History of Scouting

A Brief History of Scouting


Scouting began in 1908, after Robert Baden-Powell held an experimental camp on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, the previous summer. Around 20 boys attended the week-long camp, where he taught them a range of outdoor skills. Among these were tracking, firelighting, making shelters out of branches and twigs, knotting, cooking, health and sanitation, life-saving and First Aid, all of which Scouts still have the opportunity to learn today.

Baden-Powell's book, 'Scouting for Boys', published in 1908, inspired youngsters to form Scout Groups of their own, not just in Britain, but around the world. The first Scout Rally was held at Crystal Palace in 1909, which was attended by 11,000 boys, and the first World Scout Jamboree, held at Kensington Olympia in 1920, hosted 8,000 boys from 34 nations.

It was at this event that Baden-Powell was declared Chief Scout of the World, and he has been the only person to have held the position at a worldwide level.

Scouting is still growing. Currently, it is estimated that there are around 31 million people worldwide involved in Scouting. The movement now includes girls, and has sections that cater for all ages, from the very youngest with Beavers, through Cubs, Scouts and Explorers, to the Scout Network for young adults.