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What is Scouting?

The purpose of the Scout Movement is to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities.

Definition

The Scout Movement is defined as a voluntary non-political 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.

Principals

The movement is based on the following principles as stated in the promise that every member makes:

Duty to God
(‘God’ covers all religions) adherence to spiritual principals, loyalty to the religion that expresses them and acceptance of the duties resulting there from.
Duty to Others
Responsibility towards society and community service
Duty to Self
A person’s obligation towards oneself and the development of oneself.

Adherence to the promise and the Law also develops tolerance of other cultures.

The Scout Method

The Scout method is defined as a system of progressive self-education through:

  • A promise and law
  • Learning by doing
  • Membership of small groups (for example the patrol), involving, under adult guidance, progressive discovery and acceptance of responsibility and training towards self-government directed towards the development of character and the acquisition of competence, self-reliance, dependability and capacities both to cooperate and to lead.
  • Progressive and stimulating programs of varied activities based on the interests of the participants, including games, useful skills and service to the community, taking place largely in an outdoor setting in contact with nature.
  • Excellent leader training: careful training of responsible, mature adults to an appreciation of the importance of the task in hand, and the ability to use the program with maximum effect, imagination and advantage.

History

The Scouting movement was founded by Sir Robert Baden-Powell who was born on 22 February 1857 in England. Since he was a little boy he enjoyed hiking through the woods, observing birds and animals and developing his love of nature and the habit of observation. When BP left school he joined the army where he quickly became a popular and important officer. He took part in many campaigns all over the world and in 1899 when war broke out in South Africa he had to organize the defenses of the small town Mafeking (now called Mafikeng) in the Northwest Province. This is where the idea of Scouting was born.

The city was besieged for 217 days and BP had to make use of several tricks to deceive the attackers into thinking there were better defenses than there actually were. He realized that the boys in the city can be very good used for carrying messages, bringing food to the soldiers and for other supporting tasks. Formed into cadet corps BP found out that the boys could be as reliable as man when they where trusted and given the possibility to fulfill the tasks on their own. "Learning by doing" and the "patrol system" are the keywords which have their origin here and are very important in Scouting.

Back in England BP tried his ideas in 1907 at an experimental camp with 20 boys on Brownsea Island. This is officially called to be the year when Scouting was born. In 1909 BP presented his book "Scouting for Boys" which still today is the most important piece of literature in the Scout movement