10 Powerful Boy Scout Laws and History

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SAINT LOUIS, UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 16, 2017: Eagle patch and merit badge sash on Boy Scouts of America (BSA) uniform

The Boy Scout Law is a core component of the Boy Scout Method, which is defined as a system of progressive self-education. In this system, the Boy Scout Act defines an orientation framework, according to which the scouts shape their lives.

The Boy Scout Law was originally formulated by the founder of the Boy Scout Movement, Robert Baden-Powell. Building on this, various scout associations have developed their formulations, which usually differ only slightly in terms of content.

For more than 100 years now, Scouts have undertaken various activities in nature, engage in exciting projects, and take responsibility for themselves and others. Thelawaroundhere offers you a short outline of the scout law and the historical overview of this movement.

The original Boy Scout Law by Robert Baden-Powell 

In 1923 Lord Baden Powell formulated 10 Boy Scout Laws

A scout’s honor is to be trusted.

“You can rely on the honor of a boy scout.”

A Scout is loyal to the King, and his officers, and to his parents, his country, his employers, and to those under his orders.

“A Boy Scout is loyal to the (British) King and his officials, his parents, his country, his superiors and those under his command.”

A Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.

“A Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.”

A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout, no matter to what social class the other belongs.

“A Boy Scout is a friend to everyone and a brother to every Boy Scout, regardless of what social class the other belongs to.”

A scout is courteous.

“A boy scout is polite.”

A scout is a friend to animals.

“A boy scout is a friend of all animals.”

A Scout obeys orders of his parents, Patrol-leader, or Scout-master without question.

“A scout follows the instructions of his parents, his cornet or scout leader without question.”

A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.

“A boy scout smiles and whistles in all difficulties.”

A scout is thrifty.

“A boy scout is thrifty.”

A scout is clean in thought, word, and deed.

“A Boy Scout is pure in thoughts, words, and deeds.”

These Boy Scout Laws come in many different formulations. They have always been adapted to the times and their circumstances, but still, always contain the same content.

They demand loyalty, friendliness towards everyone, also towards strangers and those who think differently. Furthermore, they demand courtesy, a good relationship with nature, the will to live a simple life, and purity for body and mind.

The Scout Story

The scout movement was founded in 1907 by the Englishman Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, known as Baden-Powell or “BiPi”. Baden-Powell was born in London in 1857 and entered the service of the Royal Army at age 19. This took him to India, then a British colony, where he was responsible for the development of the concept of reconnaissance of unknown territories and the training of scouts, the “scouts”. Instead of giving strict orders, he trained his troops using the “learning by doing” system. In 1899, his first book “Aids to scouting” appeared. He recommended his reading to the scouts he trained.

Young people and responsibilities

Baden-Powell was sent to Africa several times. In 1900 he became a hero in England after successfully defending the town of Mafeking (now Mahikeng, South Africa) against the Boers despite vastly outnumbered troops. So that the soldiers were always ready to fight for real, Baden-Powell gave simple tasks to the young inhabitants of the city. Thus, they were responsible for information, sending messages, or helping as nurses. The young people were very involved and Baden-Powell understood something important and new: Young people are ready to take responsibility when they are trusted. This discovery was then revolutionary because pedagogues believed that education should be severe and authoritarian.

Robert Baden-Powell with Boy Scouts

A youth movement is founded

Because of these events and Baden-Powell’s fame, many young English people immersed themselves in his book “Aids to Scouting”. Baden-Powell responded by writing a new book called “Scouting for Boys” which encouraged young people to explore their surroundings. The book was meant to be a collection of suggestions for existing youth groups. But soon it turned out that a new youth movement was to emerge, the “boy scouts”. In 1907 Baden-Powell organized the first Scout camp for 21 young people on Brownsea Island.

For girls too

The idea of scouting spread quickly, also among girls. Given the great interest of women in this initiative, Baden-Powell and her sister Agnes jointly wrote a manual for girl scouts, known as “girl guides”. Agnes took over the management of the “girl guides” and would later pass it on to Olave Baden-Powell, her brother’s wife. The Girl Scouts quickly became Britain’s largest youth organization and the Scout idea was exported around the world. Scouting thus gained an international dimension that it has preserved and developed until today: A youth movement promoting understanding between peoples.

In 2007, Scouting celebrates its 100 years of existence, with several major events such as the renewal of the promise that took place on 1st August all over the world, JAMbe (gathering of 95,000 Scouts and Guides in Belgium, which constitutes a record 6 ), the world jamboree in Chelmsford and on the island of Brownsea ( United Kingdom ), or the jamboree of Chambord (France) bringing together more than 17,300 Unitary Scouts of France (SUF) out of 23,700, or the Aquajam bringing together French and Spanish pioneers and caravels in the Pyrenees.

In 2008, there were more than 28 million scouts and more than 10 million guides in the world, spread across 216 countries.

Purpose and principles

According to the World Organization of the Scout Movement, the purpose and principles of the Scout movement are:

Purpose

The Scout movement aims to contribute to the development of young people by helping them to fully realize their physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual possibilities, as persons, as responsible citizens, and as members of local, national, and international communities.

Principles
  • Duty to God (exception if the movement is neutral or secular)

– Adherence to spiritual principles, fidelity to the religion that expresses them, and acceptance of the duties which result from them.

  • Duty to others

– Loyalty to one’s country to promote peace, understanding, and cooperation at the local, national, and international levels.

– Participation in the development of society with respect for human dignity and the integrity of nature.

  • Duty to oneself

– Responsibility for one’s development

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