Traditions in scouting
In the whole world, there are only somewhat of three or four nations without at least one organization of girl guides and boy scouts. Regarding the gigantic differences between the human cultures which populate our planet, it’s no surprise that the idea of scouting was actualised very differently in every of these cultures, though.
And sometimes so differently, that you’ll suddenly find yourself at a foreign scouting camp and don’t see anything anymore which would connect you to those other young people except for a (more or less) carefully binded neckerchief around your throats.
But of course it’s more than that, after all. As so in so many other cases, there are more things that connect us than we’d expect. The “Tradition & Modernity” conductor Mesian Tilmatine tried to name some of these.
1. The uniform:
I’ll have to admit, this term does let some space for interpretation. I once saw portuguese scouts which had a complete uniform including shirt, trousers, hat, shoes and even socks and underpants, each of them flagged with the fleur-the-lys of the scouting movement and the ridiculously long number of their troop. And this is something most german and french scouts I know propably would cringe of even thinking about, because it’s something of a tradition for them trying to be as non-conformist as somehow possible. A number for a troop? Unthinkable for them.
Most german scouts would even refuse to call their scouting clothes “uniform” and rather refer to them as Kluft (and old german term for something like a “dress” or a traditional workwear) because this has a less military overtone. Consequently, many german and french scouts also like to wear their uniforms as non-perfectly as possible, and many german scouts even have strict regional dress-codes of how non-perfectly exactly to wear your Kluft.
Austrians, at the other side, do only wear their uniforms for special occasions, and Poles seem to generally wear their very traditional uniforms with more pride than any other scout I’ve ever seen.
I guess the idea is always more or less the same, though: That we’re part of a group and it does not matter how rich you are or how many facebook-friends you have, because here, you’re wearing a neckerchief like any other girl guide and boy scout in this world, too.
2. We sleep in tents and enjoy the nature:
Well, at least this is what the say about us. And it’s true in some degree. Again, we’ve got some room for interpretations, also because experiencing the nature does mean something very different, if you live in the Sahara, in rainy and urban London or in the wides of Russian Taiga.
But even if you happen to inhabit the same climate there are still distinctional opinions of how far you should go with your love to mother earth. While some scouts seem only to be able to enjoy nature in 4x4 drive Hummer trucks with air-conditioning plant, built-in BBQ and ADSL broadband connection (I’m specially looking at you, Boy Scouts of America!), others think themselves only to be able to find a meditative connection with the forests they’re walking through if they don’t bring any electrical devices with them, never take a shower during three weeks and only eat mushrooms with grilled bugs - german scouts oftenl will even refuse to sleep in a plastic tent, because it would expulse the friendly bugs at night!
3. We all believe in the idea of scouting:
Yeah, you already guessed it, this is the whole thing I only wanted to come down to. Sir Robert Baden-Powell’s ideas about how to educate young boys based on his military experience have been spread around the world, although sometimes heavily altered due to the development of world’s societies.
While Baden-Powell originally wanted the scouting movement to support motherland, god and the queen (well, he sure was very British) and make young men to responsible parts of society, modern knights, so to say, most countries gave the movement their very own, beautiful coloration. In countries coined by the Islam, for example, religion still has a certain influence, same in countries as France, Spain, Russia, Germany and Poland which all have - amongh others - also christian-coined scouting organisations.
In nearly every country, politics have a huge impact on our movement, too, up to some degree, at least. Nevertheless, we have our own influence on our environment. We are the youth of everywhere and we are combined in our most basic beliefs in peace, international friendship and our will in being the modern knights who can leave the world a little better behind us than we found it - just as ol’ BiPi would have wanted us to.
4. We’re young, and we sure want to see the world and have fun:
Let’s not forget that most important point. So let’s go. Let’s see the world and meet each other.