History of Scouting

The history of the Boy Scouts movement can be traced back to the Siege of Mafeking, the most famous British action in the Second Boer War. It took place at the Town of Mafeking (now Mafikeng) in South Africa over a period of 217 days, from October 1899 to May 1900. The lifting of the Siege of Mafeking was a decisive victory for the British and a crushing defeat for the Boers, and cause Robert Baden-Powell to become a household name across the British empire.

 Because of the shortage of manpower in the town, Robert Baden-Powell decided to use boys to support the troops by carrying messages, sending signals, helping in the hospital, and warning the townsfolk when the Boer siege gun was aimed at the town, to give them a chance to take cover before the shell arrived.

These boys called themselves the Mafeking Cadet Corps. The cadets consisted of 38 boys, the youngest cadets on the roll call were aged 11.  They were given khaki uniforms and a wide-brimmed hat which they wore with one side turned up. 

When Baden-Powell returned to England as a hero, his book “Aids to Scouting” became the most popular book for the teenagers, British schools had been using his books to teach boys lessons on observation and deduction.

From late 1906 and during 1907 Baden-Powell spent a lot of his time writing on “Scouting for Boys” as well as on the advancement of the Boys Scout Scheme. Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship is the first book on the Scout Movement, published in 1908. It was written and illustrated by Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement. It is based on his boyhood experiences, his experience with the Mafeking Cadet Corps during the Second Boer War at the Siege of Mafeking. 

in 1907 Lt. Gen. Robert Baden-Powell took a group of youth to a camp on Brownsea Island in the United Kingdom.  And from that 1st experimental camp the Scouting movement grew.  

Today, Scouts Canada is a highly diverse organization with over 100,000 members nationwide representing every faith and culture. Scouts Canada offers programming in more than 19 languages reflecting Canada’s multicultural landscape and communities.