Society : Scouting
Scout Movement - also known as the Boy Scouts - is now a huge
international organization; in more than 100 years, it has changed
massively - though many people do not realise this. .
For many people in Britain, the word
images of boys in short trousers and girls in blue uniforms. Many
people imagine that the Scout Association and its female counterpart
the Guides Association are old-fashioned organisations from another age
- associations for people who are more interested in the past than the
future, people who just like camping in the rain and washing in cold
It’s quite easy to understand
why Scouts and Guides have this sort of image. The “Boy
Scouts” were founded
over 100 years ago by Robert Baden-Powell, a retired English army
general; the “Girl Guides” followed three years
later. The organisations are thus
Baden-Powell’s original Scouts were organised in an almost
military manner. Young people had to learn discipline and learn to do
things as a group; they went on camping expeditions in difficult
conditions, had to learn to make campfires and, yes, they certainly had
to get used
washing in cold water. In those days though, that was
not particularly unusual, as many people washed in cold water.
Nevertheless, even at the start, there
was much more to scouting than that.
Scouts and Guides also learned the
value of solidarity; right from the start, they had to learn how to cope
difficult situations, how to interact with other people, and how to
play a useful part in society. Baden-Powell’s organisations
and never exclusive; any young person could become a Scout or a Guide, regardless
the Scout and Guide movements
began in England, they soon spread to other countries, and within 50
years, scouting had become a popular activity with young people all
over the world. In Britain, almost every young person between the ages
of seven and twenty could belong to a local troop; troops were - and
still are - attached to
schools and communities, churches
In more recent years, scouting has
continued to develop worldwide
to the point that there are now more scouts than ever before.... over
40 million of them in more than 200 different countries!
In Britain today, the Scouts and Guides
and their junior versions - the Cubs and the Brownies - are together
the largest youth organisation in the country, with more than 1.3
million members; and although some people still think of them as rather
old-fashioned, the Scouts and Guides have always moved with the times,
adapting to changes in modern society.
today’s Scouts and
Guides still learn how to go camping in the rain and make camp fires,
they also take part in a wide variety of exciting adventure activities,
including kayaking and horse riding, mountain-biking, rock-climbing, pot-holing
and a lot more.
This, however, is just one aspect of
modern Scouting; during their weekly or twice-weekly sessions, Scouts
and Guides also still learn about participation, independence and
tolerance; they may
also learn useful practical skills
such as first aid, or how to use a computer. In most Scout and Guide
troops, they also learn about environmental issues, drugs, and coping
with the pressures of modern teenage life.
Many Scout and Guide troops also take
part in international aid programmes such as Book Aid, collecting
useful books that can be sent to poor schools in developing countries.
Others have their own special aid projects, for which they raise money
in many different ways.
At times, some people have said that the
Guides and the Scouts should join together - that in today’s
world there should no longer be two organisations, one for boys and the
other for girls. In 1999, when the Guide Association organised the
third World Guide Camp in England - for over 3000 participants -
journalists often asked Guides whether they would not have preferred to
be on a camp with boys too. To the surprise of many reporters, the
answers were always “No”; for most of the Guides
interviewed, Guide Camp, without boys, was a welcome change from co-educational
“Boys, no way! We
wouldn’t want them here. They’d spoil it!”
Even so, things have changed here too.
Girls can now join the Scouts too if they want to, and many have done
so. The old name “Boy Scouts” has been abandoned
classes with both boys and girls - cope
: react to, not be troubled by - evoke:
create - found
: start - get used to:
familiar with - inclusive
open to everyone - pot-holing
exploring caverns underground - regardless
with no consideration of - skills
abilities - thus
therefore - worldwide
all over the world -
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Scouting moves ahead
Write factual sentences, based on information from this
Baden Powell was...
Solidarity is .....
Over 25 million ....
Over 1.3 million ...
Today’s scouts and guides .....
Many Guides do not .....
Do you pronounce
correctly? Decide which of the following words, in the first two
paragraphs, contained the vowel sound [ei], as in the words
the first two
paragraphs of the text out loud to your students, for best application
of this exercise. Note that the name Baden rhymes with maiden, in
level EFL resource
Photo: top - Girl guide camp in the mid 20th century. Phot
by Emerandsam. bottom: modern guide activities, photo LPS
Photos under licence CC.
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