World Organization of the Scout Movement

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The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) is a worldwide organization consisting of local scouting groups in 155 countries. WOSM has 28 millions members, both female and male.


In Britain, Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, a hero of the Boer Wars, founded the World Organization of the Scout Movement. It reflected the spirit of scientific efficiency promoted by the Progressive Movement. Baden-Powell wrote in a pamphlet Scouting & Christianity (1917): "Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity." Since then, various Scouting Organizations have been founded for members of other religions, or which are not specific to any religion. Today the Scout Movement is the largest voluntary youth group in the world. Its membership exceeds 28 million boys and girls, as 95 of 155 National Scout Organizations are now mixed gender; however, the Boy Scouts of America does not mix genders.

In designing the WOSM, Baden-Powell drew ideas from the Japanese warrior's code or "bushido", on educational methods of the African Zulu tribes, on the Victorian "ragged schools" movement, and the educational methods of Montessori.[1][2]


In the 1910s and 1920s, the Osaka Boy Scouts were established in Osaka, Japan, from an American Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), which had close contacts with the Boy Scouts of America. The acceptance and subsequent popularity of the Boy Scouts reflected widespread Americanization of Japanese city life, although the Japanese domesticated American Boy Scouting and tried to remake it as a Japanese entity. The Boy Scouts was a part of the Progressive movement that represented various efforts responding to social problems in both Japan and the United States. It was actually included in transpacific Progressivism. In the 1930s the voluntary Boy Scout organization was forced to transform itself into a militaristic association, starting with an incident at the Osaka Boy Scouts. Exchanges with the BSA eventually stopped, yet transpacific Japanese interest in the BSA continued. Observing the US treatment of minorities in a 'domestically colonial situation,' especially African Americans, the Boy Scouts came to be utilized as a cultural agent for supporting the Japanese empire in Eastern Asia and the South Sea Islands. In this sense, the Boy Scouts was a transpacific social movement, too.[3]


  1. Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys"
  2. Robert Baden-Powell as an Educational Innovator
  3. Shigeo Fujimoto, "Trans-Pacific Boy Scout Movement in the Early Twentieth Century: The Case of the Boy Scout Movement in Osaka, Japan" Australasian Journal of American Studies 2008 27(2): 29-43

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