The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated on February 8, 1910:

The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated on February 8, 1910:


Charterhouse public schoolboy Robert Baden-Powell had an interest in the outdoors. His first introduction to Scouting skills was through stalking and cooking game while avoiding teachers in the nearby woods, which were strictly out-of-bounds.

Later, as a military officer, Baden-Powell was stationed in British India in the 1880s where he took an interest in military scouting and in 1884 he published Reconnaissance and Scouting.

Baden-Powell won fame as commander of the garrison during the 217-day siege of Mafeking in the Second South African War (1899–1900). This rise to fame fueled the sales of the small instruction book he had written in 1899 about military scouting and wilderness survival, Aids to Scouting.

Baden-Powell in 1896

On his return to England, Baden-Powell noticed that boys showed considerable interest in Aids to Scouting, which was being used by teachers and youth organizations. He was urged to rewrite this book for boys.

In 1906 and 1907 Baden-Powell wrote Scouting for Boys. He took many ideas from the experiences he made with the Mafeking Cadet Corps a paramilitary group of youths formed during the Mafeking siege. The youngsters supported the troops by carrying messages, which freed the men for military duties and kept the boys occupied.

Cover of first part of Scouting For Boys, January 1908

In the summer of 1907 Robert Baden-Powell held a camp to test ideas for his book. Twenty boys, drawn from Eton and Harrow public schools plus Poole and Bournemouth locals spent the week from August 1 to August 8 camping on Brownsea Island, in Poole Harbor on the south coast of England.

The boys  were organised into patrols (Bulls, Wolves, Curlews and Ravens), wore khaki, used the motto Be Prepared”, studied cooking, fire-lighting, wildlife, life-saving and patriotism, and were given tests on knots and tracking. Reveille was at 6am, there was a compulsory siesta and lights out at 9.30pm. The public schoolboys were charged £1, the others 3/6d (17 1/2p).

Scouting for Boys was published in six fortnightly instalments of approximately 70 pages each, from January to March 1908. These six publications were a success and, as planned, were issued in book form on May 1, 1908.

The Brownsea camp and the publication of Scouting for Boys are generally regarded as the start of the Scout movement.

In 1909 Chicago newspaper and magazine publisher William D. Boyce was visiting London, when he found himself lost on a foggy street. He encountered a boy who came to his aid, guiding him to his destination. The boy refused Boyce’s tip, explaining that he was a Boy Scout and was merely doing his daily good turn. Boyce’s fascination was aroused and he met with staff at the Boy Scouts Headquarters. Upon his return to the US, Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910.

Robert Baden Powell faced with an increasing number of girls wishing to take part in his scouting movement. He decided that girls should have their own separate organization, and the Girl Guides were founded by him and his sister Agnes in the UK in 1910.

During the first half of the 20th century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups for boys (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Rover Scout) and for girls (Brownie Guide, Girl Guide and Girl Scout, Ranger Guide).

First procession of Armenian Scouts in Constantinople in 1918

Worldwide, as of 2010, there are over 32 million registered Scouts and as of 2006 10 million registered Guides, operating in nearly every country.

Indonesia  has the highest amount of scouting participants worldwide with 17,100,000 male and female members.

Wikipedia Commons

In Cuba, there was a Scout organisation, but the Communist government replaced it by the José Martí Pioneer Organization. Also scouting organisations have been banned in the People’s Republic of China. They have been replaced by Young Pioneers of China and Communist Youth League of China. Both the Cuban and Chinese  organisations are similar to Scouts, but without the international brotherhood and the peace mission.

Davis Beckham, Keith Richards and Tony Blair were all scouts.

All but one of the astronauts who walked on the Moon had been scouts.


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