Nov 2nd, 2018
Rover Scouting celebrates its 100th year in 2018.
Download episode: MP3
Ken and Colin discuss Rover Scouts, the Scouting section for youth who...aren't really youth anymore. Within the Scouts Canada program, for example, Rovers are for young men and women between the ages of 18 and 26; other national organizations have similar age ranges, though some cap the program at a slightly younger age. Other national Scouting organizations don't have Rover Scouts specifically, but do sometimes have equivalent (or semi-equivalent) programs for youth up to, say, 21 years of age.
The Rover Scout section, by the way, celebrates its centenary this year; this part of the Scouting movement began in 1918.
Rover Scouts, Rovers, Rover Scouting or Rovering is a service program associated with Scouting for young men and, in many countries, women into their early 20s. A group of Rovers is called a 'Rover Crew'.
The Rover program was originated by The Boy Scouts Association in the United Kingdom in 1918 to provide a program for young men who had grown up beyond the age range of the Boy Scouts. It was quickly adopted by many other national Scouting organizations.
The Rover program had its origins in two different schemes. The first, aimed at Boy Scouts in the United Kingdom who were aged between 15 and 18 years old, was called "Senior Scouts" which was launched in March 1917 during World War I. It quickly became apparent that there weren't enough adult male leaders available in wartime, and it was several decades before the Senior Scout program was established. The second scheme was the series of 'Battlefield Scout Huts' provided for the recreation of British and Empire soldiers in rear areas of the Western Front. Related to these was the St George's Scout Club for servicemen, which operated in the English garrison town of Colchester under the leadership of "Uncle" H. Geoffrey Elwes. From these projects, it became apparent that there was a need for a Scouting-related program that catered for young men, many of whom would shortly be returning from the war.
The first mention of the term "Rover Scouts" was by Sir Robert Baden-Powell in The Boy Scouts Headquarters Gazette in August 1918, and the scheme was fully established by November 1919. Baden-Powell set about writing a handbook for the new scheme, which was published in 1922 as Rovering to Success. It contained Baden-Powell's philosophy for a happy adult life as well as ideas for activities that Rover Scouts could organise for themselves. It remained in print in various editions in English until 1964 and was translated into many other languages.
The Rover Scout program in Scouts Canada has seen significant overhaul — to the point that even the section motto was changed! — under the Canadian Path program; read all about it here.
As always, a big thank you to the folks at Scouting Radio for rebroadcasting Scouting Stuff episodes to their worldwide Scouting audience. If you're listening to us on Scouting Radio right now, let us know; reach out and get in touch. We'd love to hear from you.
Slow Burn, by Kevin MacLeod