How girls began to take an interest in the Scout movement and how Baden-Powell’s wife, Olave, lived out her husband’s legacy.
The Girls Scout Law
The Scout Law is positive and offers proposals that help boys and girls to build their lives. The law is the central pillar of the method because it defines the scout and the guide.
“The law and the promise of the Cub and the Wolf are naturally simpler than those of the Scout and the Guide: it would hardly be fair to ask the little ones to make promises they cannot understand and to take on tasks they cannot perform ”(Baden-Powell, Le Livre des Louveteaux).
“The law of Rover Scouts and Elder Guides is the same as that of Scouts and Guides in form and spirit, but you have to see it from a different point of view, from a man’s point of view. . In both cases, the fundamental principle of the Scout Law kicks out selfishness and introduces the goodwill and help towards others “(Baden-Powell, The Road to Success).
Dictates of the Girls Scout Law
The Girls Scout Law is outlined thus:
The guide puts her honor to deserve trust
The guide is loyal to her country, her parents, her leaders, and her subordinates.
The guide is made to serve and save her neighbor.
The guide is good for everyone and the sister of any other guide.
The guide is courteous and generous.
The guide sees the work of God in nature: she loves plants and animals.
The guide obeys without reply and does nothing by half.
The guide is in control: she smiles and sings in difficulties.
The guide is thrifty and takes care of the property of others.
The guide is pure in her thoughts, words, and deeds.
Birth of the international Guiding movement
The scout movement had been created in 1907 by Lord Baden-Powell. In 1909 the Boy Scouts met in London; during the parade, we saw among the 11,000 boys a few groups of girls equipped with large backpacks and sticks. Why shouldn’t these new ideas apply to girls too, Baden-Powell wondered; they too were to become responsible citizens, faithful to their duties and helpful.
The guides were there, as this meeting had attested; now it was a matter of giving them a curriculum and a mastery and leading the early guides, who imitated the boys without arguing, down a more reasonable path. Baden-Powell wrote Girl Guiding (guides) in 1910. It was the founder’s sister, Agnes Baden-Powell, who took the helm of the girls’ organization, separate from that of the boys. His spirit of initiative and his dynamism were the basis of the foundation of a healthy guiding movement. Like her brother, she had original ideas, raised bees and birds in her home, and no obstacle scared her.
The movement quickly found resonance outside England. The spark had caught and ignited other countries: as early as 1912, we find traces of groups of scouts and guides in the USA, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, Poland, South Africa, and in Australia working independently of each other.
By the time war broke out in 1914, many countries had already established stable organizations, and everywhere the young movement was ready to serve in any way and make itself useful. Despite the many commitments due to the war, the internal development of the movement was not suspended. Cubs and bees incorporated the younger ones into the Scout adventure and Baden-Powell sketched out his vision for rovers and rangers. He had already retired from the military before the war to be able to devote himself to the scouting idea which took all his energy and all his commitment. As Chief Scout, he visited his scouts on long cruises around the world and never missed a jamboree (international scout camp).
Guides experienced rapid development during the war, when a personality was committed to them: Lady Baden-Powell, the founder’s wife. The Chief Scout had met his wife, Olave Soames, 32 years younger than him (born February 22, 1889) on a cruise and quickly founded a happy family with her. When her duties as a mother to her three children allowed her to do so, Lady Baden-Powell took charge of the English guides. In 1930, she was named World Chief Guide.
She remained at the center of the guide movement and, on the death of her husband (in 1941 in Kenya), she courageously took up her vision on her own: to carry the Scout idea throughout the world. Of countless journeys took her after World War II to her great family of scouting and the Swiss women will never forget that she crossed our borders at the time of peace in May 1945 and opened the doors to the world. Lady Baden-Powell’s spontaneous, warm and open style, her charm, and cheerfulness open the hearts of Scouts all over the world, of all races and languages.
The desire for international collaboration was already aroused shortly after the First World War. To be able to accede to all the requests addressed to London, Lady Baden-Powell founded 1919 the International Council and became its first president. In 1920, the first international conference was held in Oxford in the presence of representatives from 18 countries including Switzerland.
The first international camp took place in 1924 in Foxlease (England) with 1000 guides from 40 countries. In 1927, Geneva (Ariana) became the meeting place of the second international camp. At the same time, Lord and Lady Baden-Powell visited Switzerland because Baden-Powell was to give a speech on education issues at the People’s Alliance Congress.
It was not until 1928, at the fifth international conference in Budapest, that the world guide federation was created.
The bases accepted by all countries that have joined the global alliance are:
- Law and promise (symbolized by a clover)
- Baden-Powell’s writings
- Independence of the movement which allows the opening to girls of all religions, races, and nationalities
- Membership is voluntary
The badge common to all guides is a golden shamrock on a blue background. The parts of the clover have the following meaning:
- Two stars – Law and promise
- Centerline – Compass needle indicating the correct path
- Heraldic sign of fire – the flame of love for neighbor
- Gold on a blue background – The sun shining for all guides from the blue sky.
The members of the world federation meet every three years for the world conference to which each country, whatever its number of members, can send two delegates and a certain number of auditors who together have one vote per country. The world conference decides on the activities of the world federation and mandates the world committee to carry out the decisions. Targeted missions are entrusted to different commissions, for example, finance, training, etc., and the management of homes belonging to the world federation.
The world office in London is the secretariat of the world federation, it is headed by a director. The official journal of the federation is The Council Fire.
February 22, the common birthday of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, is an international day of remembrance for guides around the world. On this day, each scout contributes to the dedicated fund allowing the world federation to promote in various ways the development and dissemination of the movement of the guide, by sending coaches to new countries, by publishing a Scout bibliography, through exchanges, etc.
The meeting place for international exchanges is Our Chalet in Adelboden. An American, Mrs. J. Storrow, offered to the world federation this home to spread the idea of guiding and goodwill among peoples.
In 1932 the chalet opened and was run for 20 years by Falk (Ida von Herrenschwand); Over the years, ten thousand guides from all over the world have spent unforgettable vacations and training courses here. The other two homes of the world federation are Our Arche in London (opened in 1939) and Our Cabana in Cuernavaca (Mexico) since 1957.
Scouting also developed during World War II and all over the world, its members performed valuable service for their country.
During the world conference in Evian (France) in 1946, international relations resumed and have developed very strongly since. The world conference was held in 1948 in Cooperstown (USA), in 1950 in Oxford (England), in 1952 in Dombas (Norway), in 1954 in Zeist (Netherlands), and 1957 in Petropolis (Brazil).
In 1957, the scout movement celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lord Baden-Powell. Switzerland was the host country of a world jubilee camp known in the history of the FEesS as the Goms camp. The other world camps were held in the Philippines, Great Britain, and Canada.
In 1959, 33 full members and 11 trial countries were part of the world federation and many more countries were being prepared for membership by the world federation. Development is particularly rapid in Latin America and Asia, where the world federation engages its permanent representatives to advise and train managers.
Visits, exchanges, camp abroad: many possibilities are offered each year to experience the international side of the movement and the meaning of Scout comradeship around the world, as well as to put your goodwill at the service of understanding between peoples.