Jump to content

Recommended Posts

There is an irony that BP is going to be torn down in England, where his most positive contribution to humanity was made, while his burial site in Kenya (close to where he likely did commit a war crime by modern standards executed a prisoner that was considered too risky to move), he's celebrated with a National Park. 

BP wasn't perfect. He naively tried to pursue relationships with Nazi Germany in order to bring the Hitler Youth into the World Wide Scouting movement. He was definitely a player in the brutal suppression of southern Africans into the British Empire. 

The statue to BP in Poole is also modest. It's an endorsement and nod to his founding of Scouting, which is his largest accomplishment, and a positive one at that. It's not a celebration of his military service. 

I'd like to see it stay, but by the critics logic, there will be no public statues of any historical figures in the UK, since their history is stained with blood and imperialist riches. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometime I wonder if BP's push for scouts was a case of trying to make amends for what happened in his military career. If so, I think his statue should stay up. Plenty of people with problems have turned things around.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I stumbled upon this BP/Scouting documentary recently :


I suspect it has been discussed on the board before but, assuming it is accurate, I learned a lot about BP.  It is explicit in saying that he fought the militarization of scouting in Britain and embraced it as a world peace movement.  I don’t know if he was close to being a perfect person but I do believe the world is a better place than it would be if we didn’t have the movement that he started. 


  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

June 13, 2020  A statement from Chief Scout Bear Grylls    copied below

In 1907, a new movement was born on Brownsea Island, in Poole Harbour Dorset – one that would bring skills, adventure and friendships to millions of young people around the world today.


It was on that small island that Robert Baden-Powell founded the Scouts, taking a small group of young people from diverse backgrounds, with the goal to learn about the great outdoors, and show that we had more in common than divides us. 

Since that first camp, Scouting has grown year on year to become today a worldwide family, some 54 million strong, across almost every nation on earth. It is, without doubt, one of the greatest youth movements in history. 

The clear purpose back then (and still today) was to unite and inspire young people to learn how to celebrate their differences, to love and protect the outdoor world, to serve communities, and to be empowered with skills for life. And that is the legacy of the Scouts that lives and breathes today.

It is in our nature, as Scouts, to endeavour to be open, respectful, and compassionate to all, and to be leaders of determination and intergity.

That’s why those first Scouts, and the ones that followed, made a promise to be kind and helpful. It is the very heart of what we do.

This last week, people have expressed much confusion and anger at the possible removal of a statue of Lord Baden-Powell in Poole. To me, and many Scouts around the world, Brownsea Island, (the place that the statue looks out on), is a reminder of that great Scouting vision, that has since helped so many young people gain vital, life-enhancing skills for their own futures. 

As Scouts, we most certainly do not celebrate Baden-Powell for his failings. We see them and we acknowledge them. And if he were here today we would disagree with him on many things, of that there is no doubt. And I suspect he would too.

But we also recognise that Baden-Powell is part of our history, and history is nothing if we do not learn from it.  So we also acknowledge Baden-Powell's vision, and I truly am so grateful to him for starting the Scouts - a living, breathing, modern movement that has immense power to unite and inspire people.  

This is why I whole-heartedly stand beside the righteous anger unleashed by the killing of George Floyd, and together we must all do what we can to right the awful injustices that BAME communities live with every day.

And it's right that we take time to listen, to educate ourselves, and reflect on our movement’s history. We need the humility to recognise there are times when the views and actions from our Scouting’s past do not always match the values we live by today. We must learn, adapt, and improve.

Scouting, to me, is founded on this humility, and on listening and respecting others, especially communities that are vulnerable or oppressed. Inclusion and acceptance are at the heart of our Scouting values, and we are never afraid to call out language and behaviour that do not match those values.

I hope that as Scouts we are the anti-thesis of any hatred or polarisation that can come with social media. And when it comes to racism – indeed any form of discrimination or prejudice – our movement should be part of the solution, not the problem. We must be peace makers and unifiers.

Baden-Powell may have taken the first step in creating Scouting, but the journey continues today without him. We know where we came from but we are not going back. We are always looking forward, to a brighter future for our young people.

And as for the statue of Baden-Powell? Well, my hope is that Scouting statues in the future will be there to remind us all of one thing: the huge positive influence that Scouting continues to bring to so many young people worldwide. And long may that continue.


  • Thanks 2
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/12/2020 at 1:16 AM, Sentinel947 said:

There is an irony that BP is going to be torn down in England

It was on a list of "bad" statues. The local (not scout) council was told it was on a list by the police. The council decided to temporarily remove it to protect it. Then they changed their mind and have boarded it up I believe while locals have been there protecting it, and the council have put 24 hour security on it.

It's deflected the news from the cause of BLM in the UK. If one was a conspiracy theorist....


8 hours ago, MattR said:

Any chance we can borrow Bear for a few years?

I *think* he's some sort of world ambassador for scouting as well as being UK chief scout. So let's say he's yours too.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...