Non-aligned Scouting and Scout-like organisations

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Non-aligned Scouting organizations is a term used by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and their member national organizations to refer to Scouting organizations that are not affiliated with them. See List of non-aligned Scouting organizations.


Scout-like organisations are organizations that resemble Scouting in some way. Scout-like organizations have been created both prior to and after the origin of the Scout Movement, and are characterized by use of or similarity to part of the Scout Method.

The Scout movement has led to the formation of many Scouting organizations around the world. However, WOSM and WAGGGS each register only one Scouting organization per country, although that organization can be a federation of several organizations.

Terminology used in this article:
The terms "aligned", "non-aligned", "Scout-like" and "breakaway" used in this article reflect the usage of WOSM, WAGGGS and their member national organizations. WOSM, WAGGGS and their member national organizations refer to organizations that had a common origin or were once associated with them in some way but are no longer associated with them as breakaway organizations. A breakaway organization may also be a Scouting or Scout-like organization.

Aligned and non-aligned Scouting organisations

Since its inception in 1907, the Scout Movement has spread from the United Kingdom to 216 countries and territories around the world. There are at least 520 separate national or regional Scouting associations in the world and most have felt the need to create international Scouting organisations to set standards for Scouting and to coordinate activities among member associations.

Six international Scouting organisations serve 437 of the world's national associations. There is a seventh that is only for adults. The largest two international organisations, WOSM and WAGGGS, have 362 national associations as members, encompassing 38 million Scouts and Guides. Other multinational Scouting organisations include the Confédération Européenne de Scoutisme, Union Internationale des Guides et Scouts d'Europe, and World Federation of Independent Scouts.

There are over 80 Scouting associations or umbrella federations that are not aligned with any international Scouting organisation, including the Eclaireurs Neutres de France. There are also many single groups that are not affiliated with any regional or national association and the majority of these are in Germany, where Scouting is very fragmented. Membership in non-aligned Scouting organizations worldwide is roughly 300,000 to 500,000 individuals.

Scout-like youth organisations

Parade of Boys' Brigade during Celebrations of Hari Merdeka 2013 in Likas, Malaysia Sabah Malaysia Hari-Merdeka-2013-Parade-107.jpg
Parade of Boys' Brigade during Celebrations of Hari Merdeka 2013 in Likas, Malaysia

There are also some similar organisations linked to movements such as organised churches, such as the Salvation Army's Adventure Corps and Pioneers, Adventism's Pathfinders, the Nazarene Caravan, the Pentecostal Royal Rangers and Awana, as well as faith-wide groups like the neo-pagan SpiralScouts International. Other groups such as the Camp Fire, YMCA, YWCA, Sokol, Rotaract, Boys' Brigade and Girls' Brigade also have similarities with Scouting, although some of those predate the foundation of Scouting. The TUXIS and Trail Rangers movements were similar organisations which originated about the same time as Scouting; however, these organisations were unable to recover from the disruption of World War II and post-war competition with the Scouting movement. The National FFA Organization and 4-H are also sometimes seen as Scout-like organisations.

Trail Life USA and American Heritage Girls are parallels of the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts although they have a Christian emphasis and are found in Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant churches.

A uniquely Canadian Scout-like organization is the Junior Forest Wardens, who use as role models not military scouts but rather forest rangers and fire lookouts. Existing since this 1920s, this organization has a more direct tie to ecological conservation, and is popular in British Columbia and Alberta.

South Africa's Voortrekkers are an Afrikaner youth movement founded in 1931 as some Afrikaners found it difficult to participate in a movement founded by their Boer War opponent, Lord Baden-Powell.

In 2003 Navigators USA was formed to enable people to take part in Scouting-like activities which was open to all children and communities. There are over 64 chapters in the US, with new ones being started up in Uganda and in the United Kingdom. [1]

Political and military Scouting substitutes

Young Pioneers of China, School Opening in 2008 Young Pioneers of China, School Opening.jpg
Young Pioneers of China, School Opening in 2008

Scouting has been banned in certain nations and remains banned in some of them. Some countries that have banned Scouting replaced it with youth organisations that are not considered part of the Scouting movement. The Soviet Union banned Scouting in 1922, creating a separate Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union, which gave birth to the Pioneer Movement. It still exists in some fashion in the People's Republic of China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam, and has been turned into a nationalist movement in Tajikistan-the King Somoni Inheritance. There are no externally recognised Scout organisations in Cuba, North Korea, Laos, and the People's Republic of China (except Hong Kong and Macau, which each have a Scouting organisation).

In many parts of Europe the socialist Red Falcons form the International Falcon Movement - Socialist Education International (IFM-SEI). The Woodcraft Folk is the UK branch of IFM-SEI. These organisations adapt many of the methods of Scouting in a socialist orientation. Examples are the Children's Republic, camps run by the SJD-The Falken in Germany in the 1920s, however unlike the concurring Pioneer Movements, IFM–SEI works to further democracy.

Other politically based youth movements still in existence include Fianna na hÉireann, an Irish republican youth movement.

Japanese young ladies stage show for Hitlerjugend in 1938 Japanese young ladies stage show for Hitlerjugend 1938.jpg
Japanese young ladies stage show for Hitlerjugend in 1938

In Andorra, Scouting does not exist, though not because of any bans on such organisations.

Prior to World War II, Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary and Romania disbanded Scouting. Germany created the Hitler-Jugend (Hitler Youth) organisation; Italy had a fascist youth organisation, the Balilla; and Romania under the Iron Guard had the Străjeria.

Breakaway organisations

Between the first publication of Scouting for Boys in 1908 and the creation of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1922, fourteen years had passed and millions of copies of the appealing handbook had been sold in dozens of languages. By that point, Scouting was the purview of the world's youth, as from the outset Baden-Powell had not intended Scouting to be containable by any one school of thought.

The Boys' Brigade Scouts, Church Scout Patrols, Church Lads Brigade Scouts, London Diocesan Boy Scout Corps, Chums Scout Patrols, YMCA Boy Scouts, Boys' Life Brigade Scouts, Salvation Army Corps Boy Scout troops (later formed into the Life-Saving Scouts), early Scout patrols, Scout troops and local Boy Scout associations such as the Battersea Boy Scouts (which became the British Boy Scouts in May 1909) and Baden-Powell's Boy Scout organization formed separately with some later affiliating or amalgamating.

Many groups have formed since the formation of the Scouting "Boy Patrols." Some maintain that the WOSM is far more political and less youth-based than ever envisioned by Lord Baden-Powell. They believe that Scouting in general has moved away from its original intent, because of political machinations that happen to longstanding organisations, and seek to return to the earliest, simplest methods. Others are a result of groups or individuals who refuse to follow the original ideals of Scouting but still desire to participate in Scout-like activities.

An apparent early schism within Scouting occurred from April 1909, when the Battersea Boy Scouts broke away after a brief affiliation to become the British Boy Scouts and grew to comprise an estimated 25 percent of all Scouts in the United Kingdom, before rapidly declining from 1912 onward.[ citation needed ] From 1932 onward it was called the 'Brotherhood of British Scouts', but returned to the name British Boy Scouts in 1983. It was allied to Scouting organisations in the United States, Italy, Hong Kong, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America and India in 1911, and formed what is known as the 'Order of World Scouts' (OWS). The British Boy Scouts was formed because of perceptions of bureaucracy and militaristic tendencies in Baden-Powell's Boy Scout organization. In the United Kingdom, with several smaller organisations, such as the Boy's Life Brigade Scouts, they formed the National Peace Scouts federation. The British Girl Scouts were the female counterpart of the British Boy Scouts. The OWS and BBS survive to this day.

In 1916 a group of Scoutmasters in Cambridge, led by Ernest Westlake and his son Aubrey, who believed that the movement had moved away from its early ideals and had lost its woodcraft character, founded the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry. The order survives to this day in England.

In the years following the First World War, the Commissioner for Camping and Woodcraft John Hargrave, broke with what he considered to be the Scouts' militaristic approach and founded a breakaway organisation, the Kibbo Kift, taking a number of similar-minded Scoutmasters and troops with him. [2] This organisation was the direct antecedent of the Woodcraft Folk.

Many of the Woodcraft Folk's founders including the prominent Leslie Paul had been Boy Scouts and Scout leaders who left Scouting to join the Kibbo Kift but then formed the Woodcraft Folk in 1925.

Traditional Scouting

Baden-Powell Scouts were formed in 1970 in the United Kingdom and later elsewhere, when it was felt that the "modernisation" of Scouting was abandoning the traditions and intentions established by Baden-Powell. Another modern breakaway group is the Christian American Heritage Girls, formed in 1995 in response to the perceived growing liberalism in the Girl Scouts of the USA. [3] In Canada and to some extent in the United States, there is a Traditional Scouting movement, seeking to take Scouting back to the way it was in Baden-Powell's days. [4]

As with American Heritage Girls for young women, Trail Life USA emphasizes traditional scouting for young men. [5]


Scouts-in-Exile groups formed overseas from their native country as a result of war and changes in governments. For the Scouts-in-exile groups, serving the community outside their homelands, there is resentment that they were not recognised during their nations' totalitarian periods. These groups often provided postal delivery and other basic services in displaced-persons camps. [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

Scouting World-wide movement for the education of youth

The Scout movement, also known as Scouting or the Scouts, is a voluntary non-political educational movement for young people open to all without distinction of gender, origin, race or creed, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by the founder, Lord Baden-Powell. The purpose of the Scout Movement is to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities. During the first half of the twentieth century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups for boys and, in 1910, a new organization, Girl Guides, was created for girls. It is one of several worldwide youth organizations.

World Organization of the Scout Movement international Scouting organization

The World Organization of the Scout Movement is the largest international Scouting organization. WOSM has 171 members. These members are recognized national Scout organizations, which collectively have over 50 million participants. WOSM was established in 1922, and has its operational headquarters at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and its legal seat in Geneva, Switzerland. It is the counterpart of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

The Woodcraft Folk organization

Woodcraft Folk is a UK-based educational movement for children and young people. Founded in 1925 and grown by volunteers, it has been a registered charity since 1965 and a registered company limited by guarantee since 2012. The constitutional object of this youth organisation is "to educate and empower young people to be able to participate actively in society, improving their lives and others' through active citizenship."

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts International organization for Guiding and Girl Scouting

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is a global association supporting the female-oriented and female-only Guiding and Scouting organizations in 150 countries. It was established in 1928 in Parád, Hungary, and has its headquarters in London, England. It is the counterpart of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). WAGGGS is organized into five regions and operates five international Guiding centers. It holds full member status in the European Youth Forum (YFJ), which operates within the Council of Europe and European Union areas and works closely with these bodies.

Kibbo Kift British youth movement

The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift was a camping, hiking and handicraft group with ambitions to bring world peace. It was the first of three movements in England associated with the charismatic artist and writer John Hargrave (1894–1982). The Kindred was founded in 1920. Some members continued into Hargrave's Green Shirt Movement for Social Credit, which was established in 1931–32, and which became in 1935 the Social Credit Party of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This was wound up in 1951.

Woodcraft is a recreational/educational program devised by Ernest Thompson Seton in 1902, for young people based on camping, outdoor skills and woodcrafts. Thompson Seton's Woodcraft ideas were incorporated into the early Scout movement, but also in many other organisations in many countries.

Woodcraft League of America, originally called the Woodcraft Indians and League of Woodcraft Indians, is a youth program, established by Ernest Thompson Seton in 1901 and often regarded as one of the earliest youth organisations in modern history. Despite the name, the program was created for non-Indian children. At first the group was for boys only, but later it would also include girls. Seton instructed the children in his town in Connecticut in outdoor "Woodcraft" – knowledge and skills of life in the woods – and based much of the group's terminology and structure on the misconceptions about Native Americans that were common in that era. The program spread internationally to become the Woodcraft Movement and many of these programs still exist. Seton's Woodcraft scheme also had a strong influence on later youth programs and organizations, particularly, the Scout Movement.

Scout Promise

Since the publication of Scouting for Boys in 1908, all Scouts and Girl Guides around the world have taken a Scout promise or oath to live up to ideals of the movement, and subscribed to a Scout Law. The wording of the Scout Promise and Scout Law have varied slightly over time and from country to country. Some national organization promises are given below. Although most Scouting and Guiding organizations use the word "promise", a few such as the Boy Scouts of America tend to use "oath" instead. Typically, Scouts and Guides will make the three-fingered Scout Sign when reciting the promise.

Guiding and Scouting in Belgium federation of Belgian Scout and Guide organizations

Gidsen- en Scoutsbeweging in België (Dutch) or Guidisme et Scoutisme en Belgique (French) (GSB) is the national Guiding and Scouting federation in Belgium. Scouting in Belgium started in 1911, and Guiding followed in 1915. The Belgian Scouts were among the charter members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) in 1922, and the Guides were one of the founding members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) in 1928. The federation counts 96,837 Scouts and 59,268 Guides.

Traditional Scouting is "old-fashioned" or "back to basics" Scouting in some form, often with an emphasis on woodcraft activities. One form of Traditional Scouting, the "Traditional Scouting movement", aims to return Scouting to traditional style and activities; rejecting the trend of modernizing Scouting to appeal to more youths or identifying programs for younger children as Scouting.

Lone Scouts are members of the Scout movement who are in isolated areas or otherwise do not participate in a regular Scouting unit or organization. A Lone Scout must meet the membership requirements of the Scouting organization to which they belong and have an adult Scout leader or counselor who may be a parent, guardian, minister, teacher, or another adult. The leader or counselor instructs the boy and reviews all steps of Scouting advancement. Lone Scouts can be in the Scout Section or sections for older young people, and in some countries in the Cub section or sections for younger boys. They follow the same program as other Scouts and may advance in the same way as all other Scouts.

Scouting in the United States is dominated by the 2.7 million-member Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA and other associations that are recognized by one of the international Scouting organizations. There are also a few smaller, independent groups that are considered to be "Scout-like" or otherwise Scouting related.

The Scout and Guide movement in Denmark consists of about ten different associations. Most of them are members of two large federations, but there are also some independent organizations. Affiliated to Danish Scouting and Guiding are the organizations in Greenland, on the Faroe Islands and in Southern Schleswig.

Religion in Scouting

Religion in Scouting and Guiding is an aspect of the Scout method that has been practiced differently and given different interpretations over the years.

Scouting has sometimes become entangled in social controversies such as in nationalist resistance movements in India. Scouting was introduced to Africa by British officials as an instrument of colonial authority but became a subversive challenge to the legitimacy of British imperialism as Scouting fostered solidarity amongst African Scouts. There are also controversies and challenges within the Scout Movement itself such as current efforts to turn Scouts Canada into a democratic organization.

The Scout and Guide movement in Malta is served by three organizations:

The Scout and Guide movement in Jamaica is served by

Ruth Clark was the author of the first woodcraft book for girls and an active original member of the Kibbo Kift.

There are many national organisations in the United Kingdom that have been established to provide services to people under the age of 18.


  2. "Official Site". Kibbo Kift Foundation. Archived from the original on 2006-07-17. Retrieved 2006-07-25.
  3. "Official Site". American Heritage Girls. Archived from the original on 2006-07-14. Retrieved 2006-07-25.
  4. "Official Site". Traditional Scouting. Retrieved 2006-07-25.
  5. Hallowell, Billy (2 February 2015). "Alternative Scouting Group's CEO Reveals His Group's Secret to Success — and the Message He Believes It Should Send to the Boy Scouts" . Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  6. Victor M. Alexieff (September 1982). "The Other Ones - Scouts in Exile". SOSSI Journal. XXXVII (9).