Robert Baden-Powell presides over first Scout rally in London (1909)

On today’s date in 1909, Robert Baden-Powell presided over the first rally for all Scouts at the Crystal Palace in London, England.

Funded in part by Scottish-born Canadian Donald Alexander Smith, First Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, the gathering attracted 11,000 boys. It was only a year after Powell published Scouting for Boys and two years after his first experimental Brownsea Island Scout Camp, which was attended by fewer than 25 boys.

In July 2007, to mark 100 years of Scouting, Canada Post commemorated the World Scout Movement on a 52-cent stamp (Scott #2225). Printed by the Lowe-Martin Group on Tullis Russell Coatings coated paper, the stamp has general tagging along each side.

Canada Post also commemorated Canadian Scouting in 1983 with a 32-cent stamp (CS #993) printed by Ashton Potter.

Canada Post also commemorated Canadian Scouting in 1983 with a 32-cent stamp (CS #993) printed by Ashton Potter.

That year, an estimated 40,000 people from more than 150 countries gathered in the spirit of friendship at the 21st World Scout Jamboree, which was only one of many events celebrating the centenary of the Scouting movement.

The word “jamboree”, which originates from the Swahili greeting “jambo” (meaning “hello”), was chosen by Baden-Powell in 1920.

Baden-Powell was born on Feb. 22, 1857, in London, England. An army officer and specialist in map-making and reconnaissance, he conceived the idea of training men in Scouting sometime before the turn of 20th century.

“Somewhere about 1893 I started teaching Scouting to young soldiers in my regiment. When these young fellows joined the Army they had learned reading, writing, and arithmetic in school but as a rule not much else,” Baden-Powell said in a 1937 interview. “I wanted to make them feel that they were a match for any enemy, able to find their way by the stars or map, accustomed to notice all tracks and signs and to read their meaning, and able to fend for themselves away from regimental cooks and barracks.”

 In 1955, to mark the 8th World Scout Jamboree, held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Canada Post issued this five-cent stamp (CS #356) printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company.


In 1955, to mark the 8th World Scout Jamboree, held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Canada Post issued this five-cent stamp (CS #356) printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company.

A few years later, Baden-Powell decided to share his ideas on Scouting with a younger generation. He set up his experimental camp for boys off the coast of England, and this first group of 22 boys from a cross-section of English society was the beginning of an international movement that, today, has more than 28 million members worldwide.

In Canada, more than 78,000 young people enjoy Scouts Canada programs that span towns and cities across the country.

What’s more, this past year, the Scouts on Stamps Society International (SOSSI) hosted its annual general meeting (AGM) in Canada for the first time in nearly 20 years.

The group’s AGM was hosted by SOSSI chapter no. 15 – known as the “Maple Leaf” chapter, which is based out of Toronto.

“Our SOSSI chapter has been in continuous and active operation since it was founded in April 1962. Our official territory is the province of Ontario, but we have members from all across Canada who wish to maintain contact with other Canadians in this hobby of Scout and Guide philately,” explains the chapter website. “As well as monthly meetings, our chapter is very active in staffing booths with exhibits at stamp shows and Scouting events and in producing an average of one or two event covers a year.”

For more information on SOSSI, visit sossi.org.

The official first-day cover for CS #2225 was cancelled in Tamaracouta, Que.

The official first-day cover for CS #2225 was cancelled in Tamaracouta, Que.

On July 25, 2007, Canada Post paid tribute to a century of Scouting by issuing a domestic rate (52-cent) stamp designed by Matthias Reinicke, of Edmonton’s Lime Design.

The stamp features the organization’s logo alongside photos of today’s typical Scouting pursuits: camping, campfire-related activities, canoeing and cycling. An archival image of the Scout “grand howl” is the central focus of the booklet.

According to Reinicke: “I found the image of the howl and built the stamp around it.”

This mixing of old and new is an underlying theme in the stamp design and signifies both the history and future of the organization.

Reinicke continues: “I combined archival images representing the beginning of the scouting movement with modern photographs to show how the organization has maintained its core values, while moving forward and changing with the times.”

Liz Wong, manager of stamp design and production at Canada Post, said: “Canada Post is pleased to pay tribute to 100 years of Scouting and Robert Baden-Powell’s achievements. His innovative thinking and devotion to serving young people has given the world a wonderful and dynamic international youth organization that brings together people from different races, religions, cultures and countries-all with a mission of building a better world. That’s a legacy worth celebrating.”

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