Robert Stephen Baden-Powell
As a youth, Robert Baden-Powell
(pronounced "poe-ll") greatly enjoyed the outdoors. He had a highly
successful military career (eventually retiring as a Lieutenant General),
but was most well known as "The Hero of Mafeking" for his exploits as a
regimental commander during the siege of Mafeking, where he used his
brains, rather than the blood of his men, to keep a significantly larger
Boer army at bay.
After returning as a military hero from service in Africa,
Baden-Powell discovered that English boys were reading the manual on
stalking and survival in the wilderness he had written for his military
Gathering ideas from Ernest Thompson
Seton, Daniel Carter Beard, and others, he rewrote the manual as a
nonmilitary nature skill book and called it Scouting for Boys. To test his
ideas, Baden-Powell brought together 22 boys to camp at Brownsea Island,
off the coast of England. This historic campout was a success and resulted
in the advent of Scouting.
Thus began his second "career"- that of
the Chief Scout of the World.
Seeing the need for more rigorous
training and higher standards, B-P (as he became known) took a very active
hand in the newly emerging Scouting movement, working closely with
others who had similar ideas to his, as well as
taking an active role in developing new training for youth leaders as well
as adult volunteers. B-P created the first advanced adult leader
training which came to be known as "The Wood
accomplished artist and prolific writer, Baden-Powell made paintings and
almost every day of his active life. Many were used to
illustrate his works, and most have a humorous or informative character.
His drawings continue to amuse and educate even today! While
on active duty, he published books and other texts to both finance his
life and to educate his men, and one of the more famous British
recruitment posters during the First World War was drawn by him (right).
published Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell kept on writing more handbooks
and educative materials for Scouts and Scout Leaders as the Scouting movement
grew-- in spite of his failing health. In his later years, he also
wrote about the Scout Movement and his ideas for its future.
He spent the
last decade of his life in Africa, and many of this later books had African
themes. He died on January 8, 1941, and is buried in the mountains of his
beloved Kenya, buried next to his wife Olave.
In his final
letter to the Scouts, Baden-Powell had written:
had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have a happy life too. I
believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life.
Happiness does not come from being rich, nor merely being successful in your
career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself
healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so you
can enjoy life when you are a man. Nature study will show you how
full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to
enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on
the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one.
real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and
leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to
die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your
time but have done your best. 'Be Prepared' in this way, to live happy and to
die happy - stick to your Scout Promise always - even after you have ceased to
be a boy - and God help you to do it.