Historical Highlights

Many recurring events, such as World Scout Jamborees, Moots and World Scout Conferences, are mentioned only the first time they were held.

For some more background, see “The Story of Scouting” and “Baden-Powell” .


1857 February 22, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (the founder of Scouting) is born.

1889 February 22, Olave St. Clair Soames (who later became World Chief Guide) was born. She married Baden-Powell in 1912.

1907 Baden-Powell's experimental camp on Brownsea Island, England, bringing together 20 boys from different parts of society.

1908 "Scouting for Boys" published. Boy Scouts office opened in London, England.

1916 Cub section started. "Wolf Cub's Handbook" published.

1919 Gilwell Park is acquired. Start of leaders' training courses.

1920 1st World Scout Jamboree in England. Baden-Powell acclaimed Chief Scout of the World.
 1st World Scout Conference in England with 33 National Scout Organizations represented. Boy Scouts International Bureau (now World Scout Bureau) founded, London, England.

1921 International magazine "Jamboree" first published (what is now the online newsletter “WorldScoutInfo”).

1922 1st World Scout Committee elected (at 2nd World Scout Conference in France). First world census: 1 019 205 members in 31 countries.

1925 International Scout Chalet opens in Kandersteg, Switzerland. (Now known as the Kandersteg International Scout Centre, KISC).

1929 Baden-Powell given peerage at the 3rd World Scout Jamboree in England and takes title Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell.

1931 1st World Scout Moot in Kandersteg, Switzerland. 1st Central European Jamboree in Czechoslovakia.


1941 Death of Baden-Powell, January 8.

1946 1st Inter-American Regional Scout Conference in Colombia.

1949 1st Agoon (International camp for handicapped Scouts) in the Netherlands.

1950 World membership reaches 5 million in 50 countries.

1952 1st Caribbean Jamboree on Jamaica.

1954 1st Arab Regional Scout Conference in Syria.

1957 Jubilee, 50th Anniversary of Scouting celebrated at the 9th World Scout Jamboree and 6th World Scout Moot in England. World Scout Bureau moves to Ottawa, Canada.

1958 1st Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Conference in the Philippines. 1st Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA).

1960 1st European Regional Scout Conference in Germany.

1965 1st Pan-American Jamboree in Brazil.

1968 World Scout Bureau Central Office moves to Geneva, Switzerland. Dr Lazlo Nagy (Switzerland) becomes the 1st Secretary General of WOSM.

1969 World membership reaches 12 million.


1970 1st African Regional Scout Conference in Senegal.

1971 1st World Scout Youth Forum, in conjunction with the 23rd World Scout Conference, in Japan. World Organization membership passes 100 member countries.

1972 1st International Community Development Seminar in Dahomey (now Benin).

1973 1st Environment Conservation seminar in Sweden.

1973-1974 1st Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Jamboree in the Philippines.

1977 Death of Lady Olave Baden-Powell, June 25.

1979 World Jamboree Year: Join-in-Jamboree around the world.

1981 UNESCO Prize for Peace Education presented to WOSM.

1982 Rotary International honours the Scout Movement.

1982-3 Year of the Scout - 75th Anniversary of Scouting.

1984 Rotary Award for World Understanding and The International Association of Lions Clubs honours Scouting.

1985 UN International Youth Year (1st worldwide programme to be implemented with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts).

1986-7 A child health programme entitled "Help Children Grow" introduced with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and UNICEF.

1988 Scouting is honoured by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in recognition of the Movement's outstanding environment achievements. 
Implementation of the resolution on "Towards a Strategy for Scouting" at the 31st World Scout Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Jacques Moreillon (Switzerland) becomes Secretary General of WOSM.

1989 Scouting celebrated the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and encourage its ratification by national governments.

1990 Formal agreement, the Kigali Charter, between 23 Scout and Girl Guide associations for the promotion of programmes of cooperation in the form of twinning projects. "Operation of Solidarity" to enable 1 235 children irradiated by the Chernobyl disaster to be the guests of Scouts and Girl Guides in 15 European countries, in collaboration with UNESCO, the Soviet Children's Fund and WAGGGS.

1990-1 World Scout Environment Year.

1991 Creation of the World Scout Parliamentary Union (WSPU), Korea. 60 parliamentarians and Scouting officials from 22 countries on 5 continents attend its constituent assembly.

1992 Creation of Scout Resources International (SCORE), the official Scout Shop of the World Organization.

1994 International symposium on "Scouting: Youth without Borders, Partnership and Solidarity", Marrakech, Morocco. Adoption of the Marrakech Charter to enhance partnership. Signature of an agreement with UNICEF on Oral Rehydration Therapy, Geneva, Switzerland. 
The International Public Relations Association bestowed its annual President's Award on to WOSM for "outstanding contribution to better world understanding".

1995 Signing of an agreement of co-operation between WOSM and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the UN. Youth Forum held by the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. Approximately 2/3rd of delegates were or had been Scouts or Girl Guides.

1997 90th Anniversary of Scouting.1st official Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI), taking place on same weekend as the 40th Jamboree on the Air (JOTA). Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the World Health Organization, AHM (Leprosy Relief Organization) and WOSM to eliminate leprosy. The Alliance of Youth CEOs (of which WOSM is a member) launches a programme to promote the value of non-formal education. The World Scout Interreligious Forum was established.

1999 The Mission of Scouting is adopted at the 35th World Scout Conference in South Africa.


2001 1st Eurasia Regional Scout Conference, Minsk, Belarus.

2002 The Vision of Scouting and the 7 Strategic Priorities for Scouting are is adopted at the 36th World Scout Conference in Greece.

2003 World Scout Inter-religious Symposium held in Spain.

2004 Panafrican Youth Forum on AIDS: a matter of education. Organised by WOSM on behalf of the Alliance of Youth CEO's in Senegal. Dr. Eduardo Missoni (Italy) becomes Secretary General of WOSM. Memorandum of Understanding signed with the International Labour Organization (ILO) on Child Labour. Memorandum of Understanding signed with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

2005 WOSM signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN’s Millennium Campaign. UNICEF and WOSM sign Memorandum of Understanding.

2006 1st Eurasia Jamboree held in Armenia. New World Scout Brand launched.

2007 Centenary of Scouting, celebrated throughout the whole year and culminating on August 1st 2007 at the 21st World Scout Jamboree in England. 150th anniversary of B-P's birth. Gifts for Peace project presents more than 120 projects. 
World Scout Scientific Congress held in Switzerland. Mr. Luc Panissod (France) becomes Acting Secretary General of WOSM.

2009 ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC ) and WOSM sign a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Mr. Luc Panissod (France) becomes Secretary General of WOSM.

2011 Messengers of Peace is launched as the new 10-year flagship programme of World Scouting.

2013 Mr. Scott Teare (USA) becomes Secretary General of WOSM. 1st World Scout Education Congress takes place in Hong Kong. 162 member countries and over 40 million Scouts worldwide.

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