Scouting is a set of youth programs that use fun and challenging activities to shape youth to be confident, hardworking, honorable, charitable, successful adults. Its founder, Baden Powell, called it, “A game with a purpose.”
Scouting was founded by Robert Baden-Powell, a lieutenant-general in the British Army, serving from 1876 until 1902 in India and Africa. On returning to the UK, Baden-Powell realized that boys at home could benefit from similar sorts of activities to the boys/cadets of South Africa did. These activities went on to form the basis of the Scouting Movement. In 1907, Baden-Powell (B-P as he is known) ran an experimental camp for 20 boys, from different backgrounds, on Brownsea Island in Dorset, based on the ideas he had begun to formulate and thus scouting was born. While Scouting remains relevant, educational and exciting today, it has not strayed too far from its roots; outdoor adventure, helping others and Scouting skills remain the most iconic of its activities.
A Worldwide Movement
There are Scout associations and branches in more than 171 countries and territories. Scouting has never stopped growing since its founding in 1907. Scouts officially began in Canada in 1914 though many groups had already started before then. Today there are more than 25 million Scouts. Over 300 million people have been members in the more than 110 years since Scouting was founded. While Scouting is adapted to local needs and culture, its Purpose, Principles, and Method are the same worldwide.
Fun with a Purpose
Through recreation, Scouting achieves its purpose of helping young people develop physically, intellectually, socially, and spiritually. Scouting is all about building confidence and self-esteem, learning important life skills and leadership skills, team building, outdoor adventure, education, and fun! Scouts learn how to make good choices and to take responsibility for their actions so that they are prepared for their adult life as independent persons.
Open to All
Scouting is open to all without distinction of origin, race, class, or creed, provided that the person voluntarily adheres to Scouting’s Principles.
A Code of Living
Scouting’s Principles describe a simple code of living to which all Scouts make a personal commitment through the Scout Promise and Law. Scouting helps Scouts learn how to carry out their commitment in everyday life. This approach to life has three dimensions:
- A Spiritual Dimension — A commitment to seek the spiritual value of life beyond the material world.
- A Social Dimension — Participating in the development of society, and respecting the dignity of others and the integrity of the natural world. Promoting local, national, and international peace, understanding, and cooperation.
- A Personal Dimension — Developing a sense of personal responsibility and stimulating the desire for responsible self-expression.
The Scout Method
Scouting’s purpose is achieved by the use of the Scout Method, which is a system of progressive self-education through:
- A Promise and Law — Making a personal commitment.
- Learning by doing — Active participation with others. Opportunities for new experiences.
- Membership of small groups — In lodges, lairs, or patrols to develop leadership, group skills, and individual responsibility.
- Progressive and stimulating programs — Progressive activities based on the interests of young people. Activities in contact with nature, a rich learning environment where simplicity, creativity, and discovery come together to provide adventure and challenge.
The Elements at Work
Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts have weekly meetings and other events, such as weekend camps and fun days. Meetings are filled with games, skills, crafts, and other activities. Adult volunteer Scouters operate the program with the help of parents and other volunteers. Venturers and Rovers, with the assistance of an adult Adviser, take responsibility for planning and running their own activities.