Lietuvos Skautija, the primary national Scouting organization of Lithuania, became a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1997. The coeducational Lietuvos Skautija has 2,074 members as of 2004.
History of Lithuanian Scouting
Scouting first came to Lithuania in 1909, as part of tsarist Russia. The indigenous Lithuanian Scout movement began in 1918, when the first Scout troop was founded in Vilnius by Scouter Petras Jurgela. In 1922, the first Scout General Assembly united the Lithuanian Scout Movement into the Scout Association of Lithuania. In 1924, the Scout Association of Lithuania was registered as a member of the World Bureau. Lithuania was a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement from 1923 to 1940. Scouting prospered until 1940, when occupation forces banned Scouting.
In 1940, the Soviet occupation of Lithuania resulted in Scouting being banned. In the years after World War II, an exile Scouting movement started in the camps for displaced persons, and provided a makeshift but quite effective camp postal system, using Scout postage stamps like the one illustrated.
Many of the Scouts-in-Exile soon moved to the United States and Australia. The organization was able to continue its work abroad, and grew into a large organization with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and academic Scout divisions in Canada, the United States, Australia, England, Germany, Italy, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. If the Scouting movement had not been kept alive in the diaspora, Scouting would have had a slower time being reestablished upon Lithuania's regaining of independence.
On April 29, 1989, on the eve of Lithuanian independence, the Scout Movement in Lithuania was reestablished and Scouting activity restarted. Regular contacts were established and maintained with WOSM. In November, 1989, after the fall of communism, Scouting formally reemerged in the newly democratic Lithuania. Scouting in Lithuania is conducted by several organizations. In 1992, Scouting in Lithuania applied for membership in WOSM. Their constitution was approved by the World Committee. However, serious conflicts with the organization of Lithuanian Scouting, especially former Scouts, resulted in the postal vote being suspended. From 1992 to 1995, attempts were made to insure democratic decision-making processes and to simplify structure, with little progress made.
A new association, formed by the majority of youth leaders in all regions of Lithuania as well as by key members of the former National Council, was created in the spring of 1995 under the name Lietuvos Skautija. It was registered by the Ministry Of Justice in September, 1995. A meeting of the General Assembly was called in November, 1996, which was open to all active leaders registered in any of the several Scout Associations existing in Lithuania. A new constitution, conforming to WOSM requirements was adopted and a new National Council was elected. Members of Lietuvos Skautija, Lietuvos Skautų Sàjunga and the Lithuanian Sea Scout Association attended as delegates. The Lietuvos Lenka Skautų Sajunga (the Polish Scout Association in Lithuania) attended as observers. Representatives of all the above mentioned associations were involved in the drafting of the constitution and planning the meeting. It was confirmed by the General Assembly that the name of the organization would henceforth be Lietuvos Skautija, Lithuanian Scouting.
Lietuvos Skautija (Lithuanian Scouting) is the World Organization of the Scout Movement recognized Scout organization. Lithuania was readmitted as a national member organization of WOSM on July 25, 1997. Lietuvos Skautija has a membership of 2,074 boys and girls as of 2004, spread throughout the country. Lietuvos Skautija has sent contingents to European and World Scout events. Lietuvos Skautija was represented at the 1995 and 1998 World Jamborees, and held a national camp in 1998 to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the founding of Scouting in Lithuania.
Program sections and ideals
- Cub Scouts-7 to 11
- Scouts-12 to 15
- Rovers-16 to 20
The Scout Motto is "Budek", translating as "Be Prepared" in Lithuanian. The Lithuanian noun for a single Scout is Skautas.
Do not expect anything from others, always give them what you can. Live for your Motherland and mankind; be a friend of nature and animals. Be a gentleman and a protector of the poor and weak, and always take the right road. Strengthen your body and soul and educate yourself. May your will be as a bowstring resiliently drawn. Follow Saint George, the patron of Scouts: exterminate the evil in the world, but first of all in yourself. First think of others and only then yourself. Grow up as a mighty oak tree and do not bow down as a weeping willow. Be better tomorrow than you are today or than you were yesterday. Keep God in your heart and remember your motto "Be Prepared".
- A Scout is straight forward and keeps his or her word.
- A Scout is faithful to God and his or her Motherland.
- A Scout is useful and helps his or her in neighbors.
- A Scout is a friend to his or her neighbors and is a brother to another Scout.
- A Scout is polite and gentlemanlike.
- A Scout is a friend of nature.
- A Scout obeys his or her parents and the authorities.
- A Scout is lively, does not lose both self-control and hope.
- A Scout is thrifty.
- A Scout is sober and chaste in his or her own mind, words and actions.
- Scouting in Lithuania
- Lithuanian Riflemen's Union
Partially distilled from Eurofax 59, August 1997. Eurofax is the monthly newsletter of the European Region of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). It is produced by the European Scout Office and is distributed by fax to all member associations in the European Scout Region and the Europe Region WAGGGS, and others.