Robert Baden-Powell

Robert Baden-PowellRobert Baden-Powell

Robert Baden-Powell, often called B-P, was a remarkable man. Born in 1857, he was educated at one of Britain’s most famous private schools, and in 1876 joined the army as a lieutenant. He served in India and Africa, fought with great bravery in several wars, and was given a number of medals.

B-P was also a talented spy. He often spied on the enemy disguised as a butterfly collector, and made drawings of butterflies in which he included sketches of enemy buildings and equipment. When he left the army, he was a lieutenant-general and a national hero.

B-P spent years in Africa, and because of his contact with African scouts (speidere) he became interested in scouting. He also thought that boys who were too young to join the army, and girls, who could not join it at the time, could be useful to their country in other ways, and in 1907 the Boy Scout Movement started. Baden-Powell’s sister Agnes founded the Girl Guides in 1910. The two movements quickly spread to other countries, and there are now 38 million scouts and guides throughout the world.

Baden-Powell on an old postcardBaden-Powell on an old postcard


In the text you will find words and phrases which are the opposites of these. Which are they?

  • leave the army
  • old
  • slowly
  • ordinary
  • rarely
  • cowardice
  • useless
  • unknown

Activities for the links below

1) First link: Answer these questions about the Girl Guides. Do not copy from the text.

  1. Why, in the early years of scouting, were girls sometimes unable to join?
  2. How did girls manage to take part in scouting activities nevertheless?
  3. What often happened later to groups consisting of both sexes?
  4. What important event happened in 1910?
  5. Why are the Girl Guides so called?
  6. Which skills does the Girl Guide Movement encourage?
  7. What have the girls’ groups always tried not to do?
  8. Regarding gender integration and separation, what is the situation for scouting and guiding around the world?

2) In 1913 Baden-Powell visited Scandinavia and other areas. Read about his experiences, and write three paragraphs explaining what impressed him about scouts in Norway, Sweden and Denmark respectively. Again, try not to copy from the original text.



Girl Guides

Boy Scouts beyond the Seas (by Sir Robert Baden-Powell)

Cappelen Damm

Sist oppdatert: 22.09.2009

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