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13 November 2014

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You are in: Dorset > People > Your stories > Where Scouting began

Scouts on Brownsea Island

Scouts on Brownsea Island

Where Scouting began

When the Scouting Movement celebrated their 100th birthday with a special sunrise gathering, it returned to the place where it all began – Brownsea Island, off Poole Harbour.

Sunrise Ceremonies

Scouting began at Brownsea Island - and for the movement's 100th birthday in 2007 the island became the focus for the anniversary celebrations.

Scouts representing more than 160 countries set up camp at Brownsea to mark the official centenary.

Chief Scout Peter Duncan

Chief Scout Peter Duncan

Chief Scout and ex-Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan signalled the start of scouting's second century by blowing the original kudu horn that scout creator Robert Baden-Powell blew to start the first scout camp.

They joined with millions of other scouts around the world and renewed their Scout's Promise at 0800 BST on Wednesday 1 August, 2007.

Elsewhere in the county, thousands of Dorset scouts gathered at Buddens Farm near Wareham and renewed their promises, linking up to Brownsea via a big screen.

Historic site

Robert Baden-Powell was a former soldier, and he wanted to do something to engage and develop the lives of young people. He decided to set up an eight-day camp of adventurous activities for 20 boys.

Today, Baden-Powell's idea has grown way beyond anything he could have expected.

Boys - and girls

Now over a hundred years on, the number of Scouts in the UK is 400,000, and internationally there are over 28 million Scouts across 216 countries around the world – and it's not just for boys. Girls and women make up almost 10 per cent of the Scouting Movement.

As recognition of his contribution to the lives of so many young people, Baden-Powell was recently voted the 13th most influential person of the 20th Century, and the event on Brownsea Island recreated Baden-Powell's action of sounding a kudu horn at 8am,  marking the beginning of camp, and the beginning of a new century for the Scouting Movement.

Sunrise event

The special event at Brownsea Island is one of several similar celebrations happening across the country, but as the place where it all began in 1907 it had an added significance, and formed a key part of a landmark day in honour of Baden-Powell's innovative ideas so long ago. 

Scouts gather on Brownsea Island

Scouts gather on Brownsea Island

Brownsea Event organiser Neil Calvert started thinking about this anniversary in 2000.

He said: "It's taken a lot of people a lot of time to get where we are today. We started asking young people what they wanted to see on the island [to mark the event] and we ran a camp in 2005 as a trial, working with the National Trust, just to make sure we knew what we were doing on the island."

So what does Neil think Scouts originator Baden-Powell would make of these celebrations?

"I think he'd absolutely love it. This shows exactly what Scouting can do for young people. We're proving today that the Scouting Movement is as relevant today to young people as it was a hundred years ago."

last updated: 09/10/2008 at 10:07
created: 26/07/2007

You are in: Dorset > People > Your stories > Where Scouting began



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