Introduction to Scouting and its History

Introduction to Scouting

Scouting was founded by Lord Robert Baden-Powell (BP) in England in 1907. In Aotearoa New Zealand, Scouting first started in July of 1908 in Kaiapoi.

Today Scouting is a global Movement, with over 50 million Scouts, both young people and adults, in over 200 countries and territories!

Scouts is the world’s largest non-formal youth education movement!

While every National Scout Organisation is different, we all share similar goals and values, and there are traditions and symbols used by Scouts all over the world. These include Scout scarves, the Scout sign/three finger salute, and the left handshake.

SCOUTS New Zealand is a diverse and vibrant movement that welcomes everyone and celebrates the different values and experiences brought by all of our members.

One of the first things you do when you join any section of Scouting is to learn about Scouting. To help you do this, you should complete the ‘Introduction to Scouting’. This will help you to understand what Scouting is all about.

Whakapapa, genealogy

This is our whakapapa (line of descent / genealogy) of the worldwide Scout movement.

Whakapapa is important to us as it connects us with our tupuna (ancestor Lord Robert Baden-Powell), whanau (St. Chads Scout Group), whenua (land / Waitoru Zone), and iwi (Scouts New Zealand). As the core of mātauranga (knowledge), our whakapapa provides us with identity and history, and connects us with our tūpuna and the whenua.

The History of Scouting

Lord Robert Baden-Powell of Gilwell

Robert Baden-Powell in 1896

Scoutng For Boys - 1908

On February 22, 1857, Robert Baden-Powell was born in England. This man would later become famous as the person who founded Scouts and helped found Guides. Around the world people called him simply B-P.

After spending a number of years in boarding school, he joined the Army at 18. As a soldier B-P travelled to many countries including Africa and India. He became famous during the South Africa as a Colonel in the Army. After the war, B-P returned to England where he found that many of the books he had written for the Army were being used by teachers and other leaders to help them in their work with youth.

He decided to try out his own ideas and held a camp at Brownsea Island with a group of children from London. These youth later became the first Scouts. The girls of that day, seeing what fun their brothers were having, decided they would become Scouts too.

In 1909 B-P invited all the Scouts of England to a parade at the Crystal Palace in London. B-P stood at the front of the building and saluted the youth. Later he inspected the Scouts. Astonished at the number of girls following along, he asked them what they wanted. They answered that they too would like to join his organization. Most parents of the time did not want girls and boys in the same clubs, so back home B-P talked about the girls with his sister, Agnes Baden-Powell. The result was not Girl Scouts but Girl Guides.

Guiding and Scouting quickly spread throughout the world and soon there were Guides and Scouts not only in England and New Zealand, but also in Africa, India and many more countries.

B-P left the Army and devoted all his time to Scouting and Guiding. He travelled constantly. On one voyage he met Olave St. Clair Soames. He fell in love with her; they got married. Olave Baden-Powell later became the World Chief Guide. She is affectionately known to Guides all over the world as Lady B-P.

Lord B-P and Lady B-P were both born on 22 February. A Belgium Guider suggested that we make this a special day. We now celebrate "Founders Day" on the week of 22 February.

In recognitions of all their efforts, in August 1929, at the Third World Scout Jamboree, Olave and B-P were presented with a new Rolls Royce car and holiday caravan, the car was nicknames "Jam Roll". Over 1 million Scouts around the words donated one penny each to pay for this present.