What is Different in the BBS and BGS Association?
Why Would there be Differences?
Contrary to popular belief, there is not just a single association that oversees all scouts, nor is there one association that oversees all scouts in the UK. You may be surprised to hear that there are at least five associations that practise scouting in the UK.
Some associations developed independently from others, and some are indeed schisms created by a difference of opinion, however, all associations are part of the scout movement and are there to provide activities and develop young people. Scouting began by boys forming themselves into groups (that we now call patrols) and carrying out the activities described in Scouting for Boys, adults and the associations came afterwards.
The BBS and BGS Association respects the fourth scout law and therefore treats all scouts as brother scouts regardless of to which association they belong. Therefore, our groups are happy to conduct joint activities with other scout groups even if they belong to other scout associations.
So, What is Different?
The main difference between the BBS and BGS Association and many other scout associations can be summarised as below:
- The most obvious difference at first sight is that we wear the traditional scout uniform. More information about our uniform and why we wear it can be found here.
- Our programme is based on Scouting for Boys for Scouts, and The Wolf Cub Handbook (and thus the Jungle Book) for Wolf Cubs. Baden-Powell became a war hero after the Siege of Mafeking in the Boer Wars. He wrote a book called Aids to Scouting and found that it became popular amongst boys. He then decided to write a book based on it more applicable to boys called Scouting for Boys. It is this book that forms the basis of scouting. Other scout associations have changed their programme to encompass other ideas or activities. However, the BBS and BGS association feels that the programme is just as relevant today as it has always been and requires no such change. Baden-Powell was very far ahead of his time and he knew how to capture the imagination of Boys.
- We have a progressive badge programme for all sections. Therefore, a sense of progression is achieved. For example, a new chum (as Baden-Powell called new scouts), would first need to pass his tenderfoot badge before he could be invested. The tenderfoot badge has basic tests such as folding the union flag, and tying six basic knots. Then he can progress to his second class test, which requires such activities as an eight-mile hike. He may then start to work on his first class badge etc. We feel that this structure is important for a scout to progress in a scout group, without it, scouts would be trying to undertake more complex tasks without the grounding of the basics to carry it out effectively. For example, it is hard to make a suspension bridge in pioneering if you cannot tie a clove-hitch, and it is impossible to cook on camp if you cannot lay a fire (or indeed know the burning properties of wood).
- We have no paid staff. Other scout associations have volunteer leaders, but maintain a head office with full time staff. Baden-Powell did not want scouting to be an organisation, but a movement, this is from where the Scouting is a movement quote comes. Therefore all our adults are volunteers. This helps keep the price of subs down and ensures that our association does not get run under the model of a business and be concerned with such things as profits.
What about Girls?
When scouting began, society's attitude to ladies and girls was slightly different, however. now co-education is far more common place. The BBS and BGS was one of the first associations to accept girls and our troops therefore may have a combination of both boys and girls.