2nd Cole Harbour Group

Bring on the Adventure

Scout History

Our Founder - Lord Robert Baden-Powell

Lord Robert Baden-Powell served as an officer with the British Army in the later half of the 1800's. The origin of the idea for Scouting probably lends itself to the time he commanded a garrison of 100 men and successfully defended against the Boer seige of Mafeking for 217 days in 1899. During the seige, B-P formed the Mafeking Cadet Corps in order to free up the soldiers to fight on the line. The cadets, all British boys over the age of nine, assumed many of the non-combat duties in the garrison, primarily acting as messengers and watchmen. Many of the boys came under artillery fire while performing their non-combat duties. The Cadet's braveryand dedication so impressed B-P that he tool it upon himslef to teach them skills important to military scouting - woodmanship, camping, hiking, etc.

In 1906 B-P began to develop the 'Boy Scout Scheme' and wrote a draft handbook. In August, 1907, B-P gathered twenty boys, a fellow British officer, Major MacLaren, and B-P's nephew Donald to Brownsea Island, in Poole Harbour, England. For two weeks, the boys organized into four patrols, camped and lived according to the 'Scheme'. The experiment was a great success. Over the next several months, B-P made four revisions to his handbook before publishing it in January, 1908 as "Scouting for Boys".

As early as 1908 Scouting was starting in many of the British outposts of the Empire. After a trip to South America, Scouting started in Chile, and it was already crossing the channel into Europe. The big step across the Atlantic, and into the United States came more by chance. In 1909, an American business man, William Boyce, was lost in the fog of London, when a small boy approached him, and offered to take him to his hotel. Once there, the boy refused any offer of money for the service, saying that it was his good turn as a Boy Scout. Joyce was intrigued by this and tracked down B-P. before he left London to discover more of this. When he got back to the U.S.A. he went about setting up the Boy Scouts of America. By 1918, its numbers had risen to 300,000, and had reached the million mark before the end of the twenties.

BP spent much of the rest of his life on World-tours, initially organising Scouting throughout the world, and later attending the World Jamborees, which have become an integral part of international Scouting. The first of these was in 1920 in London, at Olympia, it was more an exhibition of Scouting, held inside. The second Jamboree, four years later, in Copenhagen, set the model for the modern Jamboree, a major international camp for Scouts from all over the World. BP's health deteriorated to the point that in 1938 he moved to Kenya to spend the last days of his life in Africa. He finally passed away on January 8th 1941. In his belongings was his last message to Scouts throughout the world:


Dear Scouts,

If you have ever seen the play 'Peter Pan' you will remember how the pirate chief was always making his dying speech because he was afraid that possible, when the time came for him to die, he might not have time to get it off his chest. It is much the same with me, and so, although I am not at this moment dying, I shall be doing so one of these days and I want to send you a parting word of goodbye.

Remember, it is the last time you will ever hear from me, so think it over.

I have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have a happy life too. I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness does not come from being rich, nor merely being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so you can enjoy life when you are a man.

Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one.

But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. 'Be Prepared' in this way, to live happy and to die happy - stick to your Scout Promise always - even after you have ceased to be a boy - and God help you to do it.

Your friend,
Robert Baden-Powell


From Leader Magazine


B-P Portrait

The portrait of Baden-Powell at the top of this page is from the 1929 painting by David Jagger. It was presented to B-P on August 6, 1929 at the III World Jamboree at Arrowe Park, Birkenhead, England. This was known as the "Coming of Age Jamboree" as it marked the 21st anniversary of Scouting. The portrait was Baden-Powell's favorite. The original is at Baden-Powell House in London and a copy is displayed in the conference room at World Headquarters (WOSM) in Geneva, Switzerland.


Other Baden Powell Sites

  • Robert Baden-Powell - Founder of the World Scout Movement, Chief Scout of the World
  • Baden Powell House - This will be a great centre, dedicated to the B-P way of life, a house where Scouts from all parts of the world will be welcome and feel at home, a common meeting ground where the Scout Law can be seen in actual practice.
  • Mount Baden Powell - Mt Baden-Powell < Angeles National Forest
  • US Scouts - Baden-Powell, The Story of his life