Scouting (or the Scout Movement) is a movement that aims to support young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society, with a strong focus on the outdoors and survival skills. During the first half of the 20th century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups for boys (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Rover Scout) and, in 1910, a new organization, Girl Guides, was created for girls (Brownie Guide, Girl Guide and Girl Scout, Ranger Guide). It is one of several worldwide youth organizations.
In 1906 and 1907 Robert Baden-Powell, a lieutenant general in the British Army, wrote a book for boys about reconnaissance and scouting. Baden-Powell wrote Scouting for Boys (London, 1908), based on his earlier books about military scouting, with influence and support of Frederick Russell Burnham (Chief of Scouts in British Africa), Ernest Thompson Seton of the Woodcraft Indians, William Alexander Smith of the Boys' Brigade, and his publisher Pearson. In the summer of 1907 Baden-Powell held a camp on Brownsea Island in England to test ideas for his book. This camp and the publication of Scouting for Boys are generally regarded as the start of the Scout movement.
The movement employs the Scout method, a program of informal education with an emphasis on practical outdoor activities, including camping, woodcraft, aquatics, hiking, backpacking, and sports. Another widely recognized movement characteristic is the Scout uniform, by intent hiding all differences of social standing in a country and making for equality, with neckerchief and campaign hat or comparable headwear. Distinctive uniform insignia include the fleur-de-lis and the trefoil, as well as badges and other patches.
The two largest umbrella organizations are the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), for boys-only and co-educational organizations, and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), primarily for girls-only organizations but also accepting co-educational organizations. The year 2007 marked the centenary of Scouting world wide, and member organizations planned events to celebrate the occasion.
The Scout method is the informal educational system used by Scouts. The aim of Scouting is character training with the goal of helping participants become independent and helpful, and thereby become "healthy, happy, helpful citizens".
The Scout method uses appealing games in the primitive outdoors to generate challenges which a Scout learns to solve by himself. Through the training and the example of the leader, Scouts are taught independence, leadership, the ambition to learn by himself, and a moral code with positive goals. According to founder Robert Baden-Powell, the Scout method works naturally and unconsciously: naturally in the way that it follows the natural impulses of the Scout, and unconsciously because the Scout is not aware of the education.
Hands-on orientation provides a practical method of learning and helps the Scout build confidence. Activities and games provide a fun way to develop skills and provide contact with nature and the environment when pursued in an outdoor setting. Scouts learn in small groups to build unity and a brotherly atmosphere.
Developing the characteristics of responsibility, self-reliance, self-confidence, and readiness, the Scouts eventually learn collaboration and leadership skills. An attractive program of varying activities expands a Scout's horizons and bonds the Scout even more to the group.