Scouting’s origins date back to the start of the 20th Century. It has survived the two World Wars, sweeping social events and the challenges of other influences, to become stronger than ever. It does this by placing the needs of young people first — in a program that can adapt to change.

So, where is Scouting now?

There is now a World Scout Committee, which provides unity amongst the National Associations, with a World Bureau operating from Geneva and independent national organizations in over 250 countries and territories.

For each generation of Scouts, the challenge has remained the same: to make a better world and have some fun along the way.


But how did we get here?

The founder of Scouting, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, was born in 1857 in England. He lived a busy and adventurous life, and as a boy spent much of his spare time in open-air pursuits, hunting in the woods, and joining his brothers in expeditions by land and in their boats. Thus, he developed his powers of observation and resourcefulness and acquired many useful skills.

After trying his ideas of training soldiers in “Scouting”, while in India, he set down his ideas in the book Aids to Scouting, which was used as a textbook for many years. He spent many years in the British Army, and returned to England a hero after successfully defending the South African Town of Mafeking against the Boers.

Sir William Smith, leader of the Boys Brigade, encouraged him to set down his views on how he would apply “scouting” to the training of boys. First, Baden-Powell conducted an experimental camp in 1907 on Brownsea Island, where, with some twenty boys and suitable adult leaders, he taught the boys what he meant by Scouting. They lived in tents, cooked their own food, and learned many valuable skills through games.

The camp was a great success. Baden-Powell wrote of his experiences in a book he called “Scouting for Boys”. Published in January 1908 in fortnightly parts, it sold readily to the youth in England, who started to carry out “scouting” as they read the book.

Following this camp and the publication of the parts of the book, young boys in the community formed themselves into patrols of six to eight, and then looked around for adult leaders who could help them. Soon there were thousands of Scouts all over the country, and within two years, a rally at the Crystal Palace, London, drew together ten thousand young people.


The Scouting Timeline

1907Experimental camp on Brownsea Island, Dorset, UK
1908Scouting for Boys publishes
Scouting arrives in Australia
Rally at Crystal Palace, London
1910Girl Guides Association forms
Sea Scouts Branch forms
1916Wolf Cubs forms
1918Rover Scouts forms
1920First Jamboree at Olympia, London
1926Extension or Handicapped department forms
1927Group System (Cubs, Scouts & Rovers under Group Leader) forms
1928Deep Sea Scouts forms
1934First Australian Jamboree
19372.5 million Scouts from nearly 50 countries affiliate with the International Bureau, set to safeguard Scouting and prevent control drifting into the hands of purely religious, political or military bodies
1941Air Scouts forms
1946Venturer Scouts forms
1973Venturer and Rover Scout sections admit females
1988Cub and Scout sections admit females
1990Joey Scouts forms


Reference Books: Scouting for Boys, The Wolf that Never Sleeps, Facets of B-P.