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Scouting facts from around the world

Although Scouting originated in the UK in 1907, it now spans 216 countries. Take a look at some interesting facts about Scouting around the world.

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17th October 2019
Scouting may have originated in the UK after Robert Baden-Powell founded the organisation in 1907, but the Scouting movement itself now spans 216 countries, with over 38 million Scout and Guide members.

International organisations vary across the globe with different uniforms, traditions and activities but all hold the same core values.

Malta was the first overseas branch of British Scouting

Due to his family connections in Malta, the first overseas branch of UK Scouting was recognised by Baden-Powell soon after Scouting was first introduced.

Nowadays, there are a number of Scouts branches in other countries that belong to UK Scouting, thanks to expats or communities that wish to follow UK Scouting guidelines.

Malta's role in Scouting history was due to Baden-Powell having the role of Captain as Assistant Military Secretary to his uncle who was Governor of Malta

Malta’s role in Scouting history was due to Baden-Powell having the role of Captain as Assistant Military Secretary to his uncle who was Governor of Malta.

Boy Scouts of America started by chance

Although Scouting had already started spreading to countries of the British Empire within a few years, Boy Scouts of America only started after an American got lost.

The Scouts website says: “The big step across the Atlantic, and into the United States, came more by chance. In 1909, an American business man, William Boyce, was lost in the fog of London, when a small boy approached him, and offered to take him to his hotel. Once there, the boy refused any offer of money for the service, saying that it was his good turn as a Boy Scout.

Boyce was intrigued by this and tracked down B-P. before he left London to learn more. When he got back to the USA, he went about setting up the Boy Scouts of America.”

Indonesia has the highest number of Scouts

The national Scouting organisation of Indonesia, Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia, has over 17 million members making it the world’s largest Scouting organisation.

Many think that as it originated here, UK Scouting would be the world’s largest but actually only comes in around ninth (as of 2012).

Only 5 countries in the world don’t have Scouting

Five countries around the world don’t have any kind of Scouting organisation in their country. They include: Andorra, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vatican City – the last of which often isn’t included.

Up until 2008, even Mainland China didn’t have a Scouting organisation, but now have various Scouting activities.

Find out more about Scout Group websites here