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Scouting Around the World
Scouting began in England in 1907 based on Robert S. S. Baden-Powell's
ideas and book Scouting for Boys. The book and program proved to have
universal appeal for boys and quickly spread worldwide. Some aspects of the
program vary around the world, but the principles of the Scout Promise and
Law unite the world brotherhood of Scouting and prepare boys for adulthood
in today's world.
From its beginning on Brownsea Island, the Scouting idea spread around
the world until it became what it is nowthe largest voluntary youth
movement in the world, with a membership totaling more than 25 million.
Although there might be some differences in program administration, the
entire movement adheres to these fundamental principles:
- Duty to God and respect for individual beliefs
- Loyalty to one's country and respect for its laws
- Strength of world friendship and Scouting brotherhood
- Service to otherscommunity development
- Universal regard for the Scout Promise and Law as a life guide
- Voluntary membership
- Service by volunteer leaders
- Independence from political influence and control
- Training youth in responsible citizenship, physical and mental
development, and character guidance through use of the patrol
system, group activity, recognition through awards, and
learning by doing
- Outdoor program orientation
These acts and symbols of Scouting are familiar all over the world:
- Scout Promise and Lawduty to God and country
- Design of badgebasic trefoil
- "Be Prepared" motto
- Universal three-finger Scout signsign of personal honor
- Scout left handclasp
- Use of the patrol system
- Basic ideal of the Good Turn
A world jamboree is thousands of Scouts from many nations camping together in
the spirit of world friendship. Such friendships and the desire to know one another
overcome barriers of language and differences in custom, race, and religion, making
Scouting relevant to world brotherhood.
At jamborees, Scouts compete in Scout skills, trade friendship tokens, meet
around campfires, and make lifelong pen pals. They sample each other's foods;
play games; swim together; and learn Scout stunts, how to make gadgets, and
how Scouts live around the world. They also learn words and phrases in
The first world jamboree, called by Lord Baden-Powell in 1920, was held
in England. Since then every four years, except during World War II, Scouts
have met in a jamboree. The 17th World Scout Jamboree was held in Korea in
August 1991. The Netherlands hosted the event in 1995; Chile hosted it in
1998-99; and Thailand will host it in 2003.
The World Organization of the Scout Movement
The World Organization of the Scout Movement is composed of three parts.
The World Scout Conference is the general assembly of Scouting and is
composed of six delegates from each of the member Scout associations. If a
country has more than one association, the associations form a federation for
coordination and world representation. The basis for recognition and membership
in the World Scout Conference includes adherence to the aims and principles of
world Scouting and independence from political involvement on the part of each
The conference meets every three years, at which time basic cooperative
efforts are agreed upon and a plan of mutual coordination is adopted. The
last World Scout Conference was held in Durban, South Africa.
There are 145 member associations in the World Scout Conference.
The World Scout Committee is the executive body of the conference
and represents it between the meetings of the full conference. World Scout
Committee members are elected at the World Scout Conference for a term of
six years. The members are elected without regard to their nationality.
The World Scout Bureau is the secretariat that carries out the
instructions of the World Scout Conference and the World Scout Committee.
The World Scout Bureau office is in Geneva, Switzerland, with regional
offices in six areas around the world: Africa Region (Nairobi, Kenya),
Arab Region (Cairo, Egypt), Asia-Pacific Region (Manila, Philippines),
European (Geneva, Switzerland), Inter-American Region (Santiago, Chile),
and Eurasia Region (Yalta-Gurzuj, Ukraine).
The World Scout Bureau is administered by the Secretary General, who is
supported by a small staff of technical resource personnel. The bureau staff
helps associations improve and broaden their Scouting by training professionals
and volunteers, establishing sound finance policies and money-raising techniques,
improving community facilities and procedures, and assisting in marshaling the
national resources of each country behind Scouting.
The staff also helps arrange global events such as world jamborees, encourages
regional events, and acts as a liaison between the Scouting movement and other
international organizations. A major effort in the emerging nations is the
extension of the universal Good Turn into an organizationwide effort for
The Boy Scouts of America is represented in world contacts and developments
by the international commissioner.
The BSA is a charter member of the World Scout Conference and is an active
participant in its many and varied projects, services, and committees.
The BSA shares its resources, program materials, and volunteer and professional
expertise with the World Scout Bureau and its various associations throughout
The international efforts of the BSA are supported by the International
Committee, one of the operating committees of the National Executive Board,
and the staff of the International Division at the national office.
World Friendship Fund
The World Friendship Fund (WFF) of the Boy Scouts of America was developed
during the closing days of World War II. At the time, there was a great need
to rebuild Scouting in those nations that had been wracked by war and were
just emerging from the shadows of totalitarianism.
In the years that have elapsed, the WFF has aided virtually every nation
in the free world that has Scouting. Both those nations that have had Scouting
before and those newly emerging nations that desire the Scouting program for
their youth have been helped.
Through the WFF, voluntary contributions of Scouts and leaders are transformed
into cooperative projects that help Scouting associations in other countries to
strengthen and extend their Scouting programs.
A sampling of WFF-supported projects in recent years includes improved
facilities at Kandersteg International Scout Centre in Switzerland; desktop
publishing and Scout literature for the Scouts of Greece; adult training
materials for the Scout Association of Nicaragua; youth Scout program
literature for 11 Scout Associations of the Caribbean; supply of BSA handbooks
to the Scouts of Micronesia; assistance in the resurgence of Scouting in
Ethiopia; and camping equipment for underprivileged Scouts of the Guatamala
Since the beginning of the WFF, more than $1 million has been voluntarily
donated by American Scouts and leaders to these self-help activities.
National Boy Scouts of America Foundation
The United States Fund for International Scouting (USFIS), within the National
Boy Scouts of America Foundation, provides the opportunity for substantial support
of World Scouting by individual business, corporate, and foundation grants. This
fund is administered by an appointed committee of the BSA International Committee.
The National Boy Scouts of America Foundation has full tax privileges and is not
a private foundation.
Provision is made for trust and endowed instruments as well as current support
of special Scouting projects around the world. Grant proposals from Scout
Associations around the world are received and reviewed for disposition by
a volunteer committee.
Member Scout Associations of the World Organization
of the Scout Movement and Their Membership (www.scout.org)
|Bosnia & Herzegovina (4)||8,000|
|Brunei Darussalam (3)||2,617|
|Burkina Faso (1)||10,165|
|China, Scouts of (3)||69,353|
|Congo, The Democratic Republic of The (1)||62,842|
|Costa Rica (5)||11,729|
|Czech Republic (4)||26,133|
|Dominican Republic (5)||6,047|
|El Salvador (5)||4,180|
|Korea, Republic of (3)||247,445|
|Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (2)||14,220|
|Macedonia, the former Yugoslav, Republic of (4) ||3,443|
|Moldova, Republic of (6)||1,540|
|New Zealand (3)||28,531|
|Palestinian Authority (2)||20,275|
|Papua New Guinea (3)||1,674|
|San Marino (4)||200|
|Saudi Arabia (2)||19,267|
|Sierra Leone (1)||7,902|
|South Africa (1)||18,496|
|Sri Lanka (3)||21,653|
|St. Lucia (5)||393|
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines (5)||1,017|
|Tanzania, United Republic of (1)||49,993|
|Trinidad & Tobago (5)||6,600|
|United Arab Emirates (2)||5,824|
|United Kingdom (4)||542,277|
|United States (5)||6,253,606|
|(1) Africa Region||(2) Arab Region||(3) Asia-Pacific Region|
|(4) European Region||(5) Inter-American Region||(6) Eurasia Region|