- Doug Cook
11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month…
How the ending of World War 1 creates a new chapter in the history of the Scout Movement
In 1907 the founder of the Scout Movement, Robert Baden-Powell (B-P), conducted an experiment to see if his ideas of a youth movement called Scouting would work. This first campout was located on a small island on the southeast coast of the United Kingdom called Brownsea. 21 boys attended this camp and scouting is born.
By July 1914, the outbreak of World War 1 began. Several of the 21 boys that camped on the first campout in 1907 now were adults and served in the British Expeditionary Force. One died near Flanders France, another from a poison gas attack.
Scouting was first envisioned by its founder as a program to build better citizens of Great Britain. When scouting expanded beyond his home country, he welcomed and encouraged it’s growth. Scouting and Guiding spread worldwide.
B-P discovered a new mission for Scouting and Guiding after the conclusion of World War 1. He felt that Scouting’s values could create bridges of friendship to become a peace movement. His vision expands from one which develops character, fitness and citizenship towards welcoming a worldwide fellowship. It was his goal that this movement could help prevent another such terrible event.
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“Peace cannot be secured entirely by commercial interests, military alliances, general disarmament or mutual treaties, unless the spirit for peace is there in the minds and will of the peoples. This is a matter of education.”
– Robert Baden-Powell (1926)
The first World Scout Jamboree is an effort to begin this process of interactive fellowship. Held in the United Kingdom in 1920, thirty four nations attended.
“The Jamboree has taught us that if we exercise mutual forbearance and give-and-take, then there is sympathy and harmony. If it be your will, let us go forth from here fully determined that we will develop among ourselves and our boys that comradeship, through the world-wide spirit of the Scout Brotherhood so that we may help to develop peace and happiness in the world and good will among men.”
– Robert Baden Powell – 1st World Scout Jamboree (1920)
In 1924, the spirit of the Jamboree becomes embedded and it became an quadrennial recurring celebration.
“The year 1924 brought the Imperial Jamboree at Wembley, the World Camp at Foxlease and the Second International Jamboree in Denmark. At these events, Baden Powell coupled pleas for peace and world brotherhood with denunciations of the Great War.”
Tim Jeal, “Baden-Powell”, Ed. Hutchinson, London, Sydney, Auckland and Johannesbourg, 1989,
Scouting and Peace
More about how scouting worldwide seeks to continue to build bridges of friendship can be discovered in this document from the World Organization of the Scout Movement.
24th World Scout Jamboree
In 2019, the 24th World Scout Jamboree continues the worldwide fellowship of Scouting.