Six facts that Scouts may not possibly know about World Scouting
1] There is an organization behind the badge
This is the World Scout Badge. Some organizations call it the World Brotherhood Badge. I remember when I was a Scout, I can only earn this badge when I attend an international Scout event or exchange written letters with a Scout pen pal from another country.
Not many Scouts know that there is a whole organization behind the World Scout Badge. This badge represent the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). If you have this badge in your uniform, that only means the you are a member of WOSM.
Moreover, WOSM has more than 40 million Scout members from 171 countries and territories. Afghanistan National Scout Association is its 171th member. WOSM is composed of divided into six Regions: Africa, Arab, Asia-Pacific, Eurasia, Europe and Interamerica.
Furthermore, the World Scout Conference, which takes place every three years, is the governing body of WOSM. It elects the World Scout Committee, which is the executive body of the organization. The World Scout Bureau is the secretariat of WOSM, under the leadership of a Secretary General. To find out more about the governance of World Scouting, please click here.
2] Every Scout organization has an International Commissioner
In every national Scout organization, there is one International Commissioner. Her/His primarily concern is to maintain good relationship between her/his association and those of other countries. In addition, She/He is also responsible with regular liaison with the World Scout Bureau.
This means that if a Scout wishes to attend any international event, her/his application should always pass through the International Commissioner. Do you know the International Commissioner of your national Scout organization?
2] The Brownsea Island Camp was held first before “Scouting for Boys” was published
On 1 August 1907, Baden-Powell held an experimental camp at Brownsea Island. 20 boys, from mixed backgrounds, attended this 8-day camp; 10 from the Boys Brigade in Poole and Bournemouth and 10 from public schools.
After a fortnight, Baden-Powell published his book ‘Scouting for Boys‘. At that time, the intention of the book was to advice existing groups and organizations, such as the Boys Brigade. It became a handbook for instructions of national Scout organizations in character development and good citizenship The book was first published in 1908.
3] There are two Gilwell Parks
There are two Gilwell Parks in the world. The original Gilwell Park one is located in Epping Forest, Essex, The United Kingdom.
Mr de Bois Maclaren bought Gilwell Park for The Scout Association in 1919, for £10,000. Gilwell Park officially opened on Saturday 26 July 1919. The Estate, at that time, consisted of 21 hectares, which included the White House, Training Ground, Orchard and the Boy’s Camping Field.
Previously, the land was owned by King Henry VIII, who built a hunting lodge for his son Edward. Then, a later owner of the land built around the lodge, which eventually became the White House
Established in 1925, the other Gilwell Park is located in Gembrook, Victoria, Australia. Gilwell Park is a 157-hectare property owned by the Scout Association of Australia (Victoria Branch).
Edmund Henry Cecil Russell, known as Tom, completed his Woodbadge training at Gilwell Park in the UK. On arriving home he quickly realised the need for a permanent training site in Victoria and that the Gembrook area was ideal. So at his own expense and labour, he started to develop a training site adjacent to his home.
The first short training course for Scouters was held in Easter of 1925 at the campsite. It was during this year that Tom Russell started to work on what is now known as the Russell Troop Hall.
From then on, Scouts Australia organizes a Course for Leader Trainers (four-bead course) in this same campsite every second year. In the Easter of 2007, I took the 23rd Course for Leaders Trainers in the same campsite. Paul Parkinson was the Course Leader.
4] There are five countries in the world where Scouting does not exist
There are five countries in the world where Scouting does not exist. These countries are: 1) Andorra, 2) People’s Republic of China, 3) Cuba, 4) Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and 5) Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
5] There are only 11 Scout Organizations that have the word “boy” in their names
Many national Scout organizations welcomed coed Scout Programs. Meaning, they allowed women and girls into Scouting. In recent years, more girls than boys have joined Scouting. 14 million women and girls are members of the Scout movement. Namibia has the largest percentage of women and girls in Scouting.
Consequently, many national Scout organization dropped the word “boy” in their organization’s name. Out of the current 171 WOSM member organizations, 11 still have the word “boy” in their organization’s name. They are:
- Barbados Boy Scouts Association;
- Boy Scouts and Girl Guides of Libya;
- Boy Scouts of America;
- Boy Scouts of Bahrain;
- Boy Scouts of the Philippines;
- Boy Scouts van Suriname;
- Kuwait Boy Scouts Association;
- Pakistan Boy Scouts Association;
- Qatar Boy Scouts Association;
- Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts Association; and
- The Jordanian Association for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.
Please note that though a number of the organizations above still have the word “boy,” some of them are actually already coed.
6] B.P. is alive!
David Michael Baden-Powell, born on 11 December 1940, is the grandson of our Founder, Robert Baden-Powell. On 20 August 1966, Michael married Joan Phillips Berryman and had three children. The family resides in Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. On 28 December 2019, the peerage descended to Michael Baden-Powell, making him the 4th Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell.