The History of Scouting
How did Scouts begin?
Robert Baden-Powell (1857–1941) was a soldier, artist, actor and free-thinker. He is famous for his defence of the small South African township of Mafeking during the Boer War. He was inspired during this siege by the initiative shown by the boys in a town under pressure. He realised that there was untapped potential within each individual and from this he developed a handbook called “Scouting for Boys”.
He returned from the war and planned a camp on Brownsea Island near Poole in Dorset in 1907 to test out his ideas on a group of 20 boys from different backgrounds. This camp was a great success and he refined his handbook into six fortnightly leaflets sold for 4d a copy. This new movement received a royal seal of approval when King Edward VII permitted the introduction of the King’s Scout Award in 1909. In 1910, there were almost 108,000 participants of whom over 100,000 were young people.
Development of Worldwide Scouting
Scouting grew in popularity and across the age groups so that in 1916 Wolf Cubs came along for younger boys and Rover Scouts in 1920 for older boys. The year 1920 also saw the first World Scout Jamboree at London’s Olympia bringing together Scouts from across the world to celebrate the unity of their movement.
Lord Baden-Powell died in 1941 but his legacy has continued encouraging friendship, adventure and global good citizenship.
During the Second World War, Scouts heroically acted as coast guards, couriers and stretcher carriers, living up to their motto ‘Be Prepared.’
New branches of Scouting such as Air and Sea Scouts developed with recognition from the RAF and Royal Navy. Scouts were seen helping out at major public events such as the Queen’s Coronation. Rover Scouts and Senior Scouts became Venture Scouts and the badge system was brought up to date to reflect the wide range of activities a Scout could take part in. Girls were invited to join Venture Scouts in 1976. As needs changed, the age groups moved to Scouts (10.5-14 y ars) and Explorers (14-18 years). Beaver Scouts was developed for younger boys (6-8 years) and Wolf Cubs became Cub Scouts (8-10.5 years) in 1976 with girls allowed to join all sections from 1991.
The Scout Association relaunched in 2002 with a new logo, uniform and training program and the introduction of Explorer Scouts (14-18 years) and Scout Network (18-25 years).
In 2007 Scouts celebrated its centenary and the 21st World Scout Jamboree was held in the UK. In 2009, adventurer Bear Grylls was announced as the new Chief Scout.
6th Winchester Scout Group was proud to visit Brownsea Island in September 2019 for our 5th Anniversary Group Camp.