Later when he became the officer-in-charge of the British town of ‘Mafeking’ in South Africa, which was surrounded by a very large company of Boers (Dutch settlers), he was able to keep them at bay for six months merely due to his novel scout ways. In this task he was greatly helped by the young boys of the town. Baden Powell’s novel ideas of survival in the midst of enemy won him a great deal of acclaim and international praise.
Baden Powell thought that scouting would be a good training to the young, even in peace time as well. Therefore, in 1908 he organised a camp on the Brown Sea island near the coast of England to train his first group of scouts which consisted of 24 boys from all over England. For two weeks, these boys were taught the principles and methods of scouting. At night, they used to sit around the campfire, singing and telling stories. Thus, started the scout movement. Thereafter, Baden Powell published his ideas in a book named ‘Scouting for Boys’. In no time the movement became popular and scout troops were formed all over the world. Baden Powell left the army and devoted his entire life, until his death in 1941 to the development of this movement. He also started a similar movement for girls in 1910 with the help of his sister, Agnes.
The scout movement has a well-organised set-up. Boys from the age of 8 to 11 years are called cub scouts while boys from 11 to 15 years are known as scouts. The next group consists of boys between 15 to 18 years of age. They are called senior scouts, while boys from 18 to 24 years are known as Ranger Scouts.
Girl guides are also grouped in the same way as boy scouts. The main motto of scouts is ‘ Be Prepared’. They are taught to be prepared for all situations in life. They take three promises, namely, to do their duty to God and country, to help all people at all times and to obey the scout laws.
Scouting instills in the young, minds, several fine qualities. First and foremost, it makes them disciplined, self-reliant, helpful and courteous. It makes them brave and alert at all times. It teaches them to face the odds of life cheerfully and courageously. The movement promotes honesty, loyalty to the country, patriotism, brotherhood, respect for elders, etc. It enables them to be clean in thought, word and action. All these qualities would stand in good stead in the future and would make the youth of today, worthwhile citizens of the country.
Thus, there is very little doubt about the value of scout movement. It is indeed, a noble movement of young boys and girls. It promotes several fine qualities in the young and makes them worthwhile and disciplined citizens of the country. Therefore, all attempts should be made to promote this great movement wherever possible.