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Former scouts in early 20th century

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I am currently researching history of Czech tramping movement in European context and I am looking around for resources related to one particular problem. Czech tramping (for a more detailed overview, see this article) is a romantic youth subculture evolved from scouting, but unorganized. Its participants were often called "wild scouts" in early 1920s and many of these people were former boy scouts, who left their troops after becoming older, but continued camping with friends on their own. This phenomenon took a very specific shape in Czech context and became a movement with its own fashion (mostly inspired by Wild West), slang, music, literature, sports etc.

However, I still do not know whether such massive continuation of camping-related activities outside scouting was a local phenomenon and what did former scouts do in countries like the US, Britain, Germany or Poland. Typical early Czech wild scouts/"tramps" were urban dwellers, mostly blue-collars or students, around 16-19 years old, used to camping from their time in organized scouting movement, but not continuing to participate in it as rovers or leaders. I suppose this is a social group that was present also in other industrialzed European cities of early 20th century, but I do not know what did these people do elsewhere. Were there, for example, some clubs or known groups of former scouts in your countries, who were no longer identifying themselves with scouting, but who were keeping its more technical aspects and general preference for outdoors? I know of groups like Edelweisspiraten in Germany, but what am I especially interested in is how common was a transition from a scout to member of some other similar non-scouting movement and what did former young scouts actually do.


Thank you,


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Welcome to the forums JPohunek!

Very interesting first post. I think it is great when we get an "international" perspective here, and I mean more than just the usual British guys. (I mean that in the nicest way possible.)

I have never heard of this before, but I see there is an article in the English version of Wikipedia that describes the same thing you are apparently talking about:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_tramping. That article seems to suggest that this phenomenon is specific to the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  (I was going to write Czechoslovakia, since that is what it was when this movement started, but I did not want to start an argument with a new forum member.  :)  )


Interestingly enough, if you search on "tramping" in Wikipedia you get redirected to the article on "Hiking", which is about regular-old hiking without the "movement" aspect, but then you can select other pages including "Czech tramping" and "Tramping in New Zealand."  However, the latter is about regular-old backpacking and hiking in New Zealand, again without any real "movement" aspect. 


There are certainly people in the U.S. who got involved in camping as Scouts and then continued to go hiking, backpacking, camping, etc. on their own apart from Scouting as young adults (and older), but there is nothing I would describe as a "movement" like you are describing.  Certainly no "fashion" aspect or adoption of aspects of other cultures, like the Czech trampers appeared to have borrowed the U.S. "Wild West."  (Ironically, in this discussion, the "Bohemian movement" did reach the United States, but that is something different.)

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This sounds like an anthem of such folks.  It's German, but it was sung at my camp when I was a Scout

I love to go a-wandering, 
Along the mountain track, 
And as I go, I love to sing, 
My knapsack on my back.

My knapsack on my back.


I love to wander by the stream 
That dances in the sun, 
So joyously it calls to me, 
"Come! Join my happy song!"


I wave my hat to all I meet, 
And they wave back to me, 
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet 
From ev'ry green wood tree.


High overhead, the skylarks wing, 

They never rest at home 
But just like me, they love to sing, 
As o'er the world we roam.


Oh, may I go a-wandering 
Until the day I die! 
Oh, may I always laugh and sing, 
Beneath God's clear blue sky!


Edited by TAHAWK
  • Upvote 1

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Líbí se mi jít-putování,

Podél horské dráze,

A jak jsem jít, mám rád zpívat,

Můj batoh na zádech.



Val-Deri, Val-dera,



Val-Deri, Val-dera.

Můj batoh na zádech.

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