On this day in 1857, the founder of the Scout movement Robert Baden-Powell was born in Paddington, London. Baden-Powell began his career as a lieutenant-general in the British Army; he fought in the Boer War and served in the colonial force in India and Africa. In 1907 he held the first Scout camp on Brownsea Island. After the success of this he published ‘Scouting for Boys’ a year later, which was billed as a ‘Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship’.
The Scout Movement grew from there, establishing an equivalent for girls in 1910 and is now a worldwide phenomenon. The movement has reached countless countries, and in this age of modern technology, encourages an interest in the outside and nature. However it also promotes general good citizenship, as envisioned in Baden-Powell’s 1908 work. There have been some controversies surrounding the Scouts, with some finding many of its stances backward. The continued mention of God in the Scout oath and the discriminatory polices towards homosexuals of some of the associations in the movement have proved especially worrying. However, as long as they are able to update their positions to suit the modern era, Scouts and Guides are still great organisations for young people to get involved in. It’s a real back-to-basics approach to youth recreation, which some will find very rewarding.