What is Traditional Scouting?

The term “Traditional Scouting” has a different meaning outside the United States, where it refers to a “back to basics” movement that rejects the world-wide trend to “modernize” Scouting in order to appeal to imagined wider slices of fleeting popular and commercial youth cultures, and returns Scouting to a scheme intentionally based on Baden-Powell’s own model of Scouting.

Traditional Scouting is not historical re-enactment, but for the most part an attempt to present Scouting as the game that was played prior to the 1960s. For all practical purposes in most of the former British Empire (with minor national variations due to climate and the influence of native cultures), this was how it had been played by Scouting’s inventor, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, while he was still alive. In Traditional Scouting, the only changes in the program are for reasons of advances in a) health and safety practices, b) environmental concerns, and c) light weight camping technologies.

The Scouting movement began “modernizing” starting in the 1960’s with the British Boy Scout Association, which commissioned a number of studies to determine how best to appeal to an imagined wider demographic and changing youth culture. This series of studies was picked up by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in 1970, which began the introduction of the new and improved Scouting Program in America in 1972. These changes saw a removal of most of the scoutcraft and woodcraft skills and requirements in the handbook and a complete move away form the patrol method and other Scouting methods which were part of Baden-Powell’s original program.

For these reasons, among many other changes to the Scouting program not mentioned here, traditional scouting programs began forming in the early 1970’s, starting with the Baden- Powell Scouting Association in the UK in 1971. Other traditional scouting programs on or affiliated with the BPSA-UK now exist in Canada, Australia, Ireland and many other countries. In the United States, Baden-Powell Scouting started in 2006, founded by members of the US

Rover’s and other interested scouters. In 2008, B-P Scouting was renamed and incorporated as the Baden-Powell Service Association.