DURING the Second Boer War in South Africa, Robert Baden-Powell, a soldier of the British army, involved local boys to administer first aid to his troops, to carry messages and to run errands.

Realising the scope of such activities for youngsters, he conducted an experimental camp for 20 boys and wrote a book, Scouting for Boys, which is said to have laid the foundation of the global scouts movement. Later, the movement gained momentum and groups of boys began to organise themselves into patrols for camps and activities.

Scouting is a voluntary educational movement that helps young people achieve their potential and be helpful as individuals and community members. It encourages active engagement of youths and helps them in their spiritual, intellectual, physical, social and emotional development.

The youths are mainly provided a progressive programme consisting of badge system, adventure programme, community development, fun and fellowship. Trainings are provided in groups called patrols of 6-8 scouts, and one of them is appointed as the Patrol Leader.

Scouts of different age groups are given different names, such as cub scouts (6-11 years), boy scouts (11 to 17 years) and rover scouts (17 to 25 years), while the patrols are named after birds, animals and colours.

The scouts movement in Pakistan is run under the Policy Organisation and Rules 2013. The president of the country is designated the Chief Scout, and the Quaid-i-Azam was the first in the country to hold that title. Scouts are also called the first ambassadors of Pakistan as they hoisted the national flag for the first time outside the country, in France, on the occasion of the 6th World Scouts Jamboree in 1947.

The Pakistan Boy Scouts Association (PBSA) incorporated the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations in its various programmes, and is working actively to promote the move-ment to make the most of the potential of the country’s young population.

Muhammad Tauseef Siddiqui
Rawalpindi

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2021

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