Brief History of Scouting

A brief History of Scouting

Scouting began in 1907 and was founded by Robert Baden-Powell, a lieutenant-general in the British Army, serving from 1876 until 1902 in India and Africa.

In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the town of Mafeking in a siege that lasted seven months.  Baden-Powell’s troops were vastly outnumbered so he used local boys to administer first aid, carry messages and run errands.

On returning to the UK, Baden-Powell realised that boys at home could benefit from similar sorts of activities to the boys at Mafeking.  These activities went on to form the basis of the Scouting Movement.

While Scouting remains relevant, educational and exciting today, it has not strayed too far from its roots; outdoor adventure, helping others and Scouting skills remain the most iconic of its activities.

In 1907 Baden-Powell (B-P) runs an experimental camp for 20 boys, from different backgrounds, on Brownsea Island in Dorset, based on the ideas he had begun to formulate.

In 1908 B-P writes his ideas in a book titled Scouting for Boys (one of the top 10 best-selling books of the 20th century).  Scouting took on a life of its own as groups of boys across the country began to organise themselves into Patrols, using B-P’s book as the basis for camps and activities, and persuading adults to become their leaders.  B-P introduced the motto “Be Prepared” (based on his initials) which is still the Scout motto today.