Baden Powell

Robert Baden Powell
Founder of the World Scout Movement
Chief Scout of the World
1857 - 1941

Though LORD BADEN-POWELL is always credited with having founded the Boy Scout Movement, he tells here how, like Topsy, it "just growed".
As a matter of fact I didn't actually start the Boy Scout Movement, because the blooming thing started itself unseen.
Somewhere about 1893 I started teaching Scouting to young soldiers in my regiment. When these young fellows joined the Army they had learned reading, writing, and arithmetic in school but as a rule not much else. They were nice lads and made very good parade soldiers, obeyed orders, kept themselves clean and smart and all that, but they had never been taught to be men, how to look after themselves, how to take responsibility, and so on. They had not had my chances of education outside the classroom.
They had been brought up in the herd at school, they were trained as a herd in the Army; they simply did as they were told and had no ideas or initiative of their own. In action they carried out orders, but if their officer was shot they were as helpless as a flock of sheep. Tell one of them to ride out alone with a message on a dark night and ten to one he would lose his way.
I wanted to make them feel that they were a match for any enemy, able to find their way by the stars or map, accustomed to notice all tracks and signs and to read their meaning, and able to fend for themselves away from regimental cooks and barracks. I wanted them to have courage, from confidence in themselves and from a sense of duty; I wanted them to have knowledge of how to cook their own grub; in short, I wanted each man to be an efficient, all-round, reliable individual.
The scheme worked.
The men loved the training and Scouting became very popular in the regiment.
An Interview with Baden-Powell by the "Listener" Magazine in 1937.


Baden-Powell's Last Message

Towards the end of his life, although still in comparatively good health, he prepared a farewell message to his Scouts for publication after his death. It read:
"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' i 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,


With the compliments from: The Public Relations Department at Baden-Powell House, London, England courtesy of Simon Pearce, Author of ScoutNet UK - THE Scouting Web Pages