This Week in History
For the week of Monday August 5, 2013
On August 5,1907, 20 British boys were in the middle of a weeklong camping trip on Brownsea Island, England. This was the first ever Boy Scouts event. Today, more than 300 million youth worldwide, including more than 18 million Canadians, have since been a part of the Scouts!
The very first Scout camp was organized by Robert Baden-Powell, a British military hero who popularized the movement through his book Scouting for Boys. During the day, the boys hiked and learned such skills as how to pitch a tent and use a compass. At night they listened to Baden-Powell’s stories and sang campfire songs.
After this first camping trip, Scout patrols sprang up throughout Great Britain and beyond! The first Canadian patrols were formed in 1908 and, by September 1914, more than 14,000 boys had joined the organization. By 1939 there were more than three million Scouts world wide and a sister organization – the Girl Guides – formed one year after the Boy Scouts, was also growing in popularity.
In 1955 Canada hosted the 8th World Scout Jamboree, the first world jamboree to take place outside Europe. Held at Niagara-on-the-Lake in mid-August of that year, the event was attended by more than 11,000 Scouts from 60 countries! It was a huge success and helped develop a favourable image of Canada for those who attended from around the world.
Due to its prominence as a youth organization in Canadian society, the Scouting Movement in Canada was designated a National Historic Event in 2009. To read about another individual who influenced the Boy Scout movement, please read Naturalist, Author and Boy Scout in the This Week in History archives. For more information about camping, please visit our Learn to Camp and National Parks pages.
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