Lord Baden Powell

Scouting and Guiding

Robert Baden Powell set up the first experimental Scout camp over 100 years ago on Brownsea Island. Little did he know his influence would touch thousands of young peoples' lives and still does to this day.

In her book Pages From My Life Margherita van Raalte, daughter of one of Brownsea’s owners, reminisces back to 1907:‘One guest we all liked very much and who came year after year was Lieutenant-General (later Lord) Baden-Powell — One year he asked Father whether he would lend him the back end of the island on the south shore on which to try out a project he had in mind — the next year 1908, he founded The Boy Scouts Movement.’

Baden Powell on Brownsea, looking prepared with a Kudu horn
Scouting and Guiding
Baden Powell on Brownsea, looking prepared with a Kudu horn

The Boy Scouts Movement is born

On August 1st 1907, twenty boys pitched their tents on Brownsea Island, little realising how important and far reaching the week ahead would be. The eight days of camping, training and physical exercises would not only shape their lives but also formed the foundation of the Scouting and Guiding movements. Today, the Outdoor Centre welcomes thousands of Scouts and Guides from all over the world who come to explore their heritage and to test out their survival skills.

Traditional Scouting activities
Scouting and Guiding
Traditional Scouting activities

1-9 August 1907, Baden-Powell’s experimental Scout camp daily routine:


Dawn:  Baden-Powell awakens the campers with a blast on his kudu (antelope) horn
6.00 :  Cocoa and a biscuit. Practical instruction in the subject of the day* Physical drill.  Prayers. Tent tidying
8.00:  Breakfast
8.00-12.00:  Scouting exercises in the subject of the day. Scouts split up into four patrols: Wolves, Bulls, Curlews and Ravens. Each patrol leader responsible for his patrol
12.30-1.00:  Lunch
1.00-2.15:  Rest. No talking allowed
2.30-4.30:  Scouting exercises in the subject of the day
5.00:  Tea. Camp games
8.00:  Supper. Camp fire. Baden-Powell tells tales of life in the African Veld. Prayers
9.00:  Bed

*Subjects included camp resourcefulness, observation, health and sanitation, tracking,
woodcraft, chivalry, saving life and patriotism.

Site of the original Scout camp on Brownsea Island overlooking the Purbeck hills
Scouting and Guiding
Site of the original Scout camp on Brownsea Island overlooking the Purbeck hills

You can find out about Baden Powell and plenty of other Brownsea characters in the Visitor Centre which is open daily from 10am.