The word ‘Scout’ means a person sent out to observe the enemy. And a ‘Boy Scout’ means a member of a Boys’ Association to develop self-reliance, discipline, self-responsibility, and the spirit of doing good to the public.
The Boy Scout movement was started by Sir Robert Baden Powell in England in 1908. Following his instructions, young boys in some schools are given the training to do some useful work with military discipline. Thus they can do much good to the public. Hence they are liked by the public. Now Boy Scouts are found in almost all developed and developing countries.
There are Boy Scouts in India. Mrs Annie Besant was the founder of the Scouts’ Association in India. Since then the movement has gradually spread over all the provinces. In undivided Bengal, it was started by Mr S.K. Mallick in 1917, and the movement was taken in most of the states in free India. Now we find Boy Scouts in many schools in our country.
The Association of Boy Scouts has some rules for its organization. It is, as if, in military service. A batch of Scouts forms a Patrol. About four to six Patrols form a Troop. Several Troops form a Branch organization. There is a Central Association over all these branches. A Scout Master leads each Troop, and he is helped by an Assistant Scout Master.
There are some obligatory duties of a Scout. A Scout must take an oath that he would try his best to do his duty to God and his country. He will always assist others and obey Scout Law. The Boy Scouts have to play many games and sports. These make them physically strong and mentally alert. Smartness is the special quality of a Boy Scout. He himself has to do many things such as cooking, sweeping etc. It helps him to develop the spirit of self-help and a sense of responsibility. The Scouts have to learn signalling, first-aid and other useful things, They are provided with uniforms, whistles and lathis. They have to practise drill and gain the qualities of leadership. They have also to pass three tests before completing the course.
The Scouts have some essential duties. The first duty of a Scout is to do good to people. If any man is injured in the street, the Scout gives him ‘first- aid’, and then carry him to a hospital, if necessary. If a fire breaks out anywhere, the Scouts go there and try to put it out. In times of war, they nurse the wounded soldiers. They sometimes carry important messages. Many years ago, Scouts lighted the streets of Kolkata when the employees of Kolkata Corporation ceased work and refused to light them. When the sweepers refused to sweep the streets, the Scouts did the work of sweepers. Thus the Boy Scouts do whatever is needed as urgent for the society.