The Boy Scouts were founded in 1908 after Robert Baden Powell’s successful camping expedition at a place called Brown Sea Island Camp a year before.
Baden Powell followed up his camping trip by writing the Scouts’ manual – Scouting for Boys. The book essentially encompasses anything to do with the outdoors with the aim of developing character and sense of citizenship, fitness and practicality. Baden Powell got his ideas from watching how useful boys were on the front of the Second Anglo-Boer war in terms of delivering messages, signals and running errands. Thanks to the enthusiasm of boys around the UK, the scouting group grew in size and sophistication and therefore had to standardised.
In fact, soon after a Boy Scout rally, the Girl Guides were formed. The Scout Programme is found all over the world and there are, at present, 38 million Boy Scouts. While the programmes differ culturally and due to the weather, the ethos of the scouts is fending for oneself outdoors. But the programme is also designed to help youths have a good dose of courage, initiative, respect for society, integrity, resourcefulness, sportsmanship and helpfulness.
Scouts are also groomed to become leaders once mature into the adult world. They are expected. to show respect for the other people. Over the years, the Scout Movement has expanded, changed and grown. Special branches have hived off and formed the Air Scouts. But there are those who prefer the high seas and join the Sea Scouts. While each has its own particular focus, the branches hold true to core values of founder Baden Powell. Scouts also perform tasks and challenges in return for badges. Proficiency (Merit) badges encourage the Scout to learn a subject which could be his work or hobby and as a result are more relevant to everyday life. Class badges or Progress system, are given to those who take their skills to increasingly difficult levels or successive stages.
Scouts that take it to the next level are rewarded by the highest badge for mastering Scoutcraft, leadership and performing community service. Only a small percentage attain them.