Remembering Our Founders

Baden-Powell - Founder of the Scout Movement

Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, affectionately known as B-P, was born in Paddington, London in 1857 and was one of 10 children.  His father, Professor H.G. Baden Powell was a vicar and a professor of natural science. His mother, Henrietta Smyth, was Professor Baden Powell's third wife. His father died when he was three and he was raised by his mother, enjoying an active outdoor childhood with his brothers.

After boarding school, Baden-Powell went to join the army. He served in South Africa during the Anglo-Ashanti and Boer Wars, and also served in Malta. Baden-Powell's most notable service was at the Siege of Mafeking. For that, he became a major-general, and later a lieutenant general, which he was until 1910.

While in Africa, Baden-Powell wrote an army training manual, Aids to Scouting. When he returned to England in 1903, he discovered that the book had become very popular and was being used by teachers and youth workers. He therefore decided to rewrite the manual to help train young boys through games and activities.

In the summer of 1907, Baden-Powell acted upon his ideas and ran a demonstration camp for boys on Brownsea Island. Twenty-two boys, from ages 10 to 17, took part in the week-long exercise, which consisted of camping, cooking, tracking, singing, and storytelling. This was the beginning of what was called unquestionably the most significant youth movement of the twentieth century.

Robert Baden Powell

It was a huge success and boys and girls started to form Scout troops all over the country. A rally was held at Crystal Palace in London in 1909 and Robert discovered that 6,000 girls had joined up. He therefore encouraged his sister, Agnes, to found the Girl Guides, later led for many years by his wife, Olave.

Robert met his wife-to-be, Olave Soames, in 1912, on board ship. They shared the same birthday, 22nd February, although Robert was 32 years older than his wife. Their joint birthday was later to become Thinking Day.

In 1920, the first World Scout Jamboree took place in Olympia and Baden-Powell became Chief Scout. He became a baronet the following year.

Robert Baden-Powell retired from Scouting in 1937 and soon afterwards moved to Kenya, where he lived happily until his death in 1941. Later Baden-Powell's extraordinary achievements and service were recognised with a memorial in Westminster Abbey, and many awards from countries all over the world.

Fun Fact: Robert Baden-Powell was ambidextrous and a talented artist.


Frank Cooper Sands - Founder of Scouting in Singapore

Frank Cooper Sands

Frank Cooper Sands was a Scoutmaster from Nottingham, England. He is recognized as a founder of Scouting in Singapore on 2 July 1910, when Sands established two Boy Scout troops for the children of the British colonists. From there, the movement spread to other parts of the Straits Settlements and what were to become the states of Malaysia. He became the Commissioner of the Scout Association Malaya Branch which comprised the British Crown Colonies. (Within British Scout leadership hierarchy, Sands position was equivalent to a County Commissioner. All the Malay States and Straits Settlements were Districts only.) Sands spent the next 40 years helping to create Scouting in the region, and is often called the "Father of Malayan Scouting". It is only after his retirement that the posts of Chief Commissioners for Malaya and Singapore were created by the Boy Scouts Association in London for E.M.F. Payne and Canon R.K.S. Adams respectively. Presently, there is an award in Singapore named after him called the Frank Cooper Sands Award which is given to sectional scout units who demonstrated unit excellence.

[Extracted from Wikipedia]