nonaligned organizations can be divided into five categories:


Scouts-in-Exile groups formed overseas from their native country as a result of war and changes in governments. For the Scouts-in-exile groups, serving the community outside their homelands, there is resentment that they were not recognized during their nations totalitarian periods. These groups often provided postal delivery and other basic services in displaced-persons camps.

Independent Scouts and Scout organizations

The first schism within Scouting occurred during November 1909, when the British Boy Scouts (later the Brotherhood of British Scouts, and known internationally as the Order of World Scouts) was formed, initially comprising an estimated 25 percent of all Scouts in the United Kingdom, but rapidly declining from 1911 onward. The organization was formed by Sir Francis Vane because of perceptions of bureaucracy and militaristic tendencies in the mainstream movement. With several smaller organizations, such as the Boy's Life Brigade Scouts they formed the National Peace Scouts federation. The British Girl Scouts were the female counterpart of the British Boy Scouts.

In 1916 a group of Scoutmasters in Cambridge, led by Ernest Westlake and his son Aubrey, who believed that the movement had moved away from its early ideals and had lost its woodcraft character, founded the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry. The order survives to this day in England.

In the years following the First World War, the Commissioner for Camping and Woodcraft John Hargrave, broke with what he considered to be the Scouts' militaristic approach and founded a breakaway organization, the Kibbo Kift, taking a number of similar-minded Scoutmasters and troops with him. This organization was the direct antecedent of the Woodcraft Folk.

Baden-Powell Scouts were formed in 1970, initially in the United Kingdom but now also elsewhere, when it was felt that the "modernisation" of Scouting was abandoning the traditions and intentions established by Baden-Powell. Another modern breakway group is the Christian American Heritage Girls, formed in 1995 in response to the perceived growing liberalism in the Girl Scouts of the USA.

In Canada and to some extent in the United States, there is a Traditional Scouting movement, seeking to take Scouting back to the way it was in Baden-Powell's days.

Other independent multinational Scout organizations include: Confédération Européenne de Scoutisme, Union Internationale des Guides et Scouts d'Europe, and World Federation of Independent Scouts.

Among independent single-country Scout associations are the Éclaireurs Neutres de France.

Scout-like youth organizations

There are also some similar organizations linked to movements such as organised churches, such as Salvation Army's Adventure Corps, Adventism's Pathfinders, the Nazarene Caravan and the pentecostal Royal Rangers. Other groups such as the Camp Fire USA, YMCA, YWCA, Sokol, Rotaract, Boys' Brigade and Girls' Brigade also have similarities with Scouting, although some of those actually predate the foundation of Scouting. The TUXIS and Trail Rangers movements were similar organizations which originated about the same time as Scouting; however, these organizations were unable to recover from the disruption of World War II and post-war competition with the Scouting movement. The Future Farmers of America and 4-H are also sometimes seen as Scout-like organizations.

South Africa's Voortrekkers are an Afrikaner youth movement founded in 1931 as some Afrikaners found it difficult to participate in a movement founded by their Boer War opponent, Lord Baden-Powell.

Political youth organizations

Scouting has been banned and currently is banned in certain nations. The USSR banned scouting in 1922, creating a separate Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union, which gave birth to the Pioneer Movement, still existing in some fashion in the People's Republic of China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam, and has been turned into a nationalist movement in Tajikistan; the King Somoni Inheritance. Thus, some of the former Soviet allies and other countries still have their own youth movements that are not considered part of the Scouting movement; whereas some of them totally banned Scouting. Currently, there are no externally recognized Scout organizations in Cuba, North Korea, Laos, Myanmar, and the People's Republic of China (except Hong Kong and Macau, which each have a Scouting organization).

In many parts of Europe there exists the socialist Red Falcons forming the International Falcon Movement - Socialist Education International (IFM - SEI). The Woodcraft Folk is the UK branch of IFM-SEI. These organizations adapt many of the methods of Scouting in a socialist orientation. Examples are the Children's Republic, camps run by the SJD-The Falken in Germany in the 1920s, however unlike the concurring Pioneer Movements, IFM – SEI works to further democracy.

Other politically based youth movements still in existence include Fianna na hÉireann, an Irish republican youth movement.

In the parliamentary democracy of Andorra, Scouting does not exist, though not because of any bans on such organizations.

Military youth organizations

Prior to World War II, Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary and Romania disbanded Scouting. Germany created the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) organization; Mussolini had a fascist youth organization, the Balilla; and Romania under the Iron Guard had the Străjeria.

Scouting in film and the arts

As a facet of culture throughout most of the 20th century, Scouting has been portrayed in numerous films and artwork. It is especially prevalent in the United States, where Scouting is tied closely to the ideal of Americana. The works of painters Norman Rockwell 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 there being any mention of Scouting by name.

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