30 Amazing Facts about Scouting

Did you know that David Bowie’s first public performance happened at Scouts? Or that Hergé’s legendary character Tintin is based on a Scout? Read on for more eyebrow-raising factoids about Scouts.

  1. David Bowie’s first public musical performance was at a Scout camp on the Isle of Wight in 1958. David accompanied his friend George Underwood on the ukulele, while George played washboard bass and sang.
  2. During World War II over 50,000 Scouts trained to undertake National War Service jobs, including acting as police messengers, firemen and stretcher bearers.
  3. 31 million people are active in Scouting across the world – that’s equal to the population of Peru.
  4. Scout Groups in Merseyside hold the current world record for the longest handshake chain.
  5. Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys has sold 150 million copies since 1908, making it the fourth bestselling book of all time after The Bible, The Koran and Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book.
  6. Rolling Stones rocker Keith Richards credits Scouts with nurturing his music career. ‘I got to be patrol leader within six weeks – I just shot to the top. Once I had a bunch of guys together, it doesn’t matter if it was the Scouts or a band, I could see my way clear to pull all their various talents together.’
  7. In the past one hundred years, over half a billion men and women have taken the Scout Promise.
  8. In January 2012, Scout Bryony Balen became the youngest ever Briton to ski to the South Pole at 21.
  9. There’s a Scouting poster in both the EastEnders and Coronation Street cafes.
  10. To mark the centenary of Scouting in 2007, Scouts planted half a million trees across the UK.
  11. There are only five countries in the world that do not have Scouting – China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Andorra.
  12. Scouts were the original Olympic Games Makers. During the 1948 ‘austerity’ Olympics in London, Scouts were described as ‘The Oil within the Wheels of the Olympic Games Organisation’ – performing tasks like serving tea, running messages and carrying placards in the opening ceremony.
  13. Gilwell Park, the Scouts’ UKHQ is home to part of the old London Bridge designed in the 19th Century by John Rennie. The rest is in Arizona.
  14. Liam Payne from world-dominating boyband One Direction is a former Scout, as is ‘reem’ ankle watch-wearing TOWIE star Joey Essex.
  15. Each day 100,000 people in the UK take part in Scouting activities – more than the capacity of Wembley stadium.
  16. The first World Scout Jamboree in 1920 was attended by 8,000 Scouts from 34 countries as well as an alligator from Florida, a baby crocodile from Jamaica, a lioness cub from Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), monkeys from South Africa, a baby elephant and a camel.
  17. Georges Remi, aka Hergé, based his legendary comic-book character Tintin on a Scout.
  18. Singer and DJ Jarvis Cocker donated the platinum disc for Pulp’s biggest ever album, Different Class, to his old Scout Group in Sheffield.
  19. In 2012 Scouting was voted the UK’s most inspirational and practical charity.
  20. The current and youngest ever Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, was one of the youngest people ever to climb to the summit of Mount Everest at the tender age of 23.
  21. Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement, was voted the UK’s 13th most influential person of the 20th Century.
  22. In 2009 a group of Cub Scouts (aged 8 to 10) lobbying against the ‘rain tax’ were banned from entering Parliament for being too young.
  23. John Lennon and Paul McCartney went to Cubs together.
  24. When Scout volunteer The Duchess of Cambridge was pictured wearing a pair of Le Chameau Vierzonard wellies, sales of the boots rocketed over 30%.
  25. Scouts are in the news all the time! Each month more than 70 positive mentions are made on the radio, TV and in the papers.
  26. Polar explorer Ernest Shackleton took two Scouts with him on his final expedition to the Antarctic on the RSS Discovery.
  27. During Scout Community Week, 16,000 Scouts and volunteers across the UK cleared 800 tonnes of rubbish, which is equivalent to 65 full double decker buses.
  28. Sea Scouts helped evacuate Dunkirk during World War II.
  29. In the past decade, 43,000 girls and young women have joined Scouts, Cubs and Beavers. That’s the same as the population of Folkestone.
  30. Scout Leaders contribute the equivalent of 37 million hours of voluntary work every year – worth an estimated £380 million.


Source: http://scouts.org.uk/news/2013/06/30-amazing-facts-about-scouts/, as at January 2014