Monday, April 14, 2008

Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, so that they may play constructive roles in society.
Scouting began in 1907 when Robert Baden-Powell, Lieutenant General in the British Army, held the first Scouting encampment at Brownsea Island in England. Baden-Powell wrote the principles of Scouting in Scouting for Boys (London, 1908), based on his earlier military books, with influence and support of Seton of the Woodcraft Indians, Smith of the Boys' Brigade, and his publisher Pearson. During the first half of the 20th century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups each for boys (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Rover Scout) and for girls (Brownie Guide, Girl Guide and Girl Scout, Ranger Guide).
The movement employs the Scout method, a program of informal education with an emphasis on practical outdoor activities, including camping, woodcraft, aquatics, hiking, backpacking, and sports. Another widely recognized movement characteristic is the Scout uniform, by intent hiding all differences of social standing in a country and making for equality, with neckerchief and campaign hat or comparable head wear. Distinctive uniform insignia include the fleur-de-lis and the trefoil, as well as merit badges and other patches.
In 2007, Scouting and Guiding together have over 38 million members in 216 countries. The two largest umbrella organizations are the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), for boys-only and co-educational organizations, and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), primarily for girls-only organizations but also accepting co-educational organizations.
2007 also marks the centenary of Scouting world wide, with member organizations planning events all over the world in order to celebrate this event.

The Boy Scout movement swiftly established itself throughout the British Empire soon after the publication of Scouting for Boys. The first recognized overseas unit was chartered in Gibraltar in 1908, followed quickly by a unit in 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 the British dominions to have a recognized Scouting program. By 1910, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Malaya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States had Boy Scouts. Baden-Powell wrote a book, Aids to Scoutmastership, to help Scouting Leaders, and wrote other handbooks for the use of the new Scouting sections, such as Cub Scouts and Girl Guides. One of these was Rovering to Success, written for Rover Scouts in 1922. A wide range of leader training exists in 2007, from basic to program-specific, including the Wood Badge training.

Scouting Growth
Important elements of traditional Scouting have their origins in Baden-Powell's experiences in education and military training. He was a 50-year-old retired army general when he founded Scouting, and his revolutionary ideas inspired thousands of young people, from all parts of society, to get involved in activities that most had never contemplated. Comparable organizations in the English-speaking world are the Boys' Brigade and the left-wing, non-militaristic Woodcraft Folk; however, they were never able to match the development and growth of Scouting.

Scouting is taught using the Scout method, which incorporates an informal educational system that emphasizes practical activities in the outdoors. Programs exist for Scouts ranging in age from 6 to 25 (though age limits vary slightly by country), and program specifics target Scouts in a manner appropriate to their age. It is the use of the Scout method that binds Scouts together, worldwide.

Movement characteristics
Main article: Scout method
The Scout method is the principal method by which the 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..."
Since the birth of Scouting in 1907, Scouts worldwide 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 by country and over time, but must fulfil 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'.

Scout Law and Scout Promise (Scout Oath)
Learning by doing
Development of small groups
Progressive and attractive programs of different activities Scout method
Common ways to implement the Scout method include having Scouts spending time together in small groups with shared experiences, rituals, and activities, and emphasizing good citizenship and decision-making by young people in an age-appropriate manner. Weekly meetings often take place in local centres known as Scout dens. Cultivating a love and appreciation of the outdoors and outdoor activities is a key element. Primary activities include camping, woodcraft, aquatics, hiking, backpacking, and sports..

Individual national or other emblems may be found at the individual country's Scouting article.
The Scout uniform is a widely recognized characteristic of Scouting. In the words of 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". Lord Baden-Powell's 1922 design for the Medal of Merit added a swastika to the Scout fleur-de-lis to symbolize good luck for the recipient. Like Rudyard Kipling, he would have come across this symbol in India. In 1934, Scouters requested a change to the design because of the later use of the swastika by the National Socialist German Workers Party. A new British Medal of Merit was issued in 1935.

Uniforms and distinctive insignia

Main article: Age Groups in Scouting and Guiding Age groups and sections
Adults interested in Scouting or Guiding, including former Scouts and Guides, often join organizations such as the International Scout and Guide Fellowship. In the United States and the Philippines, university students might join the co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. In the United Kingdom, university students might join the Student Scout and Guide Organisation, and after graduation, the Scout and Guide Graduate Association.
Scout units are usually operated by adult volunteers, such as parents and carers, former Scouts, students, and community leaders, including teachers and religious leaders. Scout Leadership positions are often divided into 'uniform' and 'lay' positions. Uniformed leaders have received formal training, such as the Wood Badge, and have received a warrant for a rank within the organization. Lay members commonly hold part-time roles such as meeting helpers, committee members and advisors, though there are a small number of full-time lay professionals. In some Scout associations, the committee members may also wear uniforms and be registered Scout leaders.
Above the unit are further uniformed positions, called Commissioners, at levels such as district, county, council or province, depending on the structure of the national organization. Commissioners work with lay teams and professionals. Training teams and related functions are often formed at these levels. In the UK and in other countries, the national Scout organization appoints the Chief Scout, the most senior uniformed member.

Adults and leadership
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, there is now at least one Scouting (or Guiding) organization. Each is independent, but international cooperation continues to be seen as part of the Scout Movement. In 1922 the WOSM started as the governing body on policy for the national Scouting organizations (then male only). In addition to being the governing policy body, it organizes the World Scout Jamboree every four years.
In 1928 the WAGGGS started as the equivalent to WOSM for the then female-only national Scouting/Guiding organizations. It is also responsible for the various international centres such as Our Chalet.
Today at the international level, the two largest umbrella organizations are:

World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), for boys-only and co-educational organizations.
World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), primarily for girls-only organizations but also accepting co-educational organizations. Around the world
Worldwide there have been different approaches to co-educational Scouting. Countries such as the USA have maintained separate Scouting organizations for boys and girls.
WAGGGS has 144 Member Organizations and 110 of them belong only to WAGGGS. Of these 110, 17 are co-educational and 93 admit only girls.

As of 2005, there are over 28 million registered Scouts and 10 million registered Guides around the world, 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.


Main article: Non-aligned Scouting and Scout-like organisations Nonaligned and Scout-like organizations

Main article: Scouting controversy and conflict Controversy and conflict

Main article: Scouting in popular culture In film and the arts

List of highest awards in Scouting
List of notable Scouts
Oldest Scout Groups
Outdoor education
Religion in Scouting
ScoutLink IRC Network Notes