French Scouting: Levels

Figure 1.--Here we see a French Scout group, both Cubs and Scouts. The image is undated, but looks to have been taken in the 1930s. Clicks on the image to see the rest of the group.

The levels in French Scouting are much more difficult to assess than in other countries because of the different associations. The first level added to regular Scouting was Wolf Cubs. The program was active by 1920 as there were Wolf Cubs at the 1920s national camp marking the creation of the Scouts de France. A number of images from the inter-war era show French Cubs and Scouts pictuted together. I'm less sure as to what extent there were common activities. Many of these portraits are outdoor portraits, presumably in camping settings. French Scouts today are generally divided into different branches, although there are differences between the different Scout associations There is considerable similarity among the different associations. France has one of the most fragmented Scout movements in the world. Thus there are differebnces among the many different assiociations. Some of the associations are very small. This has the affectv of compressing the differentvage level groups.

La Branche Lutins/Sarabandes

Lutins might be called Sprites. Notice the term Brownies in English referred to faries. We also notice some associations using the term Sarabandes. This is a relatively new group to prepare the youngest children beginning at 6 years for Cub Scouting. In America they are called Tiger Cubs in America and Beavers in Britain. As fewer older boys pursue Scouting, the movement has turned nmore to younger children. The age range is generally age 6-8 years.

La Branche Louveteau/Louvettes

Louveteau/Louvettes refers to Cub Scouts. The originl name in England was Wolf cubs, explaining the useof the French term for wolf. Louveteau refers to the boys and Louvettes to the girls. Cubbing was founded in England (1916). So many younger boys expressed an interest in Scouting that Cubbing was created for them. It was formed in America much later because the BSA was concerned that involving the younger boys would make the program less attractive to the older boys. We believe that French Cubbing began around the same time as the British program. Of course with several different associations, there presumably was no single date. Many French Cub groups are today mixed gender programs, but there are some traditional single gender orograms. The children here are about 8-11 years old. We have been unable to find much information on French Cubbing. In Britain and America Cubbing is a more home based program than the Scouting program for the older boys. The programs are kargely run by Akelas or Den Mothers with home meetings. Games are esopecially popular with the younger children. There are fuiekd triops as well as outdoor adventures and short-term camping adventures to prepare them for Scouting. The original French Cub uniforms, like the original Scout uniforms, were very similar to the early British uniforms.

La Branche Scoute or Éclaireur

This is the basic Boy Scout program. This is generally boys age 11 to 15 years. Many associations now have mixed gender programs.

La Branche Éclaireuse or Guides

This is the basic Girl Scout or Guide program. This is generally girls age 11 to 15 years.

La Branche Pionnier

This seems to be rather like Explorers in the United States in America. The age range is about 14 to 17 years of age. .

La Branche Compagnon

This is similar to the Rover program in Britain. The age range is about 14 to 17 years.


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Created: 10:44 PM 4/15/20066
Last updated: 5:16 AM 6/17/2011