Baden-Powell Scouts' Association

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Membership badge of the United Kingdom Baden-Powell Scouts

The Baden-Powell Scouts' Association (BPSA) is based in the UK with affiliations in various countries. Baden-Powell Scouting focuses on the importance of tradition in the Scout movement.The United Kingdom, Ireland, Argentina, Malaysia, Germany, Denmark, Ghana and Canada have traditional organisations that are members of the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association (BPSA).

The Baden-Powell Scout Association shares the heritage of the youth Scouting Movement, however they believe in a more traditional way of Scouting which closely follows the program set out by Baden-Powell in his book: Scouting for Boys. They are not a historical re-creation society.

It was formed in the United Kingdom in 1970 when it was felt that rest of the Scout Movement was abandoning the traditions and intentions set out by General Robert Baden-Powell in 1907. The Baden-Powell Scouts retain the belief that essence of the movement should be based on outdoor activities related to the skills of explorers, backwoodsmen and frontiersmen.

It is a voluntary, non-formal educational charity movement for young people. It is independent, non-political, non-military, and open to all without distinction of origin, race, creed or gender, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by Robert Baden-Powell.

As an independent Scout Association, they are members of the World Federation of Independent Scouts (WFIS). The WFIS was formed in Laubach, Germany, in 1996 by Lawrie Dring, President of the BPSA, a British Scouter with the independent Baden-Powell Scouts' Association (BPSA). This is a world body that recognises Independent Scouts Associations in countries across the globe which teach traditional Baden-Powell Scouting values. Their aim is to improve the standard of our future citizens with the object of using their efficiency for service for their fellows.[1]



In 1907, General Robert Baden-Powell was inspecting 7,000 members of the Boy's Brigade at Glasgow. Sir William Smith, the founder of The Boy's Brigade, asked Baden-Powell if he had ever considered rewriting his training manual for soldiers, "Aids To Scouting for N.C.O.s and Men" to make it appeal to boys. As a result of this conversation Baden-Powell ran an experimental camp for 20 boys at Brownsea Island Scout camp to test out theories on providing activities for boys.[2]

In 1908 he published a series of magazines, Scouting for Boys, which suggested activities that existing youth organisations could make use of. [3] An unexpected result of this was the formation of Scout Patrols around the country, all of which followed the principles set out in Baden-Powell's work. In 1910 this led Baden-Powell to form the The Boy Scout Association as a national body to organise and support the Scout Patrols.

Scouting in the UK continued to follow the programme established by Baden-Powell until 1967, and the publication of the Advance Party Report, which introduced major changes to the uniform, sections and programme.


In 1969 a pressure group was formed within The Scout Association, known as The Scout Action Group. They did not agree with elements of the changes proposed by the Advance Party Report, and asked that Groups wishing to maintain a more traditional approach to Scouting should be allowed to do so.

In mid-1970 The Scout Action Group published The Black Report, which outlined their views. As a result of the discussions, the whole organisation factioned into two groups on 20th September 1970 - the Scout Association and the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association - neither being able to claim the other was more or less scouting than the other. [4]

Due to internal arguments the Association split into two separate organisations in 1979, with both Associations claiming the name and charity number of the Association. The two factions reconciled their differences in June 1990, and in 1994 there were nearly 70 Groups in the Association.

In the 1990s there was a dip in the number of active Groups in the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association, in common with a fall in numbers experienced by The Scout Association at that time, and the number of Groups had dropped to around 40 in 2001.[4]. As with The Scout Association, the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association has shown subsequent growth in numbers with the opening of new groups [5].

The BPSA celebrated 100 years of Scouting in 2007, issuing centenary badges and holding their own Centenary Camp. In 2008 the Association marked the centenary of the first official Scout Camp held by Baden-Powell with a Jamboree Camp and ceremonies at Hexham Priory and the original Carr Edge camp site.[6]


The main policy is Traditional Scouting – which is taking Baden-Powell’s 10 Scout Laws and using them, the same rank system BP used of tenderpad, first star and second star in Wolf Cubs. They use the Grand Howl at the beginning of Wolf Cub meetings and for Scouts and Senior Scouts they use the same ranks as in Scouting for Boys with Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, First Class, Scout Cord etc. Once a Scout is invested Lord Baden-Powell believed that he would continue to live the Scout Law. This law is kept by Scouts from the age of ten and Adult Leaders must renew their promise on regular occasions. The original Scout Law, written by Lord Baden-Powell, appeared in 1908 and is as follows:

  1. A Scout's honour is to be trusted
  2. A Scout is Loyal to the King and to his officers, and to his country, and to his employers.
  3. A Scout's duty is to be useful and to help others.
  4. A Scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout, no matter to what social class the other belongs.
  5. A Scout is Courteous.
  6. A Scout is a friend to animals.
  7. A Scout obeys orders of his patrol leader or scout master without question.
  8. A Scout smiles and whistles under all circumstances.
  9. A Scout is thrifty.

In 1911, 8 was modified and 10 was added:
8. A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.
10. A Scout is clean in thought, word and deed.

The Baden-Powell Scouts Association hold the ideals of Scouting that were created by Baden-Powell. The history of the association dates back to the foundations of Scouting in the UK in 1908. The association used the same badge system, ranks and uniform that were worn by Scouts nearly 100 years ago. They follow a charter set down in their Policy Association Rules. They have no paid Executive Staff or Leaders. The traditional programme also develops a sense of duty, personal discipline and honour. Scouts in the BPSA practise traditional Scouting skills:

  • lighting fire by friction
  • navigating by means other than a compass
  • backwoods cooking
  • camping in self erected "bivvys"

The Baden-Powell Scouts Association is affiliated to the umbrella organisation The World Federation of Independent Scouts. They are also affiliated with other Traditional Scout Associations around the world. The Baden-Powell Scouts use the original programmes and wear traditional uniforms.


The Scout sections wear the traditional uniform designed by Baden-Powell, with allowances made for regional climate and health and safety reasons.

  • Headwear: Beret, with the Section badge in front, or Campaign Hat.
  • Scarf: Of the Group colour worn with a woggle or a loose knot at the throat.
  • Shirt: In non Sea or Air Groups, a khaki shirt. Air Scouts wear Wedgewood Blue.
  • Shorts or trousers: Khaki or dark blue for Air Scouts.
  • Belt: Brown leather, Official pattern.
  • Socks: Any plain colour, worn turned down below the knee
  • Boots or shoes: Brown or black.
  • Shoulder badge: Indicating the Group, worn on the right shoulder.



The Baden-Powell Scout's Association retains the pre-Advance Party Report Scout sections, the traditional UK Scout sections[7] developed by Baden-Powell[8], to which Beavers were added in 1982. The Association is open to males and females in mixed and separate sections.

The sections (Beavers to Senior Scouts) are led by a Section Leader, who must hold a warrant for the position, aided by assistant leaders. Other adults who help run a section may be volunteers (such as parents of children in the Group), Instructors (Scouts, Senior Scouts and Rovers that have been trained to assist the leaders), and members of the Group Executive Committee who help operate the Group financially. Rover Crews mainly govern themselves, but are assisted by a Rover Scout Master who ensures that the Crew is working within the rules of the association.

Section Ages Controlled by Activities
Beavers 5–8 Group A program of outdoor activities, creative play, music, and cooperative games.
Wolf Cubs 7½–11 Group Introduction to the Scouting skills needed for their future life in the Troop.
Scouts 10½–15 Group The B-P Scouts follow much the same Training Scheme as laid down by Baden — Powell in Scouting For Boys.
Senior Scouts 15–18 Group Increased emphasis on personal challenge and adventure. The St. George's Award is the highest gained.
Rover Scouts 18+ Group The final stage in the system of training. The highest award is the Baden-Powell Award.

Group Branches

There are Air Scouts and the provision for Sea Scouts within the organisation. Both of these branches follow the same core programme as other Sections but add more aeronautical or nautical emphasis depending on the branch.

Child Protection

In common with other youth organisations all adults involved have to undergo extended criminal record checks since their introduction in 1997. There is a full child protection policy in place equivalent to the Scout Association's 'yellow card'.[9]

International Affiliated Associations


The B-PSA Federation of Canada was established in Victoria, British Columbia in February 1996, originally as the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association of Canada (B-PSAC), and shares its aims with the other branches on the B-PSA.


The Yellow Scouts of Denmark - Baden-Powell Scouts (De Gule Speijdere i Danmark) started on 25th February 1984, as "Det Danske Pige- og Drenge Spejderkorps", aiming to return to a more traditional scouting approach as a response to changes in the mainstream Danish scouting movement.[10]


The Baden-Powell Scouts Association is active in Ghana. The Baden-Powell Scouts of Ghana operates in Acyra, Ghana. It has a Beaver Lodge of 40, two Wolf Cub Packs of 30 and a Scout Troop of 48 members.[11]


As an affiliated Association BPSA Ireland follows the same Policy Association Regulations as the BPSA. Some minor modifications occur to badge work – for example in the UK some badges make reference to Queen and Monarchy – BPSA Ireland will make reference to the President of Ireland or the Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann.

United States

The Baden-Powell Scout Association became a registered corporation in the United States of America in June 2002[12], and was issued federal non-profit organization status, operating the 1st Tarrant Scout Group in Texas, notable as the first B-PSA group to operate in the United States.[13]


Official Sites

External links

  • WFIS - World Federation of Independent Scouts
  • Irish Badges - Irish Scout Badge website maintained by Kiernan Gildea
  • Escouts - UK Scouting Host and Forums