1st Scout Camp
The pictures we often see of General Sir Robert Baden-Powell in his later years, all moustache and long shorts, can make him seem a rather comical character. But when he founded the Boy Scout movement in 1907 and 1908 he still had the aura of a national hero about him for his brilliant and often unconventional defence of Mafeking during the Boer War.
B-P as the Scouting movement dubs him had been impressed with the work of the Mafeking Cadet Corps during the siege there between October 1899 and May 1900: boys too young to fight had run errands, taken messages, and carried ammunition, proving of enormous help to the defenders. After the Boer War B-P considered using them as a model for training British boys in field skills.
During a holiday in Ireland in May 1907 B-P met the wealthy Charles van Raalte and his wife, who invited him to visit their home on Brownsea Island near Poole , a place he knew from sailing near with his brothers in his youth. The island was away from the glare of publicity that still followed the hero of Mafeking; it was also of a size that allowed movement and scouting, but prevented anyone getting lost, and it was soon arranged that B-P would try out his ideas there. The camp, using old army tents, was set up on July 25, though most of the activities took place in August. Some 20 boys – 10 from Eton and Harrow , the sons of army friends, 10 from local Boys’ Brigades – took part, plus B-P’s 9-year-old nephew and one older boy related to three of the other participants. It proved a great success, teaching the boys about tracking and similar practical skills, but also about teamwork and breaking through social barriers – though all four troops were headed by boys from the public school contingent!
Spurred on by the Brownsea camp B-P published his Scouting for Boys the following year, which became a great success, spreading the idea like wildfire through the country.
More famous dates here
6937 views since 25th July 2008
From Zak Lamb on 31st October 2013
It is an unarguable fact that the first official Scout camp attended by BP was at Humshaugh, something that was also recognised by former Chief scouts as they attended the site - look at the information on the cairns on the link below. The Brownsea island experimental camp was clearly important in Scouting history, but best be correct, it was not a Scout camp. http://thescoutingpages.org.uk/statues.html
From Martin on 28th May 2013
Given the boys were doing scouting things doesn't that make them scouts? Perhaps not Scouts or even as you may prefer David, with your penchant for capitals, SCOUTS. Your point is one of interpretation and seems somewhat picky given this was clearly a seminal moment in the scouting movement.
From David Blewitt on 3rd December 2011
The article is actually incorrect, in that the 1907 camp was an EXPERIMENTAL camp led by Baden Powell to test out his ideas with boys. They were NOT scouts. He organised his first official scout camp for invested scouts in 1908 at Humshaugh in Northumberland. Lots of evidence if you look deeper, e.g: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humshaugh http://www.northumberlandscouts.org.uk/walk_lookwide.html FYI