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A Scout (in some countries a Boy Scout, Girl Scout, or Pathfinder) 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.
After the Second Boer War boys showed considerable interest in Aids to Scouting, a book about military scouting and wilderness survival written by a hero from that war, Robert Baden-Powell.The book was also used by teachers and youth organizations for instruction and play. Inspired by that interest Baden-Powell wrote Scouting for Boys for boy readership, which describes the Scout method of outdoor activities aiming at developing character, citizenship training, and personal fitness qualities among youth. At the time, Baden-Powell intended that the scheme would be used by established organizations, in particular the Boys' Brigade. However, because of the popularity of his person and the adventurous outdoor games he wrote about, boys spontaneously formed Scout patrols.
Over time, the Scout programme has been reviewed and updated in many of the countries where it is run, and special interest programmes developed such as Air Scouts, Sea Scouts, outdoor high adventure, Scouting bands and rider Scouts, but the same core values and principles as Baden-Powell originally envisaged still apply.
Originally, the Scout program was aimed at 11- to 16-year-old boys. However, the younger brothers of Scouts started to attend Troop meetings, and so the Wolf Cub section was started. It was also evident that young girls wanted to participate in similar activities, but the Edwardian values at the time would not allow young boys and girls to "rough and tumble" together, causing the Guide Movement to be created.
While most Scouts may join a troop after finishing Cub Scouts, this is not required. As Scouts get older, they often seek more challenging and diverse activities. He may later join another affiliated program for older children, such as Exploring, Venturing, or Rovering.
A Scout learns the cornerstones of the Scout method, Scout Promise, and Scout Law. These are designed to instill character, citizenship, personal fitness, and leadership in boys through a structured program of outdoor activities.Common ways to implement the Scout method include spending time together in small groups with shared experiences, rituals, and activities, as well as emphasizing good citizenship and decision-making that are age-level appropriate. Cultivating a love and appreciation of the outdoors and outdoor activities are key elements. Primary activities include camping, woodcraft, first aid, aquatics, hiking, backpacking, and sports.
Camping most often occurs on a unit level, such as in the troop, but there are periodic camporees and jamborees. Camporees are events where units from a local area camp together for a weekend. These often occur a couple times a year and usually have a theme, such as pioneering. Jamborees are large events on a national or international level held every four years where thousands of Scouts camp together for one to two weeks. Activities at these events include games, Scoutcraft competitions, patch trading, aquatics, woodcarving, archery, and rifle and shotgun shooting.
For many Scouts, the highlight of the year is spending at least a week in the summer as part of an outdoor activity. This can be a long event such as camping, hiking, sailing, canoeing, or kayaking with the unit or a summer camp operated on a council, state, or provincial level. Scouts attending a summer camp, generally one week during the summer, work on merit badges, advancement, and perfecting Scoutcraft skills. Some summer camps operate specialty programs, such as sailing, backpacking, canoeing and whitewater, caving, and fishing.
A large part, compared to younger and older sections, of the activities are related to personal progression. All Scouting organizations have an advancement program, whereby the Scout learns Scoutcraft, community service, leadership, and explores areas of interest to him. This Badge system or Personal Progressive Scheme is based on two complementary elements:
Most Scouting associations have a highest badge that require mastering Scoutcraft, leadership, and performing community service. Only a small percentage of Scouts attain them.
The troop is the fundamental unit of the Scouts. This is the group a Scout joins and via which he participates in Scouting activities, such as camping, backpacking, and canoeing. The troop leadership, youth and adult, organizes and provides support for these activities. It may include as few as a half-dozen Scouts, or as many as seventy or more. Troops usually meet weekly.
Each troop is divided into patrols of around five to ten Scouts. A patrol's independence from the troop varies among troops and between activities. For instance, a troop typically holds ordinary meetings as a unit. Patrols' autonomy becomes more visible at campouts, where each patrol may set up its own area for cooking and camping. However, on a high adventure trip which only a small part of the troop attends, divisions between patrols may disappear entirely. Patrols may hold meetings and even excursions separately from the rest of the troop, but this is more common in some troops than in others.Each patrol has a Patrol Leader (PL) and Patrol Second (PS), or Assistant Patrol Leader (APL). Some troops mix older and younger Scouts in the same patrols, so that the older Scouts can teach the younger ones more effectively, other troops group Scouts by age, so that the members of one patrol have more in common.
In most countries a local organisation, a "Scout Group", combines different sections together into a single body. Scout Groups can consist of any number of sections of the different Age Groups in Scouting and Guiding. Scout Groups can be single sex or have boys and girls in separate and/or co-ed sections depending on the group and the national organization. In some countries, the different sections are independent of each other, although they might be sponsored or chartered by the same organisation, such as a church.
The Scout uniform is a specific characteristic of Scouting, and is worn at most events. The original uniform, which has created a familiar image in the public eye and had a very military appearance, consisted of a khaki button-up shirt, shorts, and a broad-brimmed campaign hat.
Uniforms have become much more functional and colorful since the beginning and are now frequently blue, orange, red, or green, and shorts are replaced by long trousers in areas where the culture calls for modesty, and in colder weather. T-shirts and other more casual wear have also replaced the more formal button-up uniforms in many Scouting regions. In some countries Scouts can display their various proficiency (merit) badges on their uniform, while in other countries they can display them on a green sash.
To show the unity of all Scouts, the World Membership Badge (World Crest) or another badge with a fleur-de-lis is a part of all uniforms. Neckerchiefs and Woggles (slides) are still quite common, but some Scouting associations do not use them. Patches for leadership positions, ranks, special achievements, patrol- animals, colors or names, troop- or group- numbers or names, and country or regional affiliation are standard.
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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.
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 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 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.
Scouting and Guiding in Mainland China was reported as banned with the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) by the Communist Party since 1949. Instead, the Young Pioneers of China and the Communist Youth League, led by the Communist Party, have become the dominant youth organization in mainland China for younger and older youth, respectively. However, China now has multiple and originally separate Scouting activities within its borders. In 2004, the Scout Club of Hainan (海南童子军俱乐部), borrowing heavily from Scouting in terms of emblems, uniforms and activities, was founded in Hainan Province; it is, however, not affiliated with worldwide Scouting. An attempt to organize a nationwide Scouting organization in Wuhan was ended by the government in 2004. The Scout Association of the People's Republic of China (中华人民共和国童军总会), founded in 2008 serves Venture Scouts in both genders as well as Rover Scouts. The Rover Explorer Service Association operate groups in China.
The Scout Association of Zimbabwe is a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. Scouting in Zimbabwe shares history with Malaŵi and Zambia, with which it was linked for decades.
William Hillcourt, known within the Scouting movement as "Green Bar Bill", was an influential leader in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) organization from 1927 to 1992. Hillcourt was a prolific writer and teacher in the areas of woodcraft, troop and patrol structure, and training; his written works include three editions of the BSA's official Boy Scout Handbook, with over 12.6 million copies printed, other Scouting-related books and numerous magazine articles. Hillcourt developed and promoted the American adaptation of the Wood Badge adult Scout leader training program.
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.
The Scout method is the informal educational system used by Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America. The aim of Scouting is character training with the goal of helping participants become independent and helpful, and thereby become "healthy, happy, helpful citizens".
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.
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.
Scouts BSA is the flagship membership level of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 17. It provides youth training in character, citizenship, and mental and personal fitness. Scouts are expected to develop personal religious values, learn the principles of American heritage and government, and acquire skills to become successful adults.
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.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was inspired by and modeled on the Boy Scout Association, established by Baden-Powell in Britain in 1908. In the early 1900s, several youth organizations were active, and many became part of the BSA.
Scouts is the section of Scouts Australia for boys and girls aged 10.5 - 15, although they can move up to the Venturer Scouts section from the age of 14.5. It follows the Cub Scout section. Scouts belong to patrols, headed by a youth leader as Patrol Leader, with an Assistant Patrol Leader. Patrols are grouped into a Scout Troop. The adult leaders are a Scout Leader (SL) and one or more Assistant Scout Leaders (ASL). The troop is managed by the Troop Council, which consists of the Patrol Leaders advised by the Scout Leader. Scouts was the first section of the Scout Movement to be founded.
Scouts in Scouting Ireland are aged between 11 and a half to 16 years of age. Each group has a Court of Honour/Patrol Leader's Council which under the guidance of an adult Scouter designs and implements activities. Scouts is the section where activities begin to really challenge the youth member and impart responsibility and self-reliance in accordance with the Scout method and the educational philosophy of Baden-Powell. The association also currently has Sea Scout and Air Scout programmes. The highest award is the Chief Scout Award
Wood Badge in the United States is the highest level of adult Scout leader training available. It was first presented in England by the founder of Scouting, Baden Powell, and he introduced the program into the United States during a visit in 1936. The first course was held at the Mortimer L. Schiff Scout Reservation, but Americans did not fully adopt Wood Badge until 1948. The National BSA Council staff provided direct leadership to the program through 1958, when the increased demand encouraged them to permit local councils to deliver the training.
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.
Leadership training in the Boy Scouts of America includes training on how to administer the Scouting program, outdoor skills training for adults and youth, and leadership development courses for adults and youth. Some of these courses like Youth Protection Training are mandatory. Most of the courses are offered by the local council, while a few are hosted at the national level, currently at Philmont Training Center in New Mexico. They are available to members of all of the Boy Scout programs, including Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorer Posts, and Venturing Crews.
International Boy Scouts, Troop 1, Japan's first Boy Scout troop, was founded in 1911 with Clarence Griffin as Scoutmaster. Despite its early multinational character the troop's original registration was with the London headquarters of The Boy Scouts Association as "British Scouts in Foreign Countries". This initial charter was due to there being no international Boy Scout office and the "nationality requirement" that was in effect at the time. In 1918 the troop's character changed considerably when the new Scoutmaster, Bro. Joseph Janning, received approval from Lord Baden-Powell to officially reorganized the troop as a mixed-nationality, or "international", troop. B-P subsequently brought the Troop's situation before the 3rd World Scout Conference where the newly formed Boy Scouts International Bureau received approval to directly register Troop 1 and, in the future, other such "international" groups. The troop was then directly registered by the Boy Scouts International Bureau and was issued the Boy Scout movement's first "mixed nationality" charter, dated October 30, 1925, signed by Baden-Powell as Chief Scout and Hubert S. Martin as Director of the new International Bureau. Within a few years the nationality requirement was abolished and, even though the Bureau maintained the direct registration of Troop 1 and other groups already registered, new groups were requested to join the national organization of the country in which they were located and no new groups were chartered. Over the years the directly chartered groups one-by-one and for varied reasons slowly disbanded and by 1955 only Troop 1 remained. The troop has been continuously active, including war years, since its first meeting held in Yokohama, Japan on October 16, 1911 and currently consists of coed sections of Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts, Senior Scouts, and Veteran Scouts.