Non-aligned Scouting and Scout-like organisations

From ScoutWiki, For Everyone, Everywhere involved with Scouting and Guiding...
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Scout Movement has led to the formation of many Scouting organizations around the world. The mainstream Scout Movement is now served by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). Only one Scouting organization per country is recognized by WAGGGS and WOSM.

Terminology used in this article:
Scouting organisations that are not a member of WAGGGS or WOSM are non-aligned organisations. Youth organisations whose origin was the mainstream Scout Movement but are no longer associated with it are breakaway organisations; a breakaway organization may also be a Scouting or Scout-like organization. Scout-like youth organisations have been created both prior to and after the origin of the Scout Movement, and are characterized by use or mimicry of part of the Scout Method.

Aligned and non-aligned Scouting organisations

Since its inception in 1907, the Scout Movement has spread from the United Kingdom to 216 countries and territories around the world. There are at least 520 separate national or regional Scouting associations in the world and most have felt the need to create international Scouting organisations to set standards for Scouting and to coordinate activities among member associations.

Six international Scouting organisations serve 437 of the world's national associations, plus a seventh that is just for adults. The largest two international organisations, WOSM and WAGGGS, count 362 national associations as members, encompassing 38 million Scouts and Guides. Other multinational Scouting organisations include the Confédération Européenne de Scoutisme, Union Internationale des Guides et Scouts d'Europe, and World Federation of Independent Scouts.

Additionally, there are over 80 Scouting associations or umbrella federations that are not aligned with any international Scouting organisation. Among single-country Scout associations are the Éclaireurs Neutres de France. There are also many single groups that are not affiliated with any regional or national association and the majority of these are in Germany, where Scouting is very fragmented. Membership in non-aligned Scouting organizations worldwide is roughly 300,000 to 500,000 individuals.

Scout-like youth organisations

There are also some similar organisations linked to movements such as organised churches, such as Salvation Army's Adventure Corps, Adventism's Pathfinders, the Nazarene Caravan and the pentecostal Royal Rangers. Other groups such as the Camp Fire USA, YMCA, YWCA, Sokol, Rotaract, Boys' Brigade and Girls' Brigade also have similarities with Scouting, although some of those actually predate the foundation of Scouting. The TUXIS and Trail Rangers movements were similar organisations which originated about the same time as Scouting; however, these organisations were unable to recover from the disruption of World War II and post-war competition with the Scouting movement. The Future Farmers of America and 4-H are also sometimes seen as Scout-like organisations.

South Africa's Voortrekkers are an Afrikaner youth movement founded in 1931 as some Afrikaners found it difficult to participate in a movement founded by their Boer War opponent, Lord Baden-Powell.

Political and military Scouting substitutes

Scouting has been banned in certain nations and remains banned in some of them. Some countries that have banned Scouting replaced it with youth organisations that are not considered part of the Scouting movement. The USSR banned Scouting in 1922, creating a separate Young Pioneer organization of the Soviet Union, which gave birth to the Pioneer Movement, still existing in some fashion in the People's Republic of China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam, and has been turned into a nationalist movement in Tajikistan-the King Somoni Inheritance. Currently, there are no externally recognised Scout organisations in Cuba, North Korea, Laos, Myanmar, and the People's Republic of China (except Hong Kong and Macau, which each have a Scouting organisation).

In many parts of Europe there exists the socialist Red Falcons forming the International Falcon Movement - Socialist Education International (IFM - SEI). The Woodcraft Folk is the UK branch of IFM-SEI. These organisations adapt many of the methods of Scouting in a socialist orientation. Examples are the Children's Republic, camps run by the SJD-The Falken in Germany in the 1920s, however unlike the concurring Pioneer Movements, IFM – SEI works to further democracy.

Other politically based youth movements still in existence include Fianna na hÉireann, an Irish republican youth movement.

In the parliamentary democracy of Andorra, Scouting does not exist, though not because of any bans on such organisations.

Prior to World War II, Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary and Romania disbanded Scouting. Germany created the Hitler-Jugend (Hitler Youth) organisation; Mussolini had a fascist youth organisation, the Balilla; and Romania under the Iron Guard had the Străjeria.

Breakaway organisations

Between the first publication of Scouting for Boys and the creation of the first supranational Scout organisation, the World Organization of the Scout Movement, fifteen years had passed and millions of copies of the appealing handbook had been sold in dozens of languages. By that point, Scouting was the purview of the world's youth, no longer containable by any one school of thought.

Many groups have formed since the original formation of the Scouting "Boy Patrols." Some are a result of groups or individuals who refuse to follow the original ideals of Scouting but still desire to participate in Scout-like activities. Others maintain that the WOSM is currently far more political and less youth based than ever envisioned by Lord Baden-Powell. They believe that Scouting in general has moved away from its original intent, because of political machinations that happen to longstanding organisations, and seek to return to the earliest, simplest methods.

The first schism within Scouting occurred during November 1909, when the British Boy Scouts (later the Brotherhood of British Scouts, and known internationally as the Order of World Scouts) was formed, initially comprising an estimated 25 percent of all Scouts in the United Kingdom, but rapidly declining from 1911 onward. The organisation was formed by Sir Francis Vane because of perceptions of bureaucracy and militaristic tendencies in the mainstream movement. With several smaller organisations, such as the Boy's Life Brigade Scouts they formed the National Peace Scouts federation. The British Girl Scouts were the female counterpart of the British Boy Scouts.

In 1916 a group of Scoutmasters in Cambridge, led by Ernest Westlake and his son Aubrey, who believed that the movement had moved away from its early ideals and had lost its woodcraft character, founded the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry. The order survives to this day in England.

In the years following the First World War, the Commissioner for Camping and Woodcraft John Hargrave, broke with what he considered to be the Scouts' militaristic approach and founded a breakaway organisation, the Kibbo Kift, taking a number of similar-minded Scoutmasters and troops with him.[1] This organisation was the direct antecedent of the Woodcraft Folk.

Traditional Scouting

Baden-Powell Scouts were formed in 1970, initially in the United Kingdom but now also elsewhere, when it was felt that the "modernisation" of Scouting was abandoning the traditions and intentions established by Baden-Powell. Another modern breakway group is the Christian American Heritage Girls, formed in 1995 in response to the perceived growing liberalism in the Girl Scouts of the USA.[2] In Canada and to some extent in the United States, there is a Traditional Scouting movement, seeking to take Scouting back to the way it was in Baden-Powell's days.[3]


Scouts-in-Exile groups formed overseas from their native country as a result of war and changes in governments. For the Scouts-in-exile groups, serving the community outside their homelands, there is resentment that they were not recognised during their nations' totalitarian periods. These groups often provided postal delivery and other basic services in displaced-persons camps.[4]

See also


  1. "Official Site". Kibbo Kift Foundation. Retrieved 2006-07-25. 
  2. "Official Site". American Heritage Girls. Retrieved 2006-07-25. 
  3. "Official Site". Traditional Scouting. Retrieved 2006-07-25. 
  4. Victor M. Alexieff (September 1982). "The Other Ones - Scouts in Exile". SOSSI Journal XXXVII (9). 

External links