The Birth of Scouting and Guiding


Birth of Scouting


 After returning to England B-P set to work rewriting “Aids to Scouting”, this time for a younger leadership. In 1907 he held an experimental camp on Brownsea Island, Poole, Dorset, to try out his ideas. He brought together 22 boys from public schools and working class homes and put them into camp under his leadership. The whole world now knows the results of that camp.

“Scouting for Boys” was published in 1908 in six fortnightly parts at 4d a copy. Sales of the book were tremendous. Boys formed themselves into Scout Patrols to try out ideas. What had been intended as a training aid for existing organizations became the handbook of a new and ultimately worldwide movement. “Scouting for boys” has been translated into many different languages.

Scouting spread throughout the British Commonwealth and to other countries quickly all over the world, even in countries where scouting was not allowed to exist readily.

As Inspector-General of Cavalry, B-P considered that he had reached the pinnacle of his career. The baton of Field Marshall was within his grasp but he retired from the army in 1910 at the age of 53, on the advice of His Majesty King Edward VII, who suggested that he would do more valuable service for his country within the Boy Scout Movement (now Scout Movement) than anyone could hope to do as a soldier.

So all his enthusiam and energy was now directed to the development of Scouting and its sister movement, Guiding. B-P travelled to all parts of the world, wherever he was most needed, to encourage scouting growth and give the youth the Inspiration that he alone could give. At the first international Scout Jamboree in Olympia, London 1920 B-P was acclaimed As “Chief Scout of The World”.


Birth of Guiding

At the beginning of the movement girls wanted to follow their brothers, the Scouts. But girls were not allowed in the boys movement at this time so B-P called upon his sister Miss Agnes Baden Powell, “grandmother of the Guides”. Agnes Baden Powell started the first committee in May 1910 and a year later she brought out the first handbook for girls, “How Girls Can Help To Build The Empire”. And so the seed was sewn. There were many against guiding in the beginning as they were convinced the girls would turn into tomboys and deprive them of their “maidenly modesty”.

In 1917 Agnes Baden Powell resigned the presidency in favor of her Royal Highness Princess Mary who was an enthusiastic supporter of the guides. Miss Agnes Baden-Powell remained in office of vice-president until her death in June 1945 at the age of 86.

In September of 1914 Olave offered her services to Agnes Baden-Powell and was turned down believing it was due to her age. Even though Olave was disappointed she continued to help her husband Baden Powell with the scout movement.

Then one day in guide headquarters Olave asked about guiding in Sussex. Olave was put in touch with two ladies in that area and without a warrant and a small knowledge of guiding, she set about starting guiding committees all over the district. In March of 1916 Olave received her warrant as county commissioner.

There were plenty of girls interested in guiding but as is today there was a shortage of leaders. During this time Olave also published a booklet called “The Girl Guide Movement” with information about the organization and the duties of commissioners. Early in 1918 Olave was appointed “Chief Guide”. In 1920 the Royal family sent for Olave to enroll HRH Princess Mary, before she became guide president. In 1930 Olave was appointed “World Chief Guide”. Olave was presented with the “Silver Fox” award by the Scout Association for her work in caring for their beloved “Founder and Chief”. As well Olave was also awarded the Grand Cross of the British Empire by the King in 1932.


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