Many of the youth groups popular with boys during the 20th century have required uniforms. The most obvious youth group is of course the Boy Scouts and related grous like Tiger, Cub, and Explorer Scouts. The Scouts while by far the largest group in America and many European countries, is not the only group, nor was it the first. One of the earlist groups was the Boys' Brigade with its strong Christian connection. Amrica also has Camp Fire, a coed scout-like group. All of the modern totalitarian states had their youth groups like Hitler Youth and the Pioneers. The sinister nature of NAZI ideolgy leads us to recoil at images of the Hitler Youth. Less is known of the Communist Pioneer Movement. Now that the great totalitarian states have disappeared, except in China, these groups have all been suplanted by the Scouting movement. Scoting in America and England, however, has declined a ranks
are only a fraction of the 2 million American boys who
once participated. The other groups like Camp Fire and the Boys' brigade are much smaller. It is unclear what has caused the decline. Certainly boys today have many more options for their free time. The cost of uniforns and dues discourages others. Recruiting sufficently commited adult leaders is another problem. The Scoting Movement has attemted to reinvent itself, with modernized merit badges incliding computers and rocketry. The future of Scoting and other groups remains to be seen.
Most people thin of the Boy Scouts and Lord Baden Powell when the subject of uniformed boys' organizations comes up. Scoutings impact on boys and Baden Powell's influence on Scouting is legendary. Many of the principles of boys' groups were laid out by a relativly unknown Scottish teacher, Sir William Smith, two decades before Baden Powell founded the Boy Scouts. The whole idea of a uniformed group and camping was conceived by Smith. In Fact Baden Powell initially conceived of promoting Scouting within the Boys' Brigade and similiar boys' organizations. From the day Sir William started the lst Glasgow, William Smith was Captain of his original Company, on parade, at Bible Class, and at Summer Camp. He gave of his best, and he. expected the best. He could warmly commend a Boy, an Officer, a Company for work well done, but he was a Scottmman and not given to lavish praise. Duty was duty, and it was its own reward.
Information is available on several different uniformed youth organizations. The Scouts are the best knowm uniformed organization today, but many others also actively function. In addition there are hundreds of groups which were once active and no longer exist. Some of these groups like the Hitler Youth in Germany, the Balial in Itlay, and the Young Pioneers in the Soviet Union and Eastern European satellite nations, were one enormously important. Much of this site is devoted to Scouting as there is so much more information on Scouting than the other groups. We hope, however, to develop more information on all the different youth movements.
HBU in collecting the information on these various groups is struck by the debate over whether the groups in the totalitarian states were different than those in the democratic states. Scouts say they were very different from the Hitler Youth or Young Pioneers. Many Hitler Youth boys and Pioneers say their group was little different than Scouting.
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