Rover Scout

Last updated

Rover Scout
World Scout Moot 2013 Canada (4 of 259) (9714891867).jpg
Scout Moot 2013
WikiProject Scouting fleur-de-lis dark.svg  Scouting portal

Rover Scouts, Rovers, Rover Scouting or Rovering is a Scouting program for adult men and women. A group of Rovers is called a 'Rover Crew'.


The Rover program was originated by The Boy Scouts Association in the United Kingdom in 1918 to provide a program for young men who had grown up beyond the age range of the Boy Scouts. It was quickly adopted by many other national Scouting organisations.

Many Scouting organisations, including The Scout Association in the UK, no longer include a Rover program. Some have replaced it with other programs while others, including Traditional Scouting organisations, maintain the original program. The Baden-Powell Award still forms the Rover award scheme in the national associations of several countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Hong Kong and Singapore, and for several of the traditional Scouting associations that retained Rover Scouting.


The Rover program had its origins in two different schemes.[ citation needed ] The first, aimed at Boy Scouts in the United Kingdom who were aged between 15 and 18 years old, was called "Senior Scouts" which was launched in March 1917 during World War I. It quickly became apparent that there weren't enough adult male leaders available in wartime, and it was several decades before the Senior Scout program was established. The second scheme was the series of 'Battlefield Scout Huts' provided for the recreation of British and Empire soldiers in rear areas of the Western Front. Related to these was the St George's Scout Club for servicemen, which operated in the English garrison town of Colchester under the leadership of "Uncle" H. Geoffrey Elwes. From these projects, it became apparent that there was a need for a Scouting-related program that catered for young men, many of whom would shortly be returning from the war. [1]

The first mention of the term "Rover Scouts" was by Sir Robert Baden-Powell in The Boy Scouts Headquarters Gazette in August 1918. The booklet "Rules for Rover Scouts" was issued in September 1918, and the scheme was fully established by November 1919. Baden-Powell set about writing a handbook for the new scheme, which was published in 1922 as Rovering to Success . It contained Baden-Powell's philosophy for a happy adult life as well as ideas for activities that Rover Scouts could organise for themselves. It was translated into many other languages and still remains in print in English today, as well as being available in online versions.

Rovering in other countries

Rovering spread to many other countries following its inception in Britain in 1918, although it no longer exists in the Scout Association. Today, the Rover section remains an important part of Scouting in many European countries, in most member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations (e.g., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong), across Central and South America, the Middle East and in many other countries such as Ireland, Japan, Republic of China/Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and Korea. New Zealand Rovers, in particular, hold a National Moot every year over the Easter holiday weekend where international participants are always openly welcomed.

Rover Scouting continued among the troops during the Second World War, even in Prisoner of War (POW) camps. Some artifacts of the Rover Crew at Changi (Singapore), including the crew flag, have been preserved; they are now held by the Scout Heritage Centre of Scouts Australia in Victoria, Australia. Additionally there is an ornate investiture certificate from the Changi Rover Crew in the Changi exhibit in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.


Rovering provides enjoyable activities that combine personal development with meaningful service.[ citation needed ] A Rover Crew governs itself, but often has an older adult as a "Crew Adviser" or "Rover Scout Leader". Baden-Powell called it a “brotherhood of open air and service”.

The objectives of Rovering are to:

Rovering provides an experience that leads to a life enriched in the following ways:

Each of these elements, from character through service, finds expression in the Crew's activities.

From the inception of Rover Scouts in 1918, Baden-Powell intended Rovering to have no upper age limit; however, after his death in 1941, the typical age shifted to 18–25. Traditional Scouting organisations such as Order of World Scouts, World Federation of Independent Scouts (WFIS), Confédération Européenne de Scoutisme (CES), Baden-Powell Scouts (BPSA), Pathfinder Scouts Association (PSA), and the Rover Scouts Association (RSA) continue to honour the founder's intent by having no upper age limit.

"Rover Scouting is a preparation for life, and also a pursuit for life."
—Baden-Powell, 1928

Rovers in Australia

In Scouts Australia, the Rover section includes young men and women between 18 years to 25 years of age. Though it is small in numbers, it provides a source of leader support and other service for the association.[ citation needed ]

During World War II, Fred Dawes operated an independent Rover Crew in southern Sydney, Australia.

Unlike The Scout Association in the United Kingdom, where Rovers were disbanded after the Advance Party Report in the mid-1960s, Rovers in The Scout Association of Australia resisted attempts to abolish the program, or even reduce the program age range as advocated in the "Design for Tomorrow" Committee's report in 1970. Rovers [ citation needed ] threatened to pull out of Scouting entirely, surrendering the Rover Chalet on Victoria's High Plains and resigning as leaders and assessors for younger sections.[ citation needed ] The Scout Association of Australia did however change its Rover Scout program, including the name to 'Rovers', admitting women in 1975, and updating the Baden-Powell Award Scheme.

Self-government of Rover Crews, came about in the mid-1970s following the Georges River Experiment (named after a District Rover Crew in New South Wales). Rovers demonstrated that they could govern themselves, as their leaders stepped back to become Rover Advisers.

Australian Rovers provide active service to all sections.[ citation needed ]. Service in the community is also valued, with many Branch Rover Councils (the governing bodies for Rovers in each state and territory) making annual awards to Crews and individuals who provide exemplary service to the community and/or Scouting.

Another noteworthy feature of the Australian Rover section is the existence of "Lone" Rover Crews in several states, drawing their membership from across the rural parts of the country, or from Rovers who (because of shiftwork, military service or other reasons) cannot be members of regular Rover Crews. Meetings are held by correspondence, with opportunities to get together at an annual Crew camp and major state or national Rover activities.

National Rover Moots are held every three years in Australia.

In 2008, the Rover section marked its 90th birthday, together with the 100th anniversary of Scouting in Australia.

In 2018, a variety of activities and celebrations took place to mark the Centenary year of the Rover section.

Rovers in Canada

Scouts Canada

Rovers (men and women ages 18–26) is part of the Scouts Canada program. The Rover program is the final stage in Canadian Scouting after the Venturer (ages 14–17) program. Following the major program reviews for the Cub and Scout sections in the mid-1960s, the Canadian Rover program was reviewed and overhauled in 1971. Part of this initiative involved a three-year experiment to allow young women to join the Rover Section. Each crew had the option of voting to become a co-ed crew for the duration of the experiment. At the end of the three years, a survey of all 2850 Rovers in Canada was conducted, and the co-ed option was overwhelmingly adopted in 1974. Scouts Canada became a fully co-educational organization in 1998.

Rover Scouts in Canada have modernized the program by adopting different themes to their program, much like the traditional St George theme. Examples would include MedRover crews that focus on First Aid, Leadership and Management training such as the 180th Pacific Coast Rover Crew, however Crews are welcome to create any structure that works for them.

Baden-Powell Service Association

Rover Knights are the Baden-Powell Service Association equivalent and is open to all adults (18+). It is the final stage after Senior Explorers (ages 14–17), and is open to both males and females as well. Informally, the term Knights is usually dropped and the section is referred to simply as Rovers.

The outdoors is an essential part of both Rover programs. Rovers often participate in adventurous activities like mountain climbing, white water rafting, or para-sailing. Rovers also help their local communities by running service activities such as food drives, park clean-ups, and tree plantings. Rovers meet in a group called a Crew. Rovers develop and manage their own program under the mentorship of a respected advisor. Rovers adhere to the promise that is used in the Scout section onwards, and the motto "Service".

Rovers in the Philippines

Boy Scouts of the Philippines

Rovering started in the Philippines when the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) separated from the Boy Scouts of America on 31 October 1936. However, following the Chief Scouts' Advance Party Report in 1966, the section was discontinued in the Philippines, and was replaced by a different programme.

The Advance Party Report caused some disquiet amongst some leaders who believed that Scouting was progressing away from its traditional roots, and the Philippines was no different from other organizations affected by the programme changes in the late 1960s. As with countries like the United Kingdom, this led to the creation of independent Scouting organizations which continues the traditional Rover Scout programme.

In 1990, the BSP resumed a Rovering programme for men and women of 16 to 24 years in age, although there are considerable differences to the original programme. There is also a Rover Peers section for those over the age of 25.

Rovers Philippines

On 18 July 2008, a national Rover Scouting network was established through the internet, a national network of Rover Leaders and Scouts in the Philippines. The members are affiliated with the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and the group is a founding national Rover organization in the Rover Scouts International. The dynamic network aims to promote the brotherhood of the open air and service by providing an avenue for a relevant journey of young people of Rovering age from their adolescence to responsible adulthood.

Rovers Philippines hosted the 1st Rovers Scouts International Fellowship in the 36th Asia Pacific Regional Jamboree in Mt. Makiling, Philippines with the Scouts Canada, Malaysia and Brunei. The occasion was spearheaded by the Rover Circles/Crews of RoversPhil- Davao City Rovers, Butuan City FSUU Rovers, Surigao Maradyaw Karadyaw Rovers, San Dionisio Rovers, Sacred Heart Rovers of Quezon City, SMNHS Rovers of Rizal Council, and Marikina City.

The Boy Scout of the Philippines Negros Oriental-Siquijor Council welcomed 70 Rover Scouts in ceremonies held on Nov. 23,2018 at the BSP Scout Jojo Magbanua Hall in Dumaguete City. The new Rover Scouts are from Silliman University Rover Scout Circle 01, Negros Oriental State University, Bayawan City National High School, St. Paul University Dumaguete, Bayawan City Science and Technology Education Center, Bais City National High School, Foundation University and Junob National High School.

On 12 December 2009, the leaders of the network elected its national committee which named the network as Rovers Philippines with the netname RoversPhil. [2]

Independent Rover Crews

On 12 December 2004, a number of Rover Scouts and Leaders grouped together and formed the Philippine Liahona Rover Crew as an affiliate of the Rover Scout Association. The crew became affiliated with the Baden-Powell Movement of Australia (BPSA-Australia) on 14 August 2005 and started to promote traditional Scouting programme to the younger sections.

In 2006, another independent group of Rover Scouts became part of the Rover Explorer Scouts Association, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom (the International HQ). This group was started as a single Rover crew on 21 April 2006 when their Rovermate and founder of the group was invested as a Rover Scouts, On the same year, the group gained a recognition as a recognised council or branch office of the association in the Philippines. The Rover Explorer Scouts Association-Philippine Council was formed and recognised in August 2006. The region has also adopted a local group from the United Kingdom, the Pathfinder Scouts Association (PSA). The methodology, practices, programmes and beliefs of the associations are based on the 1907 original Scouting programme and the Pre-Advance Party Report 1966.

Both associations were founded by the Filipinos who are living in the Philippines through the help and assistance of Americans, Australians and British Scouts and Scouters who believe in Traditional Scouting and the Pre-1967 Scouting programme as laid down by B-P on his Rovering to Success and Scouting for Boys.

Rovers in Japan

Rovers in Japan are usually, but not always, attached to local universities, such as Keio and Waseda. The program is seeing growth, in part due to rising dues in the similarly-aged Venture Scout program. The most recently created group is Takamatsu 15, attached to Takamatsu University on Shikoku.

Rovers in the United Kingdom

A Baden-Powell Scouts' Association Air Rover Scout, in 2008 Baden-Powell Scouts' Association Rover Scout.jpg
A Baden-Powell Scouts' Association Air Rover Scout, in 2008

The Scout Association

Rover Scouts is no longer an active part of The Scout Association, having been replaced in the late 1960s by the Venture Scout programme, which in turn has been replaced by Explorer Scouts and Scout Network. There are other Scouting organizations (mainly the British Boy Scouts and British Girl Scouts Association, Baden-Powell Scouts Association, European Scout Federation (British Association) and Pathfinder Scouts Association) which are not affiliated to the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

Rovering began in 1918 in the UK, ten years after the start of the Scouting program. After a rough start, due in large part to the effects of the First World War, the Rover Scout program began to grow.

By 1931, Rovering had established itself internationally to the extent that the first World Rover Moot was organised in 1931 at Kandersteg, Switzerland.

Initially, the age range for Rover Scout membership was not precisely specified. In 1921 the Conference of Rover Scouts stated that 'A Rover Scout is usually a Senior Scout aged 17 years and over'. In 1956 the upper age range was fixed at 24. [3]

Original programme and badges

In the 1920s, the progress badges of Rover Scouts (then known as "special proficiency badges") were not too different from the Scout section - Rover Scouts wore a First Class badge and the King's Scout badge that had red trim, together with their proficiency badges. In addition, they were qualified to achieve and wear the Rambler Badge (metal version) on the left epaluette and the Rover Instructor badge.

In the 1930s, the number of badges were greatly reduced- no more First Class badge, King's Scout badge or proficiency badges. A Rover was only entitled to wear only two badges - the Rambler and the Rover Instructor. After World War II, even the Rover Instructor was not issued for a brief period. The situation improved after 1948 when the "Plan for Rover Scouts" introduced the "Progress Badge", initially a lanyard worn on the right shirt pocket, but later changed to a cloth emblem to be worn on the right epaulette.

In a bid to rescue the flagging Rovering section, The Scout Association introduced a new organisation and training scheme in 1956, where new badges were launched to attract new members. Queen's Scouts were entitled to wear a miniature replica on their left sleeves (or the Airman's badge/Seaman's badge or Bushman's Thong under the right epaulette, but not together with the Queen's Scout badge replica) before they qualified for the highest award in the Rover section - the Baden-Powell Award (a special epaulette worn on the left shoulder).

Present day

All of the badges are now historic in The Scout Association, with the exception of the Queen's Scout Award, following their discontinuation of the Rover Scout programme.

In 2003 The Scout Association introduced the Scout Network, aimed at a similar age range (18 to 25) to the former Rover Scouts. [3]

Baden-Powell Scouts' Association

The Baden-Powell Scouts' Association instituted a Rover programme upon its founding in 1970. Rovering remains one of the five Scout sections in their association, open to all adults over the age of 18.

Rovers in the United States

Boy Scouts of America

Rover Scout (Boy Scouts of America).png

In the United States, glimmerings of Rovering emerged as local councils, Scout leaders, and Scouts worked together to deal with the "older boy" problem—that is, to find some way for Scouting to continue into young adulthood. As early as 1928 there were known to be crews in Seattle, Detroit, Toledo and elsewhere. The program particularly flourished in New England around 1929, through the efforts of Robert Hale, who produced an early Rover Scout booklet. By 1932, there were 36 official experimental crews, with 27 of them in 15 New England councils. Finally, in May 1933 the National Executive Board approved the program, and starting plans for development of literature and helps to leaders (Brown, 2002). A bimonthly newsletter, the Rover Record, was inaugurated in 1935 as a means of communicating directly with Rover Scouts and Leaders. A number of regional Rover Moots also were implemented during this period.

The program was never very widespread in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The national office did not promote it much, preferring to push other senior programs like Sea Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Literature of the time, if it mentioned Rovers at all, gave them only a few paragraphs or a page or two. As WWI had slowed the start of Rovering in the UK, World War II caused the same difficulties for Rovering in the US, as many young men of Rovering age fought for their country overseas. The economic upheavals of the Great Depression also hampered the development of Rovering.

By the time of the 1949 reconceptualisation of senior Scouting, the BSA recognized only 1,329 Rover Scouts. In 1952, the BSA decided to stop chartering new Crews. In 1953, only 691 Scouts were recognised as Rovers. After 1953, they were counted together with Explorers. In 1965, when several other changes occurred in the Senior programs, National stopped renewing the registrations of Rover Crews.

Baden Powell Service Association

Another group maintaining a Rovering legacy is the Baden-Powell Service Association. [4] It is open to all Scouts eighteen years of age and over, and has no upper age limit. The BPSA was originally founded as a Rovering program before branching out into youth Scouting. [5]

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. Although it requires an oath of allegiance to a nation's political leaders and, in some countries, to a God, it otherwise allows membership without distinction of gender, race or origin in accordance with the principles of its 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: Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Rover Scout. In 1910, the Girl Guides was created, encompassing three major age groups for girls: Brownie Guide, Girl Guide and Girl Scout and Ranger Guide. It is one of several worldwide youth organizations.

Scout (Scouting) member of scout movement

A Scout is a child, usually 10–18 years of age, participating in the worldwide Scouting movement. Because of the large age and development span, many Scouting associations have split this age group into a junior and a senior section. Scouts are organized into troops averaging 20–30 Scouts under the guidance of one or more Scout Leaders. Troops subdivide into patrols of about 6–8 Scouts and engage in outdoor and special interest activities. Troops may affiliate with local, national, and international organizations. Some national Scouting associations have special interest programs such as Air Scouts, Sea Scouts, outdoor high adventure, Scouting bands, and rider Scouts.

Baden-Powell Scouts Association

The Baden-Powell Scouts' Association (B-PSA) is a worldwide youth organisation originating in the United Kingdom, with friendly relationships with similar traditional scouting organisations in various countries. Baden-Powell Scouting focuses on the importance of tradition in the scout movement.

Wood Badge Scouting award

Wood Badge is a Scouting leadership programme and the related award for adult leaders in the programmes of Scout associations throughout the world. Wood Badge courses aim to make Scouters better leaders by teaching advanced leadership skills, and by creating a bond and commitment to the Scout movement. Courses generally have a combined classroom and practical outdoors-based phase followed by a Wood Badge ticket, also known as the project phase. By "working the ticket", participants put their newly gained experience into practice to attain ticket goals aiding the Scouting movement. The first Wood Badge training was organized by Francis "Skipper" Gidney and lectured at by Robert Baden-Powell and others at Gilwell Park in September 1919. Wood Badge training has since spread across the world with international variations.

Cub Scout Scouting program for young people

Cub Scouts, Cubs or Wolf Cubs are programs associated with Scouting for young children usually between 5 and 12, depending on the national organization to which they belong. A participant in the program is called a Cub. A group of Cubs is called a 'Pack'.

Scouts Canada

Scouts Canada is a Canadian Scouting association providing programs for young people, aged 5 to 26, with the stated aim "to help develop well rounded youth, better prepared for success in the world.". Scouts Canada, in affiliation with the French-language Association des Scouts du Canada, is a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). 2015-16 youth membership stands at 61,438, a 5% decline from 64,693 in 2014-15. Over the same period, volunteer numbers stabilized with 20,717 in 2015 and 20,756 in 2016. This is a significant decline from its 1965 peak of 288,084 youth and 33,524 volunteers.

Scouts South Africa is the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) recognised Scout association in South Africa. Scouting began in the United Kingdom in 1907 through the efforts of Robert Baden-Powell and rapidly spread to South Africa, with the first Scout troops appearing in 1908. South Africa has contributed many traditions and symbols to World Scouting.

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.

Scout leader Trained adult leader of a Scout unit

A Scout leader or Scouter generally refers to the trained adult leader of a Scout unit. The terms used vary from country to country, over time, and with the type of unit.

Scouting started in Victoria as early as 1907. In the early years of Scouting in Victoria, local Boy Scout patrols and troops formed independently.

Beavers is one name for programs associated with Scouting for young children usually aged 5 to 7. A participant in the program is called a Beaver. A group of Beavers is often called a "Colony". The programme is based on co-operating and sharing. Some Scouting organizations have programs for similar ages but use different names such as Keas or Joeys.

Rovers (Australia) fifth and final youth section of Scouts Australia

Rover Scouts, also known as Rovers, is the fifth and final youth section of Scouts Australia, Rover Scouts are adults aged between 18 and 25 years of age and are organised into local Crews, which can be associated with a Scout Group or operate stand-alone.

The Scout section is the direct descendant of the original Scout Patrols which formed The Scout Association of the United Kingdom in 1908. The section is open to both boys and girls between the ages of 10½-14 years, and are now formed into local Scout Troops which in turn form part of a Scout Group. The Scout section follows on from the Cub Pack and Scouts will move onto the Explorer Scout section at the age of 14.

Pathfinder Scouts Association

The Pathfinder & Rover Explorer Scouts' Association (P-RESA) is an independent Traditional Scouting Association in the United Kingdom, with International branches. The Association's training programme runs along the lines of Baden-Powell's original Scouting for Boys, upholding the traditions and practices set out by B-P, using the 1938 Boy Scouts' Association Policy Organisation & Rules (POR) as its basis.

Senior Scouts or Seniors is a section of the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association for 14- to 18-year-olds. The aim of the section is to provide a flexible and active Scouting programme for adolescents, with an emphasis on personal challenge and adventure. Members of this section wear maroon berets and shoulder tabs.

Baden-Powell Award

The Baden-Powell Scout Award (BPSA), or B-P Award is the highest youth award achievable in the Scout and Guide Movement in several countries. Although, with the withdrawal of the Rover Section from most Scout Associations it has become a less common award, it is still awarded by Guide and Scout Associations in several countries, including Australia, Brazil, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, New Zealand, and in World Federation of Independent Scouts (WFIS) associations in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Beaver Scouts (Baden-Powell Scouts Association)

Beaver Scouts, usually referred to as Beavers, is the youngest section of Scouting operated by the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association. The core age range for Beaver Scouts is five to eight years, though exceptions can be granted. Individual sections of Beaver Scouts, known as a Colony, are run by the local Scout Group. After reaching the age of eight, a Beaver Scout will then move on to Wolf Cubs.

As with Scouts in The Scout Association, the Scout section of the BPSA is the direct descendant of the original Scout Patrols which formed in the United Kingdom in 1908. The section is open to both boys and girls between the ages of 10–15 years, and are now formed into local Scout Troops.

Baden-Powell Service Association (Canada)

The BPSA in Canada was established in Victoria, British Columbia in 1996 as The Baden-Powell Scouts' Association of Canada (B-PSAC), rejecting the perceived modernization of the Scout method by Scouts Canada and sharing its aims with the other branches of the B-PSA. It is affiliated with the World Federation of Independent Scouts. The association was incorporated in British Columbia in 2000.

Baden-Powell Service Association (United States)

The Baden-Powell Service Association (BPSA) is a co-ed scouting organization in the United States that takes its name from the Scouting movement founder, Robert Baden-Powell. The BPSA is a member of the World Federation of Independent Scouts (WFIS).


  1. Walker, Colin. "Rover Scouts - Scouting for Men". Scouting Milestones. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  2. RoversPhil
  3. 1 2 Scouting Milestones, Rover Scouts
  4. "Rover | BPSA". Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  5. Schremp Hahn, Valerie (6 December 2012). "Baden-Powell Service Association brings inclusiveness to scouting". Monterey Herald. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2013.