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The founder of Scouting Lord Baden–Powell (BP) of Gilwell, was born in 1857 in England. He lived a busy and adventurous life, and as a boy spent much of his spare time in open–air pursuits hunting in the woods, joining his brothers in expeditions by land and in their boats. Thus he developed his powers of observation, resourcefulness and was helped to acquire many useful skills.
He won a scholarship which gave him entry into the British Army, where he was sent to India and served for many years. He tried out his ideas of training soldiers in "Scouting" and taught them how to develop experience in stalking and fending for themselves; and to be observant of all signs that would give them an advantage as soldiers. He set down his ideas in the book "Aids to Scouting", which was used as a textbook for many years.
As a soldier, BP rose to public prominence during the war against the Boers in Africa at the end of the 1800's. Most noteworthy was BP's leadership of the defending force in the seige of the South African town of Mafeking. Baden-Powell returned to England as a national hero in 1899 having successfully defended the town against the Boers.
BP was encouraged to set down his views on how he would apply Scouting to the training of boys. So he first conducted an experimental camp in 1907 on Brownsea Island off the Dorset coast of the UK. With some 20 boys from all walks of life and suitable adult leaders, Baden–Powell taught the boys what he meant by Scouting. They lived in tents, cooked their own food and learnt many valuable skills through games.
The camp was a great success and proved Baden-Powell's ideas, so he tackled the task of writing down his experience in a book. Scouting for Boys was first published in fortnightly parts, beginning 15 January 1908. Every issue sold out as soon as it hit the news stands, despite the cover price of 4d which was expensive at the time. In fact, Scouting for Boys ranks third in the world's best sellers after the Bible and Shakespeare.
The 1 August 1907 is regarded as the beginning of the Scout Movement worldwide.
Every other Wednesday until the end of March, boys (and girls) all over England eagerly awaited the next issue of Scouting for Boys.
It was suggested that boys form themselves into Patrols within other organisations but boys didn't want to be school-Scouts, cadet-Scouts or brigade-Scouts, they simply wanted to be Scouts. Long before the last instalment had hit the book stands, Scout Patrols and Troops had magically appeared all over Britain. Baden-Powell finally bowed to the inevitable and accepted that Scouting would have to become a Movement in its own right.
Two years later, Baden-Powell retired from the army as a General to devote his life to this new Movement called Scouting.
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