Suomen Partiolaiset r.y. - Finlands Scouter r.f. (The Guides and Scouts of Finland) is the national Scouting and Guiding association of Finland. Scouting was founded in Finland in 1910 as part of tsarist Russia, registered with the central organization of the tsarist Russian Scout movement Русский Скаут. Finnish Scouting was among the charter members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1922. Guiding started in 1910 and was among the founding members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. In 1972 the Girl Guide Association and the Boy Scout Association merged and formed Suomen Partiolaiset. The association has about 75,000 members of both sexes (according to its homepage).
In Finland, the Scouting movement was viewed early on as an alternative to the Pioneers communist youth organization, which was active for some time in the Baltic nation.
The Finnish Scout organization is a nonpolitical, nonsectarian and multilingual organization, as evidenced by the name of the organization itself, using both the Finnish and Swedish languages. Its religious neutrality is reflected in the previous Finnish Scout promise, which begins "I promise to love my God..." The promise has since been edited to remove all mentions of any god.
Scouting is one of the most popular hobbies in Finland. To live with nature, act according to its conditions and protecting and honoring it, is one of the cornerstones of Finnish Scouting. Another important objective is to learn social abilities. Finnish Scouts and Guides learn how to become knowledgeable and active citizens, at ease with other countries and cultures.
In this country of thousands of lakes and abundance of green forests, hikes and camps are a vital part of Scouting. Outdoor activities greatly put the knowledge and skills of the Scouts to the test. Winter camps and skiing tours in the midst of the snow is a thrilling experience.
All groups plan and execute their own programs and emphasize special interests. Community involvement and service to help members become active, responsible members of society are stressed in the program.
Sea Scouts carry out many kinds of activities related to sailing and undergo an extensive training program in seamanship, with an emphasis on safety. They have large on-the-water gatherings every year and a Sea Scout camp every four years.
The Finnish Scouts have close international ties with Scouts in other countries, particularly Scandinavian countries. They have also expanded its international connections to Russia through youth exchanges between the two countries. Scouts in Finland are actively involved in development projects in Africa and have raised funds for the immunization program for Nepal.
I promise, to the best of my ability,
to live for the benefit of my world and the world,
to grow in my belief
and to fulfill my age group's ideals every day.
The Finnish Scout promise previously stated:
I will love my God and my neighbour,
my native country and mankind
by fulfilling the Guide and Scout ideals in my life.
Toimen Pojat (Unga Fribyggare in Swedish), a Scouting troop in Kauniainen, Finland was established in 1910. Toimen Pojat is the oldest continuously operating Scout troop in Finland. During the Russian ban on Scouting in the 1910s before the Finnish independence in (1917), the troop operated underground. Many traditions that distinguish the troop formed during that period.
Suomen Partiolaiset is divided in 18 Scout districts, which resemble the former Finnish provinces. The only exception is Finlands Svenska Scouter r.f. serving the Swedish minority in Finland and the Åland Islands. 11% of the 7-10 year olds and 13% of 10-14 year old Finns are members of the organization. Girl Scouts represent 56% of the total. There are about 900 Scout troops.