A short history lesson…
After the successful publication of Scouting for Boys in 1908, Baden-Powell answered the demand of the boys of Great Britain and founded the Boy Scout Movement. In those early days, Scouts were grouped in Patrols and when a couple or more Patrols worked together and found themselves a Scoutmaster they became Au Scout Troop. In 1916 the Wolf Cubs were started for the younger brothers of the Scouts and they were formed into Wolf Cub Packs. Two years later, yet another section was formed for the older Scouts called Rover Scouts.
Although there was quite frequently a loose connection between the three sections, because they were connected with the same church or used the same meeting place, each ‘unit’ was practically independent with little or no cohesion or collaboration.
This often meant that if a Cubmaster and Scoutmaster had a difference of opinion, the Cubs who were due to become Scouts were no doubt advised to join another Troop! Today the disadvantages of this arrangement are obvious, but in the early 1920s it was accepted!
This all changed in April 1927, when it became apparent that some form of continuity would be advantageous, and a revolutionary proposal was made at the Open National Conference in Bournemouth to form units for organisational purposes. The proposal was received with such enthusiasm that it was implemented from 1st January 1928. There were lots of suggestions for a name and these ranged from Post, Squadron and Tamasha, to B.-P.’s suggestion of ‘Clump’ (meaning, designation for a group of halbadiers, spears men and archers). But after consideration the Imperial Headquarters General Purpose sub-Committee decided on the less romantic, but more practical term, Scout Group. And so was born the family of the Scout Group we know today.
Scout Groups today
A Scout Group comprises of one or more of our younger sections. These being a Beaver Scout Colony, Cub Scout Pack or Scout Troop. Groups can have any mixture of sections and some groups have more than one colony, pack or troop. All Scout Groups are encouraged and supported to have at least one of each section. Additionally, a group may also include one or more Group Scout Active Support Units and an Explorer Scout Unit may also be attached to a Scout Group.
Some groups may have special circumstances which limit the range of provision they offer but as a general guideline, all Scout Groups should aim to cater for the whole 6 to 10½ age range.
The purpose of the Scout Group is to:
- Provide functional units through which the design and delivery of the youth programme can be best achieved;
- Foster a family spirit;
- Support the adults that work in each section of the group, ensuring they have the equipment and resources they need to plan and run quality programmes for their members;
- Provide channels for communication within the group, the district and county;
- Provide opportunities for youth members and adults to make decisions and take responsibility;
- Ensure that our members (6 to 10½), feel confident and happy about moving from one section to another as they progress through the Movement.
In short, the Scout Group is a structural mechanism that works.