Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Österreichs
Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Österreichs (PPÖ; Austrian Boy Scouts and Girl Guides) is the largest Scouting and Guiding organization in Austria and the only one approved by World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). There are more than 300 troops (local units) with more than 85,000 Scouts nationwide (according to the website). WOSM and WAGGGS give quite smaller membership values for the PPÖ: 10,688 Scouts and 10,508 Guides (both as of 2003).
The badge of the PPÖ is dark red with a white combination of a fleur-de-lis and a trefoil, the symbols of WOSM and WAGGGS, respectively. In the center of the crest is a lighter red-and-white shield bearing the heraldic colors of Austria. The badges of both supranational organizations are also used.
The first Austrian Scouting was founded in 1909 under Austria-Hungary. In 1910, the first Scout group - still in existence today - was founded in Wiener Neustadt. In 1912, Emmerich Teuber began the first Scout group in Vienna. The Catholic Church simultaneously founded the Pfadfinderkorps Sankt Georg. The first camps were held in 1913.
As the movement spread, Girl Guides joined in 1913 and troops were founded all over the country. The national organization, the Österreichischer Pfadfinderbund (ÖPB), was founded in April 1914. including the Girl Guide movement. After World War I, Scouting developed separate organizations in Hungary and in other areas of the fractured Habsburg Empire.
The ÖPB's programs expanded, including Cub Scouts in 1920 and Rovers in 1921. Austria's movement also gained international recognition as a founder member of WOSM during an international conference in 1922; it hosted another international conference in 1931 (in Baden bei Wien). The Girl Guides association grew more prominent with the foundation of the Österreichischer Pfadfinderinnenbund, which was part of the national organization and was led by Marie Antoinette Hofmann; this was followed by an independent girls association, formed in 1929, called Bund der Helferinnen.
Beginning in 1934, there was a non-Scouting youth organization run by the state, which provided competition for Austrian Scouts. With the arrival of the Nazis and World War II, however, Scouting in Austria was banned. In 1938, a number of Scout leaders were arrested and Scouting went underground, becoming associated with the Red Cross for example. At the first celebration of the end of World War II, there were Scouts in uniform on the streets.
The Boy Scouts were readmitted to WOSM in 1946. Following the way, the national organizations combined to form the Pfadfinder Österreichs, which hosted the 7th World Jamboree in Bad Ischl in 1951 with 12,884 participants from 61 countries.
The first national Austrian jamboree occurred in 1961, and continued every ten years. There were a number of girl's splinter organizations following the war, including Charlotte Teuber-Weckersdorf's Bund Österreichischer Pfadfinderinnen and eventually the Östereichischer Pfadfinderinnenverband Sankt Georg (ÖPVSG). In 1957, the ÖPVSG became an associate member of WAGGGS, receiving full member status in 1969.
The boys and girls associations were finally merged again in 1976, forming the modern Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Österreichs.
There are nine geographical divisions of the PPÖ, one for each State of Austria. Every Scout wears the badge of his state on his uniform.
- Vorarlberg - cloth banner on a white field
- Tyrol - red eagle on a white field
- Salzburg - red yellow lion on white
- Upper Austria - red and white stripes with a yellow eagle on a black field
- Lower Austria - blue field with five yellow eagles
- Styria - green field with a white panther
- Carinthia - white field with three red yellow lions on the left side
- Burgenland - yellow field with a red eagle on a stone
- Vienna - red with a white cross
There are four age divisions of the PPÖ.
- Age 7 - 10 - Wichtel (girls; Brownies) and Wölflinge (boys; Cub Scouts)
- Age 10 - 13 - Guides (girls) and Späher (boys)
- Age 13 - 16 - Caravelles (girls) and Explorers (boys)
- Age 16 - 20 - Rangers (girls) and Rovers (boys, Rover Scouts)
Some troops have introduced a Biber division for children younger than 7, but that age division is not approved by the PPÖ.