Greek Boy Scouts

Figure 1.--The Greek Cubs were photogrphed about 2000. Note their traditional caps, basically the same as the early British Cub caps. .

Greece was one of the first countries to form a Scouting troop. The first Scout group was organized in 1910. Scouting was disbanded by a Greek nationlist government (1939), but revived after World War II. Greek Scouts are considered very traditional (old fashioned) and close to the principles laid by Baden Powell. Their uniforms have changed a little since the 1940s and all boys of all ages wear khaki shorts and shirt and brown knee socks. Sometimes even adult scouts (as old as 50) wear shorts.


The Greek boy scout movement was founded in 1910. For the first two decades most of the Greek boy scouts were somewhat older youths than was common in Britain where theScouts were founded. Mist early Scouts were young men in their early 20s or in some cases teenagers. The Greek word for boy scout is "Proskopos" and this word does not have anything to do with the word boy ("agori" in modern Greek). The Boy Scouts became very popular during the 1930s in Greece. Younger boys began joining. A Cub section for the youngest boys was formed and named the Apprentice Scouts. Thousands of boys joined. The Ethniki Organosi Neolaias (EON--National Organization of Youth), Fascist youth group in 1936 began recruiting Boy Scouts for their movement. The Government in 1939 finaly disbanded the Scouts. Greece after fendng off an Italian attack was invaded by the Germans in 1941 and swiftly occupied despite assistance from the British. The Germans and Italians were also opposed to Scouting. The Greek Boy Scout movement was founded again after World War II and started to operate again. Boy scouts became very popular during the 1950s and 60s in Greece. The 1963 world jamboree was held in Marathon, Greece--site of the ancient battle between Persians and Greeks. In the larger cities middle class families could afford better clothing for the children, thousants of boys aged 8 to 17 joined the movement. The Boy Scout movement somewhat declined in the 1970s but the interest has remewed since 1984. For the past three decades, Boy Scout troops have operate in every small or big city in Greece.

Membership Trends

The scouting movement reached it's peak in the 1960s and started to fade in the 70s. The official numbers on Boy scout membership in Greece: 1910: 11 members; 1939 (just before World War II and the the Government's banning of the movement): 18,300 members; 1948-1950 (at the end of the civil war): 37,700 members; early 1960s: 42,080 members; 1980: 27,465 members; 1995: a bit more than 24,000 members. As in America, membership declined after the 1960s because many other recreational oportunities and activities developed for young people.


We do not have detailed information on Greek Scout associations. Often Scouts in Europe organized associations on a religious basis. Some countries also has a secular association where boys of different Christian denominations were welcomed. Policies toward Jews varied. We are not sure what the situation was in Greece. Greece is a small country so which may have affected the organization of associations. Most Greeks were Orthodox Christians, but there were other religins as well. We note that before World War II that there were Jewish troops. We are not sure if this was because Jews were not welcomed in other Scout troops or because Jews wanted their own Scout association. Probably a little of both. The Germans killed almost all Greek Jews after occupying the country in World war II.


The modern organization of scouts in Greece is the following: "Lykopoula" (ie wolf cubs): Ages 8-11 "Proskopoi": Ages 12-15 "Anichneftes" (ie scouts): Ages 16-19

Special Groups

Specialized scouting sections quickly appeared appeared in Greece. we see a Sea Scout troup even before a regular Scout troop. The first specialized group was the Seas Scouts. Greece of course has a long history of ships and involvement in maritime affairs. A very early unit established by Mark Mindler established was the the Third Sea Scout troop of Athens (3η Ομάς Αθηνών Ναυτοπροσκόπων) (1913). One report suggests that this was the first scouting group in Greece. The Sea Scouts are popular in coastal cities and islands. The first and second Scouting groups were to be established later for training Scout officers. The Third Sea Scout troop still is active in Athens. We have not been able to find much informton anout the program. There are also Air Scouts. One report suggests that Air Scouting is very popular \, but we have been able to find little actua;l information. The Sea Scouts are popular in coastal cities and islands. Greece also has Forest Scouts. his may be vecause that Scouting is not as popular today as it was in the 20th century.


Greek Scouts have destinctive uniforms for the different levels. We have some information on the modern uniform. We have information on the current Greek Scout uniforms. Lykopoula or Cubs wear yellow shirts, khaki shorts, kneesocks, neckerchief, and traditional green peaked caps. We have noted different shade of yellow shirts. Some Cubs wear yellow flashes on their kneesocks matching the yellow shirts. Proskopoi or Scouts wear shirts, khaki shorts, knee socks, neckerchief, and beret. Anichneftes or ??? wear shirts, khaki shorts or longs, knee socks, neckerchief, and hats. There are also several special groups. Aeroproskopoi (Air scouts) wear blue. Naftoproskopoi (Sea scouts) wear red. There are also Dasoproskopoi (Forest scouts), but I have no information on their uniforms.


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Created: April 27, 2002
Last updated: 1:16 AM 11/26/2015