Happy Founder’s Day!
February 22nd marks the birthdays of a very important person in the history of scouting and guiding: Robert Baden-Powell. In 1903, Major-General Robert Baden-Powell returned to England from Africa, where he had been involved in the Boer War. Although still involved in the Army, his combat days were over. He had a new mission: to get boys outdoors, learning some of the important skills needed by the Army at that time. In 1907, he ran a camp for boys in Dorset, England to do just that. This was the start of the scouting movement. In 1908, he published Scouting for Boys, a magazine serial with instructions on tracking, camping, games, woodworking and other practical skills, as well as stories and Baden-Powell’s thoughts and ideas on how to be a good citizen. Since then, it has been revised and published dozens of times, and millions of scouts have joined the scouting movement, learning important skills and lessons along the way.
In 1909, as the boy scouts were just beginning to take shape, girls in England expressed an interest in scouting too! Thousands of boys showed up to the Boy Scouts national rally in London that spring, and although it was considered highly unladylike, some girls did too! They had seen how much fun scouting could be and they wanted the same opportunities as their friends and brothers. Robert Baden-Powell wouldn’t let them join the Boy Scouts, but he got his sister Agnes to organize scouting for girls, instead. This is how the Girl Guide movement was born. Today, Girl Guides and Boy Scouts can be found all over the world: Boys Scouts are active in 171 countries and Girl Guides are found in 150. Although some of the activities and approaches have changed over the years, they’re still organizations that help young people practice important skills, learn to be good citizens and make new friends.
At Manuels River, we welcome hundreds of young scouts and guides each year to join us on the trails or in the Interpretation Centre to work on their badges. Together, we’ve learned about water, our planet, birds, weather, outer space and more. We love the enthusiasm that scouts and guides bring to the programs, whether we’re indoors learning about science or outdoors practicing snowshoeing. Over this past year, much has changed at Manuels River as we’ve tried to adapt to life with COVID-19. It’s been a real joy for us that scouts and guides have been able to adapt as well and we’ve been able to welcome dozens of groups to the Centre for guided hikes, campfires and other fun outdoor activities. Today, we’re back in lockdown which means that we can’t plan any face-to-face activities with scouts or guides for the next little while. Instead, we’re using digital platforms to engage with the groups that are staying safe at home. We’ve got lots of great activities and discussions planned to learn about water and pollution, rocks and fossils, leadership and more!
Would you like to join us? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what your group wants to learn about! Happy Founder’s Day!